This is the first workshop I've done this year.
I liked the brief when I read it, then when we started I was a bit confused and couldn't quite get it into my head what Jonny actually wanted us to produce. I had a few objects in mind after my visit to the museum, worried a lot about which one would give me the most mileage in a 24 hour project, and then quickly decided to blindly ignore those worries and pick the object which had struck me the most. Luckily I made the right decision!!
Venus' flower basket
This object genuinely fascinated me - it was magical, beautiful and the information displayed next to it in the glass case was so short and confusing I was left with not a lot of inspiration. When I got back to the studio and did some research on the object it was even more amazing than I could ever have imagined.
My object was a living sponge made out of natural glass that forms at the bottom of the sea. The glass skeleton grows into a perfectly cylindrical cage and around it is a living tissue that vibrates to move the water through the cage so it can absorb food from the water. It holds onto rocks with hundreds of roots that are as thin as human hair. Just writing about this object now fascinates me, it really is unbelievable!
Then I discovered a few more facts which helped me develop my final idea. When the cage is forming, shrimp lavae can float into it, the cage grows closed, the shrimp are born and are trapped in the cage can never get out. The Japanese give this sponge as a wedding gift because it represents the two shrimps living in harmony together forever.
The second fact, was that the glass skeleton is actually a better fibre optic receptor than anything man made, in fact, scientists are trying to recreate the natural processes this plant uses to create the glass in their own work.
So I decided that my idea really needed to be an experience - something magical to transport you out of a museum and to the bottom of the sea, to really get your head around the idea this is a plant made of glass!
Inspired by the shrimp story, I thought it would be great to make a life size, fibre optic cage you could walk into - in a dark room it would glow like at the bottom of the ocean. I'm still unsure about how to deliver the facts - my original idea was that you could lock yourself into the cage and in order to get out you would have to answer true or false questions. Jonny thought this was going a bit to far, and we discussed a voice-over instead. but i'm undecided as yet!
I was really pleased with the comments from Mac and Jonny about my work, and was proud of what I achieved in 24 hours. It was a nice break from the other briefs and refreshing to do something different. The points Jonny made about the scientific research meaning someone somewhere is putting money into this object and therefore there is real opportunities to pursue this idea for real is crazy to think of... but something I'm interested in looking into as an extension of this project maybe over Christmas. How exciting could that be!