LIQUID LANDSCAPES diary entry 11

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Rehearsal Mayflower Steps Monday 8th June 2pm

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Stephan had asked me over the phone if I could make a prototype boat with sides higher than the original large prototype and also waterproof the boats with a view to the dancers launching them in the water at the end of the performance.

On the very first rehearsal at the Mayflower Steps last week, the original large prototypes were found to be too long and they simply folded in on themselves in the wind, not helped by the thin recycled card.

So this weekend I experimented with small maquettes in some bits of polypropylene sheet left over from another project – this material is very robust and waterproof, although slippery to cut and impossible to glue so I will need to join the sides with split rings, nuts and bolts etc. I also rejigged the net so that the sides were taller – very fiddly by hand, would have been great to have some CAD software to do the fine tuning of the template. These boats should be unsinkable if S.K. has plans to leave them in the water for any length of time, and best of all , from a distance, I think it would be almost impossible to tell that they were not made out of paper.

I also made the net up to the largest size possible  in card to give Steve a sense of scale.

I arrived early at the Mayflower Steps and walked along the front. It was very windy , my portfolio carrying all the templates caught the gusts and I managed to get in the way of groups of foreign students filing past on their pilgrimage to the Mayflower Steps.

S.K greeted me with a big warm smile and a kiss on the cheek and then introduced me to the dancers, the documentary film maker Gorav and the rehearsal manager Clair, who were all gathering in the incongruously placed perspex bus shelter infront of the blue boat house doors . Lots of warm smiles and welcoming vibes.

S.K. showed me photos on his digital camera of how they had experimented with prototype boats at the first rehearsal, arranged in long sinuous S –shapes, looked good.

S.K. then asked me to try out the boats at the Mayflower Steps to give him an idea of scale and water resistance; all the while being filmed and asked questions by Gorav, making me feel rather self conscious – all my fishing line that I had attached to the prototypes ended up getting in an awful knot, typical! Plus the big paper maquette that I had made to give an idea of scale was caught by a gust of wind when I was unravelling the wire and blew into the water.

Anyhow, the blue polyprop boat floated just fine, looking  a little melancholy all on its own against the grey skies.

Fortunately I had another paper maquette which I held up on the steps. S.K. was on the other side by the blue doors, where the audience would ultimately be sited. S.K. said we could go even bigger! Will try, but not in polyprop as I don’t think I can get some in time and in big enough sheets.