Process: Make Note Installation for Fem Fest 2017

Fem Fest 2017 took over Founder’s Park at USC on Saturday, April 8.  It was a breezy day and a cool night featuring music from women-fronted bands, interactive art, and topical accessories.  I’ll post a recap of the event with pictures and videos in a few days, but first, here is a behind the scenes of how I built my “Make Note” installation that debuted on my alma mater’s campus at the fest last weekend.

When Fem Fest hit me up for an installation for their 2017 show, I had a few ideas.  Since it’s an evening show, I thought it would be cool to do something with black lights.  I could string up a banner/giant coloring book between two trees to have a group art place.

I thought about my senior year at USC (back in 2009) when I designed and curated a mini exhibition installation for a KSCR concert/festival in the same area.  The theme was nature meets technology.  Here are some pics to give you an idea:

kscr nature meets technology fem fest landscape webMy biggest issue with that installation was hanging art without walls.  Fem Fest reminded me that USC has a rule against attaching things to trees or putting stakes in the ground, so I devised a new freestanding plan pitch for Fem Fest after finding an affordable backdrop stand.

Instead of just putting up a banner for people to draw on, I wanted to make the station into a thematic shape for the event.  Since Fem Fest celebrates women in music, and women take all sorts of different shapes, I decided to depict a tool of the trade.early plan make note fem fest landscape webI sketched out a plan involving metal rings and paper keys.  The poster board I bought for the keys wasn’t UV reactive, so I attached computer paper to the strips with spray glue, glue sticks, and then finally with double sided tape after the first adhesives didn’t hold. The white keys are cut into two for convenience of transport, movement, and initially, because I couldn’t find long enough poster board.

After cutting up strips of paper for the black keys, and staring at my brother’s piano, I decided that the black keys were too tough to place and I’d need to paint them on.

process fem fest landscape webIt took a few trials to figure out how I wanted to render the black keys.  It turned out that thick, clean UV painted lines were the most striking.  The black keys by themselves, without the glowing details, would have been lackluster.  uv key draft fem fest landscape webI had to take the keys down to paint them because it was hard to work with them while on the stand.  I kept this in mind while painting and simultaneously mulling over how to best integrate the interactive element of the installation.
I decided to use post-it notes as the interactive element when I saw them glowing on my desk while working on the project with the black light.  The post-it notes helped inspire the name: Make Note.  I devised a post-it station where people to write what they like and stick it on the keys.  (Initially it was “Make Note/Take Note” but I couldn’t figure out the “Take Note” element in time and the name seemed like too long a hashtag.  #MakeNote didn’t work either.  I stuck with #FemFest2017. )

As the fest approached, I updated my plans.early plan make note 2 fem fest landscape webInitially, I planned to use zip ties to attach black light tubes to the photo stand, but I bought a more powerful black light spotlight on a hunch (and because I had a stipend).  Good thing!  The black lights were too heavy for the stand.  I made use of the zip ties and the black light tubes on the “Make Note” post-it stations, so it’s all plan make note fem fest landscape webThe cords from the black light tubes on the table were a bit intense, so I covered them with a left over black key from concept one.too many cords fem fest landscape webI’ve gotten a little better at visualizing the interactive experience while in construction mode, so naturally tried a few selfies:selfie fem fest landscape webIt was really tough to get a cool angle with the black lights.selfie attempts black light fem fest landscape webpost its fem fest landscape webmake note set up fem fest landscape webI made the signs last because I wanted them to reflect what I actually ended up making/presenting.  I searched through fonts and played around with musical notes.  That research probably inspired my thought-process in creating the typography for the signs.  I folded left-over paper from the white keys to make the letters.making sign fem fest 2 landscape webmaking sign fem fest landscape web The post-its inspired the good ol’ fashion By-line formation.sign fem fest landscape webStay tuned to see how “Make Note” turned out, what worked and what I need to change for next time, and to see pictures from the event!

Here’s a preview:full keys fem fest landscape web

You Can Find Me…

Facebook: @LornaPhone and @LAWordSalon and @AffectComic
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I update my Exhibition Page with events and galleries Lorna Alkana Art is featured in.
Check out the Disclosure Page to see a chronological evolution of my blog and art.

I share new art/discussions about the process of works in progress, and I post segments with Comic Lorna in my audiobio comic series called, Affect.

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