The norms: processes and production

Simpson, Ben ORCID logoORCID: (2018) The norms: processes and production. [Artefact]


The output is an artefact, a glow-in-the-dark artist book inspired intergenerationally by comics and picture books of the 1980s and an accompanying immersive environment. Research process: As part of world-building, this practice-based research used a multifaceted array of analogue media and digital technologies. Part of the practical application of the research involved the translation of the 2D story-comic book into a 3D immersive and interactive environment. The creation and production of the story book started with a rural setting and a reclamation of the artist’s childhood self. The book itself was planned through a series of thumbnails that were drawn up into the 16:9 formatted book and translated onto the screen. The narrative-like drawings developed and featured many creations from previously published underground kids’ comics. There are narratives within narratives, all based around childish things. The glow-in-the-dark element contributed to the immersive experience. Another strategy of this world-building introduced modelling clay characters and puppets. Research insights: The comic and 3D translation process contribute to conceptual thinking around world-building. Through this process, Simpson found that translating his comic book from 2D to 3D enabled a more accessible and interactive perspective, literally ‘stepping inside’ his world. Augmenting this show was a museological vitrine containing choice ephemera from Simpson’s 1980s childhood, giving viewers an insight into the origins of his ‘heavily-inked’ aesthetic, including select artists such as Tom Paterson of The Beano. It demonstrated how this style of illustration is rooted in forms of caricature, the grotesque and political satire. Dissemination: The project was disseminated by peer-reviewed exhibition at Leeds Arts University in 2018 including the following events: • Make a Monster workshop, Though Bubble Comic Art Festival (101 attendees) • Women World Builders forum (35 delegates) • Spot the Spooks, Light Night Leeds (500+ attendees) • Underground comics seminar (75 attendees).

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