Construct The Moment Project.
At the beginning of this process to design a set for The Seven Acts of Mercy we all designed a set. When our group came together, we decided on one main design, but each had an input into its final design and construct.
Our design is based on 2 different levels depicting the 2 Ages on the timeline; Caravaggio and modern. We constructed a scaffolding frame and designed the modern living room of a council flat in Liverpool; and above the Cathedral space with a frame of the stained-glass window. The scaffolding was not hidden as this emphasised the conditions in which Caravaggio had to work and modern-day council house tenants are forced to live. The base layer had 2 rostras next to each other to create the illusion of space; these rostras were painted to have the effect of wood flooring. The walls were painted with a brick work effect. The upper floor, the Cathedral space had 1 rostra.
The bricks were made out of Styrofoam and the surfaces scratched to create a more interesting texture. They then looked older and more worn. These were then painted in a variety of brown and red tones and mixed together to give a more realistic look. The bricks were hot glue gunned onto an MDF panel that had been cut to look like a broken, derelict wall. The mortar was made from wool, soaked in a solution of PVA and water. This was then added to the gaps between the bricks and left to dry. It created an interesting effect. The areas of the wall that we hadn’t bricked, we plastered and added wallpaper. We specifically used subtle wall paper to blend with the plaster and show aging. The walls were made whilst still flat; we then had to secure them to the scaffold. The techniques then used to secure the walls to the scaffold included using a nail gun, drilling and screwing and using batons to increase its security.
We also made block stone flooring to extend the base of the lower floor and give an extra layer. The floor was measured and painted grey, the sizes and shapes of the stone blocks was also measured and painted in a darker grey. We painted cracks in the stone and then added texture using a roller and stippling effects. We then sprayed spots of water and paint on the stones to age them. We realised that we needed a further layer of texture, so spray painted the stones to blend them into the rostra.
Having researched the shapes of stained-glass windows, including using the images of the contemporary Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, we used CAD to design the shape that we wanted. The window was then cut from MDF using CNC. The MDF was then sanded. To give the window some depth, we added polystyrene to it; this also gave it more stability. The frame was then painted with a grey base layer, before added grey and brown tones to give it a stone texture.
To hide the metal on the base rostra we added MDF from the off cuts of the stained-glass window and painted them grey to blend in with the stone floor. The metal on the top rostra was only partly hidden. We used Styrofoam pieces and painted them with tones of greys and browns. We broke some sections away to reveal the metal underneath and give the effect of broken, aged stonework. We then worked back into it so that it looked damp.
Rather than hide the scaffold, we painted it to look rusty and aged. For this we used a range of tones of oranges, reds and browns.
We used an A3 poster of Karl Marx in the Liverpool flat and aged it by spray painting over the edges. We used an Everton flag as this football team are a large part of the Liverpool’s family’s life. We ripped and aged the flag so that it fitted in with the length of time that the family had lived in Liverpool and supported Everton; and also to show the poverty of the area.
The Liverpool flat needed to look truly ‘lived in’. We made a homely; old but comfortable sofa out of some donated chairs, pillows and cushions. We nailed the chairs together and added Styrofoam to make the arms of the chair. Having initially used 3 chairs, we decided to reduce it to too chairs and it was not only too big for the flat but showed affluence instead of poverty. We then draped the chairs with some navy material to make it look more like a sofa.
The grandfather is well read and encourages his grandson to read too. There was a need to have a book case. The bookshelf was made out of remnants and screwed together. It was then painted in shades of brown to show wood grain, but as we needed it to look older, we painted cracked sections of yellow and even added coffee stains from cups on the top shelf.
The painting of Caravaggio’s The Seven Acts of Mercy was displayed in the Cathedral space on an easel. Using photoshop, a black and white image of the painting was split into 4 x A3 sections. This was then fitted onto the canvas and paint worked into the images to look like the incomplete painting.