Stan's Cafe: One looks, marvels and understands

Exodus Steps #3

February 26th, 2013

So it’s the morning of the last day installing Exodus Steps. We have been working long, long hours as our ambition for the show has grown to match the scale of the Skirball Cultural Center’s campus.

On Saturday I led a fun workshop with about 35 teachers. They came up with their own mini-steps scenes. There were lots of great ideas but the one that got my adrenalin pumping placed me within an American Football game. After the workshop I descened to the venue’s cellar and ran all the show’s text through the plotter before returning to our apartment to spend until late into the night picking out the lettering from all the vinyl text. Where’s Simon been all this time, Venice Beach? No, he’s been stranded without the car sat at his laptop setting up the hundred of footsteps and other graphic devices needed for the show.

On Sunday Simon and I were joined by local help Kiki to spend the day in the Skirball cellar cutting out all the rest of the vinyl, picking out unwanted pieces, applying transfer tape to the delicate pieces, cutting items apart and laying them out down the long service corridor, a pile for each scene. Then, at 17:30 we started sticking the first scene. This took us three hours, but it does look great and gave the Docents something to look at.

‘Docent’ appears to be the local word for ‘Invigilator’. First thing on Monday morning they all gathered for a lecture on forthcoming exhibitions at the center. I was the first act on and spend about an hour talking them through Steps, how it should work, how it has worked and how they can help it work here. It took a while to tune into this new audience but we had fun in the end. One of the things I have loved about my time here is that people’s default setting appears to be positive: “this is going to be great” rather than “this is bound to be rubbish”.

The rest of the day was spent sticking, sticking, sticking. There have been many technical improvements for this show. Their plotter has a stand (this helps), their transfer tape has a dispenser (this helps), they have bothered to buy a too specifically designed for weeding out unwanted vinyl (this helps), they have a trolly we can put all our kit on (this helps), we have created a mini filing system in two crates for all the different kinds of footprints we are using (this helps) and Simon got to drive a scissors lift to initiate the plagues (which both helped and appeared to be fun). We worked until we started to slow down and make errors.

Late last night Simon was sorting out designs for the final bits of missing vinyl.

Now it is Tuesday and we are up and off for the final push.

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