We’ve been working closely with Emily Motto, Ed Haslam and Jack Dale and Henry Howe from Flow Conceptions for a while now, so it’s been awesome to be able to support their latest work. Garden Spheres is an interactive sculptural installation which was installed in the woods at Brainchild and is now being re-designed for Art Licks Weekend in London.
It came about, as many great projects do, from a conversation with Emily at a party; a few weeks later she came back to us with some sketches and a lot of excitement. It quickly became clear this was going to be pretty huge and we would need to put together a team and look into funding if we wanted to do it justice. We reached out to Jack, Henry and Ed and the crew began working together for the first time, each bringing their own vision of what it could be. Throw four creative assistants (Annie Elliot, Kiara Callender, Damien Hart and Nina Mdwaba) into the mix and we’ve watched a beautiful collaboration blossom into being.
As the team go into the second phase of the project, we touch base on what has inspired them so far:
What did you study and how has this informed the work you do today?
Ed: I studied Art History then I became a carpenter, and now I make sculpture. Since bring artist-in-residence at Platform, I’ve been using structural debris from disused building sites to make my work.
Emily: I studied Fine Art. I think it set me off on a kind of continuous inquiry which has really lead to everything I’m making at the moment.
Jack: I studied Music and Audio Technology and Henry studied Film Production. After graduating we didn’t want to get stuck in a studio all summer, so we started building live installations instead.
How did you approach the project?
Emily: The project began with a focus on how we could create forms that worked with material and structural dependencies on both the existing forms within the woodland, and the people who would be entering into it. We wanted there to be this openness that meant the structures would need to be explored.
Henry: Our creative process has been to design an interactive system that makes the participant the orchestrator of the overall experience. The piece throws what they do back at them and reacts to them in real time. By designing it as a ceiling installation, light and sound is showered down upon people from above so everyone in the space has an unobstructed experience.
Jack: Also, with the sound I was looking to create an aural moire pattern by layering different sonic textures over each other, and by using multiple proximity sensors in each pod we wanted to encourage people to work together to build more complex textures of light and sound.
The project takes inspiration from Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights. What do you enjoy about this work?
Ed: There is such a vivid and complex representation of humanity in the Garden of Earthly Delights that leaves surprises throughout the painting. There are lots of concealed areas, some with people appearing out of the ground or through shells of fruit. I think this has come through in our interpretation of it.
Emily: Yeah, I love the structures Bosch painted to gather and shelter the figures. I also really like finding the small flags he painted, which show images of objects and creatures from other panels.
Jack: I like the hectic beauty of the painting and how free everyone appears to be. I daresay it looks a bit like Brainchild! I also like the contrast within the painting, these moods are something we’ve tried to capture and emulate with our designs.
If you could hang-out in the one of the pods with anyone, who would it be and why?
Emily: My granny. I never had the chance to meet her, but I hear we’re really similar. She was a draughtswoman, and probably wouldn’t believe the surfaces of the pods came out of a printer.
Ed: Pharoah Sanders, hearing him play from inside would be amazing.
Jack: I think it would be Brian Eno, as his innovation has been a huge inspiration. I also think he’d give a very honest feedback.
If you could take the project anywhere, where would you go?
Emily: How about installing it under the sea so that people (and other creatures) could swim between them? What I found so exciting about the pods in the woods was the how the surfaces appeared in the dappled light, so it would be exciting to see how they would appear through the waves.
Henry: We’d love to go to Sonar Festival in Barcelona as it’s an amazing showcase of audio visual art. To be a part of that would be really inspiring.
What makes Brainchild special?
Emily: There’s a real creative community of people there. Everyone I meet has made, performed, written or built something, and is working on so many different projects, ideas and initiatives. It’s a really inspiring place to be.
Ed: Yeah, it’s the people that make the festival special. It’s been an amazing project to be a part of, like a big family.
Can you summarise Brainchild with emojis?