I find Ben Wilson’s attempt to turn something ugly into something beautiful rather interesting and fairly successful as the bright colours make the pieces stand out from the concrete/tarmac. The discarded pieces of chewing gum, laden around the streets of London, have been turned into his canvases.
His inspiration came from his distaste of industrial waste and rubbish and his aim was to beautify the urban environment.
Wilson only works on pieces of chewing gum which have dried out and lack in moisture as this allows him to treat the gum, by heating it up and adding a lacquer to it, so that after he has painted on the design, in acrylic, it does not melt in the sun. Although the reasoning behind Wilson’s typology is practical: suitability for application of the medium and durability, the idea of having a typology the work is based on is stimulating. The use of typology could be a strong influence in my own work; however, my selection will be based upon the form and aesthetic qualities of the gum.
‘Chewing in Venice,’ a series of installations by sculpture artist Simone Decker. Her large-scale work was displayed and photographed all around the city of Venice.
I find Simone Decker’s work very inspiring as ‘chewed’ chewing gum is seen as disgusting and people avoid touching it but by increasing the scale she has created the urge for it to become tactile as it provokes a range of questions, such as “Is that real?”, “What is it made of?”, “Does it feel like chewing gum?”, etc.
The scale of these chewing gum sculptures and how they have been positioned and photographed at certain angles makes them appear to obstruct the path. I think this has been very successful as they seem unavoidable. The different sculptures show pieces of chewing gum in a variety of different stages of their ‘life cycle’ and I find this idea very interesting. I plan to explore the different appearances chewing gum can take on and decide if I am going to focus on just one or multiple forms for my final piece.
“Photograph 100 pieces of chewing gum, display them in a way that removes them from their original setting and re-arranges them by form, relationship or something else.”
I decided to break this project down and look at all the different ways it could be interpreted, such as 100 individual photographs of pieces of chewing gum or 1 photograph of 100 pieces of chewing gum and the different ways the chewing gum could be displayed and categorized for arrangement. I have also looked into a couple of artists whose work has been influenced by chewing gum; Simone Decker and Ben Wilson.
The barrier separating people and the built up environment is gradually being broken down and an interaction between the two is starting to be formed through leisure and sporting activities, such as Parkour and urban games.
“Invent a game that uses the city as its arena. Play it.”
In order to create my own unique urban interaction game, I looked into existing pervasive games, (many of which are featured in IGFEST or Ludocity) and I began photographing and analysing locations around the city and identifying their different properties to find the optimum playing spaces where my game could take place.
Map of Birmingham City Centre showing areas which have been analysed for optimum playing space.