Acrylic cube back filming and cyanotype experiment

With this experiment I tested making a cyanotype print and a film of the moving shadows of the same configuration of acrylic cubes. I had wanted to do this for a while as the shadow film and cyanotype work was following parallel trajectories. However, I had not attempted this previously as the Opal Perspex diffused the light too much to make a sharp print, so I knew I would need to make the arrangement twice, once for the cyanotype and once for the film. In this instance, I had already made the cyanotype, with the acrylic cubes placed directly on the paper’s surface. The print was made on the 23 August 2019, at about 1pm (the sun’s zenith in BST), with a ten minute exposure. The solar elevation was 50°, only slightly higher than the 45° of the axonometric drawing convention. The paper was angled so that the shadows would fall at 45° to the paper and the cubes.

This print was part of a series called Amassing Light (45 degrees), and after making it I decided to use this particular configuration for the shadow filming. A couple of hours after making the cyanotype print I used that print to refer to when arranging the blocks in the same configuration on the opal acrylic sheet, while filming the process.

This was made slightly complex as I was attempting to get the same configuration for the camera’s view, so the blocks were placed in a mirror image on the top of the acrylic sheet. However, this was an error, as I normally flip the video footage so that the sun movement appears to be correct, moving from East to West. In the clips shown here I have not flipped the footage, in order that the image is the same as the cyanotype print.

What is actually shown in the above clip is a “re-enactment” of the original position of the cubes onto the cyanotype paper – that original act of “constructing” the arrangement was not captured. This makes it clear that in future work the filming should come first, so that the process of making the arrangement, including the “design” decisions, can be recorded.

The other issue that this process revealed is the result of the different orientation of the print and the filming set-up. As noted, I rotated the print to obtain 45° shadows, but the filming apparatus was alined with the window, to received the most light. This means that despite being filmed only a day later, the 45° shadow in the footage above is much longer in the moving imagery as this occurs much later in the day, when the sun is lower.

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