MASONIC

SYNERGY | DESIGN DEVELOPMENT

The Suspended Piece

PRECEDENT STUDY - ‘Until’ at the Tramway [Glasgow, Scotland]

UNTIL, by Nick Cave, was made up with thousands of found objects which were woven together to create a rich sensory tapestry. Inspired by his previous work, the 'Soundsuits,' which was a direct response to the Rodney King beating; a visual image about social justice that was both brutal and empowering. The death of men such as Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown drives his new imagery for 'Until.' Until - a play on the phrase ‘innocent until proven guilty’, or in this case ‘guilty until proven innocent’ - he addresses issues of gun violence, gun control policy, race relations, and gender politics within the United States and its resonance across the world. 

My Analysis 

Any intervention installed within the foyer during the Fringe Festival season could not require a large amount of space in order to avoid obstructing foot traffic, which is why I became particularly interested in this exhibition. It was for two reasons, the first being that it could be an effective solution for preserving space; and secondly that the exhibition embodied a message within itself, creating a layered narrative that was experienced both simultaneously when walked through the space, but also individually as you focus on a specific point. When observing people within the space during my visit to this exhibition, I noticed that the visitors were drawn to a display that had required you to climb a ladder to observe its objects in four separate points, each time seeing something new. I also noticed that while visitors were asked not to touch the mobiles, the restriction would promptly be ignored by the majority, which made me think tactility is an important element that needs to be considered.

Developing the Design

The Freemasons have an element of fictional air that surrounds them, as they are often compared to being the villain you may find in a film.  As I learnt more about the Freemasons I began to think of them more of as a riddle that needs to be solved and I wanted to use this idea to play towards their mysterious nature, and not against it. The whole way through the masonic symbol was used as the basis for the masonic imagery, it is their branding and it is also the most recognisable symbol of the organisation to the public. 

The Donation Point 

PRECEDENT STUDY - ‘Interactive Chalk Cars’ at the File Festival

Developed by Spanish studio Espadaysantacruz, Interactive Chalk Cars is an installation based on a traditional children game originally played on the pavement. The installation combines computer vision algorithms and projection mapping, bringing together the real and the virtual. The game features two stages: firstly, players draw a circuit with chalk and then use a hand made controller to drive two virtual cars on the newly designed track. The track can be erased or re-drawn at any point during the game. The system dynamically recognises the chalk drawing. 

My Analysis 

I was interested in finding a way to create an interaction between the public and the Freemasons, especially one that visitors could physically manoeuvre in order to create movement. The interesting point of this game is that the user can create their own racetrack, so they feel like they are in control of the game. Simplicity in the interaction between an object and visitor determines the amount of engagement this intervention can receive and how successful the aim or objective is. It's a small scale allows for little wasted space, and it is something that appeals to all age groups because it can be universally used and understood. Translating this concept into a Masonic ceremony could be a tactful and subtle way to invite the public to actively engage with the society while contributing to charitable work.

Developing the Design - The Podium

The podium is both the medium to interact with the installation above and the donation point. Playing on the idea that the Freemasons could be a character plucked from a film, the initial concept for the podium was to act as the mechanism to activate the installation. This was explored through a series of models, where the lid would itself would rotate, but this idea was cut because it posed an issue of safety (e.g. Fingers getting caught in the rotating mechanism)

The podium evolved into a triangular shape; It was inspired by the process of Masonic degrees, The purpose of the podium is to initiate teamwork between strangers, using the shape of a triangle, to create three points of interaction that would need to be operated collectively to solve the broken apart symbol above. To alleviate the need for additional security measure the snap scan method is used for donation collection, to avoid any issues of individuals having no cash money on them; and it would be easily connected sensors within the mechanism design.

Developing the Design - The Podium

I initially wanted to utilise a lever, a wheel and pulley system, all mechanisms used within construction to create a collaborate effort to decipher the puzzle above. These mechanisms affect different parts of the symbol, all delivering different results in order to bring order to the chaos. There will be sensors that allow for a trigger to set the installation above into movement.

I decided to keep the idea that each system would effect separate parts of the symbol but to simplify this idea and only utilise the lever system. The lever references the freemasons historical occupation but also it is a mechanism that is universally understood. The design has sensors installed and programmed to recognise when a donation has been made to allow for a trigger to set the installation above into movement.

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