Alexandra Bell

Sound Artist

  ︎︎︎ ︎︎

Reflective Journal: Audio Visual Technology

Lockdown Timeslip, Alexandra Bell, 2021

Design Process

The process started with team agreement to design an AV system suitable for multimedia content delivery in a large art gallery. We defined the technical scope of the installation and the site. I then put together a project management and meeting plan (below 1). We agreed to optimise resource by splitting areas of research into audio, visual, lighting and controls. Commercially, project tasks would usually be allocated by skill base, but in an educational environment we decided to each focus on areas of lower skill where we wanted to further our learning.

I started by making a list of the main functional elements and equipment, the type of signals connecting components, the powering requirements and any influence of the site space.  I reflected on my own experience of attempting an AV installation in a gallery which mainly exhibited paintings, where the main challenges were low budget, venue brightness, cabling runs and all apparatus being visible in-gallery. As further background I explored the production specifications of art venues (e.g. SWG-3, Tramway) and guidance from the Electronic Arts Intermix Organisation.

As part of my research I visited two galleries to see their professional presentation (below 2); and arranged meetings with their technicians to discuss their process.  It was interesting that the artist’s vision usually included a technical rider which was the basis for the technican to work up a detailed layout for the space, including construction of walls, and any rigs to be used with lighting & acoustic treatments. Gallery resources, network latency and approach to risk also influenced equipment choice. Some galleries use Brightsign media players that are reliable and easy to sync, whilst others use QLAB or Dante systems for more complex installations. Each technician noted the team effort across artist, curators, engineers and freelance technicians / fabricators to realise each project.

Our design collated the learning from each team member into a combined portfolio which we critiqued and iterated.

1. Project Management

2. Visited Galleries to Review their Approach to AV Installations

A. Mesiti, A., In the Round Exhibition, (2021),  Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh

Mesiti, A., Over the Air and Underground, (2020), AV installation. Crisp presentation where monitors and speakers are sited on a post with cables running up to the ceiling.

Mesiti, A., Citizen’s Band , (2012), AV installation. Again, ceiling hung monitors and speakers with cables running into the ceiling.

Mesiti, A., Assembly, (2019), audio installation. Projectors, speakers, lighting & cabling running off a rig.  

Mesiti, A., The Swarming Song, (2021), audio installation. A series of speakers on stands in the round, with cables running along the wall skirting.