The Great Eastern- 17th of October, 2012

THE GREAT EASTERN- 17TH OF OCTOBER, 2012

After some research we met again today in the studio. We firstly had a group discussion again about what our response could be to the site. We all liked the idea of using text, based on the advertisement I had found for inspiration. I personally liked the idea of focusing on a time in the building’s history that was a pleasant time, as I felt it would be very easy to create a piece which focused on very negative aspects of the building’s condition as a hostel and created a negative attitude from our group towards these conditions.

We had many ideas of what the message portrayed could be and we weren’t sure with what idea to go with. We then had a group tutorial with Rachel and explained to her our ideas. We had discussed using the text from the advertisement as inspiration, and we had came up with the idea of creating a banner, either asking a question or with a statement to provoke thoughts from viewers and make them think without the statement being too obvious.

We also took into consideration the fact that The Great Eastern was firstly built as a cotton mill, and from this we decided that our banner should be made from cotton. 

To help generate ideas we had went away from the studio yesterday to research into other artist’s work. As we had already came up with the idea of using banner or text, we looked at artist Ed Hall who hand stitches brightly coloured banners for trade unions, campaign groups and other organisations. I find his work to be particularly interesting as his use of handmade banners shows that old style banner making, popular in older times, is still relevant today.

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As we had many different, and some conflicting ideas, Rachel advised to have one clear message instead of many different ones. We thought about our intention, what we wanted to say and our audience.

We agreed that we wanted to make people question the idea of community. The area has been renovated a great amount in recent years and we felt that nowadays the sense of community, not just at the site but in general, is not as strong as back in 1911 when the advertisement for the hotel was published and The Great Eastern was lost as a place for the community to gather and socialise. So we wanted the people in the area to question whether or not they know people in their community, whether they are neighbourly and if they are aware of who they live next to.

Last night and this morning I asked people around me, my friends, family, other students, if they thought they felt part of a community, and if they knew all the people they lived next to. The answer to these questions were a resounding no. I asked older family members if when they were younger and growing up, they thought the sense of community was stronger than it is now. My Mother told me, ‘Yes, when I was younger living near Glasgow everyone knew their neighbours, you knew the family next door to you, across the road, and nearly everyone all along the street, but it is definitely different now, I think I know the names of two of the couples who live on our street.’

We began brainstorming ideas for the piece of text on the banner and I suggested the quote: ‘Love Thy Neighbour.’ I felt this was a very well known quote which was thought provoking and would make people think of what the statement really means. The group seemed to like this and we also looked at some more artists who use types of text, some also suggested by Rachel, to inspire us.

We had a look at the work of Barbara Kruger. She is an artist who works with text layered over photographs. She uses bold, thought-provoking statements. I found her work to be very interesting and inspiring as she uses very minimal colours, usually black, white and red, and usually her ideas conveyed in the work are not traditional which provoked me to think of whether we should go for a traditional, well-known quote like ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ or to pick something not as traditional.

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Three images by Barbara Kruger.

We decided to go away and come back fresh to the studio the next day, having thought about other questions or text we could put on the banner.

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