I’ve been doing lots of doing but not lots of writing of late. This is a post to catch up on what I’ve been doing on my SYP ‘publication’, and by extension on Assignment 4 – specifically around the virtual exhibition. I intend to do similar progress updates for the crowdfunding/promotion and for the printed publication.

Virtual exhibition

I’ve signed up for the ArtSpaces / Kunstmatrix virtual gallery platform for three months. It allows me to publish up to 50 artworks in up to five exhibitions. I only need 25-30 artwork slots for my own exhibition and so due to the fortuitous timings I used the spare capacity for a temporary group exhibition for an OCA workshop project. This allowed me a chance to play around with the ArtSpaces software for a little while before I used it to stage my own exhibition.

Once I’d had a proper test-drive on the group show I turned to my own gallery. I started by laying out the whole set of 20 images into the virtual space that I had selected while I was in the trial mode of the system. Three things became apparent.

Text

First, the text under each image wasn’t coming out clearly enough for me; it was legible but not as visibly sharp as the photos, and it bothered me. I went back to the master Photoshop file and experimented with font size, weight, spacing, kerning and anti-aliasing options. Each variation looked slightly different and in the end I opted for a configuration that looked best at the exact size that ArtSpaces recommends (1900 pixels wide).

For type geeks, here’s what I settled on:

And this is how the type ended up in the software:

Full screen it looks good, I think. Good enough given the limits and variations of screen-based viewing.

Gallery space

The second thing I decided was that the space I had started with wasn’t quite right. First of all, it was wide open, with artwork spaces on four large blank walls, and not much else apart from a fake desk in the corner, and I started to bore of it. Secondly it didn’t allow me quite enough artwork positions in the right places; I want to include a few text items (quotes, introduction, info about the catalogue etc) and a slideshow of viewer-generated content, and the original space was a few slots short.

I changed to a layout that had a bit more variation and interest, such as raised platform in the centre.

This layout also helped me to see the sequence in groupings – which led me to the third realisation.

Sequence

I had done a sequencing exercise a few weeks ago when I expanded the set from 15 to 20 images. I was happy with it at the time and resolved to leave it alone for a while.

However, when I saw the 20 images laid out in the virtual exhibition space I noticed things that had passed me by in the previous edit. In the last sequencing attempt I made the mistake of sequencing the images alone, without their text fragments. When these had been added I noticed that I had another element to consider when it comes to the rhythm (tempo? cadence?) of the series: the type of text phrase.

There are basically three types of phrase I use as relay text on the images:

  • Question-based (‘what I went upstairs for’)
  • Verb-based (‘to get milk’)
  • Noun-based (‘our address in Morley’)

In the last sequence I had bunched up similar phrases too much. So I went back through and noted Q, V or N per image and came up with a sequence that avoided too much close repetition.

This sequence is:

V-Q-N-Q-V-N-Q-N-V-Q-V-N-V-N-Q-V-N-V-Q- (and finished with a one-off, a kind of full stop that doesn’t fit the preceding format).

Next steps

The layout and sequence is about right in my last version, I believe. What’s left to do is:

  • Update the intro text sign (maybe with the crowdfunding credits, if there’s room)
  • Create a sign for the ‘how to claim your catalogue’ placeholder
  • First version of the user-generated content slideshow

I’m not planning to make the exhibition fully live until mid-late November, when the crowdfunding has finished and I have a robust plan on the printed publication. Which I now need to get back to laying out…