Concept Ideas

After further study of my buildings I then worked to create the ‘layers’ that would appear in our work. Again with the use of German expressionism I created a jagged lower ground, placing cameo style objects in each layer i.e. Easter Eggs representing the Easter Tuesday attack. Working with the other members of my team  we combined our given time periods to great the overall ‘timeline.’ Below our some of our teams examples of layers. Thomas worked on the Troubles land, Caitlin and I the Blitz and Rosie and Samantha worked on the Famine.

Layer representation of the troubles

Thomas’ representation of the ‘Troubles.’

Thomas used windows into the houses to show how life would actually feel, with characters being inside them. He also looked into using characters a background images i.e. not actually moving, to give a mood as if frozen in time. We thought this was a pretty good idea and would look interesting with all the layers together, characters interacting with non moving objects of themselves.

The Famine and Blitz ideas

Some of my layer ideas for the Blitz in Belfast.

After we talked about these layers, we came up with our own concept ideas on how to hold them. Our initial idea of a pot seemed too simplistic, so we went wild trying to come up with a more interesting way.

Our ideas were vast and slightly insane, stemming from a crockery potato to a jack in the box potato toy. Our project has now been passed onto another group so it will be interesting to see how they interpret it. Samantha even suggested we think bigger and had suggested a Paradox World, one in which all our history periods combine together in one point in time, possibly spreading our history timeline out to include the Vikings, Romans, Victoria era etc.

Caitlin had made these insane ideas of a vegetable based planet, based off of Thomas and my sketches. She thought each vegetable could have a unique personality, such as panicking potatos, insane leeks and stoner carrots running around, trying to figure out how to cope with the mad world around them. It would be an amazing narrative idea, and one that hopefully inspire the next group that pick up our concept.


German Expressionism

I wanted to do some research into this art movement after being recommended to do so by Caitlin.

So what actually is German Expressionism?

-German Expressionism refers to a number of related creative movements beginning inGermany before the First World War that reached a peak in Berlin during the 1920s. – (Wikipedia)

-The movement itself occurred with the rebellion against tradition art forms, artists painting in a distorted manner or bold colours and simplified painting to do this. It was a cry by artists and film makers to the  change in social status, trying to raise concerns to humanistic issues (such as the modernity griping society).

This slide show summarised the history for this movement to a more simplified meaning, well for me anyway.

I wanted to have a look into some of the artists involved in this art movement.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner– an artist responsible for the  Die Brücke group, he was highly regarded one of the most talented in this art movement. Highly influenced by the war, his pieces show the true feelings of the people depicted in each artwork. Often displayed as masks, he shows the almost false side to some of those depicted. 

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff– a German print maker and painter, he cofounded the Die Brücke group with Ludwig. Although members of this group often painted urban social settings, Schmidt was known for his rural landscapes.

Schmidt’s work is one that I liked the most due to his bold use of shape in landscapes. Simplifying the buildings to black and white forms, with no shading or tone, it is easy to see how he stood out from the work of the time.

These are just a few of the artists I looked at, however there are many more that have contributed to this movement.

-In Film

German expressionism was also used greatly in film. Developing from the 1910’s in Germany, after a period of isolation, the movement was grasped by film makers world wide. Two of the highest regarded films being ‘Metropolis’ by Flitz Land and ‘The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.’ I mention the second in a previous post.

Full Metropolis film- definitely worth a watch. Video courtesy of The New Pollutants.

The film shows a high technological world with a bleak underworld of workers who are treated badly.

The buildings themselves and depiction of the city itself is so beautiful, reflecting the atmosphere of the ill treated workers perfectly. It is sharp, edgy, reflective of their anger and discomfort. This is exactly what we want to show in our own work.

Belfast- The Blitz Research

So, I was tasked with the research for the Blitz element to our world. I wanted to keep track of this research.

I thought this summary of events was really useful (I included the information below).

The four key raids could have four separate layers possibly feeding into each other, like tiers in a cake, or they could be on one layer merging together.

carry on belfast

I thought this newspaper article was quite surreal. The encouragement of locals to live on through the Blitz- despite the horror. Image courtesy of

Below are some of the videos I watched in preparation for this week. The footage and images shown give an idea of what the carnage was like in our ‘wee’ city.

Video courtesy of Rick H.

Video courtesy of MrFisherman.

Locally to me- this shows the damage a small shell caused. The hole was never filled in after the war, asking as a memorial, at the grounds of Stormount Parliament Buildings. Video courtesy of Tom McClean.

Not strictly Belfast, but showing the damage done to streets during the Blitz. Video courtesy of 993ti.

I forgot how Belfast was truly effected but the Blitz, although the fatality rate wasn’t that high, the level of destruction was. It will be interesting to try and replicate what people were living through during a time of such destruction.


So today my group met with our ideas for our ‘Design a World’ pitch. We all had a wide range of ideas, having researched various environments and other ideas we had.

Brainstorming Ideas

Looking at initial ideas.

We had quite a range of original concepts. Our first idea was to use the human body as an overall vessel or universe. The eye seemed to be a firm favourite, each layer could be used to express a different class of society, the humours used as seascapes. However, we decides that movies such as “Inside Out” had already explored this avenue, so we moved on.

Idea 1- Body parts (I focused on the eye)

I originally focused on the structure of the eye. The various liquid structures could provide water sources, while the nerves could be transport mechanisms.

The human eye structure.

Our second concept was the use of a filament bulb, possibly using the filament as the acting sun, with the majority of the world in the metal casing below. We talked abut the contrast of light and dark, how would each society in the filament would look. Would the filament village be made from a cluster of light orbs? Would the dark city below be run down and ‘shady.’ Although we thought this would be an original idea we wanted to really turn the whole idea of a ‘world’ on its head, to question if a world had to be on a set planet.

Idea 2- Light bulb

Idea 2- the lightbulb.

I thought this lightbulb looked interesting- like vines in a jungle.

The inside of the lightbulb is very complex. Plenty of opportunities to explore it. Video courtesy of TheTechCrypt.

However we wanted to be original. We wanted something different.

Rosie mentioned how she had read an article in which ancient pottery/ stone work is believed to record sounds. Like records, pottery contains groves and nicks in the surface, which could act as so called “sound pockets.” The video below shows the original interview by the French media.

Recordings in the cracks of pottery. A well planned hoax but could it be possible? Video courtesy of Jeff Pratt.

sound storage

Showing some of the ideas from our group talk.

From this idea we wanted to convey a point in Belfast’s history through the depiction of this world in our pot/item. We divided up significant points in time between us to research further and have a look at each in more depth, allowing us time to think of ideas. Caitlin also mentioned we should look at German Expressionism, as the sharp edges and harsh bleak colours would match the mood of all of our timelines perfectly.

A still from the movie ‘The cabinet of Dr. Caligari.’

I was assigned the Belfast Blitz, so I did a lot of research into the timeline of the events and studied photos of the damage that was ultimately caused. I also researched the expressionist work of artists like Erich Pommer and Fritz Lang before watching the ‘Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.’ Caitlin was right, this movement focused on unconventional art, choosing to work against traditional colours and styles. They all gave a somber tone, relevant to my given event, due to the mass of death and destruction.

Video courtesy of LuckyStrike502.

The video above (The Cabinet of Dr Caligari) uses this monotone look and shapeology to give a bleak, horror atmosphere. This would be idea in our own work.

From this research (on this and another post) I sketched some mock ideas which I will share with the group tomorrow. I was inspired by the sharpness of the lines and shape used in the buildings and therefore wanted to show this in my ideas. I also explored ideas for the overall world shape or vessel, from simple pots to even the use of a bomb that the German’s dropped.


Now for some historical research. I read plenty of textbooks and old school notes. I also watched plenty of videos. The footage really puts you in the mind set of the people at the time.

Video courtesy of kat sugar jay.

Video courtesy of thenewlodge.

Referencing images of the Blitz aftermath, The obvious destruction and grey scale photos gave a very evident sadness and I wanted to portray this is my ideas. I liked the idea of mashing these images together, possibly in piles, to emphasis the desperation.

Building sketches

I used the gallery of images I found online and added my own take on German Expressionism to it.

I was inspired by the triangular shapes used in the German expression and the sharp edges that were a reoccurring factor. I wanted to use these in my work and so drew a lot of the framework and structures as sharp spikes and objects, almost looking like stakes. I thought it would be cool to have some sort of run off from the buildings, as if the shadows were seeping like blood.

Vessel Ideas

Vessel ideas

I then had a look at ideas for the vessel of our piece- a pot seemed a bit too obvious and easy. Maybe a bomb would be better?

Design a World

Our first actual assessment was issued today- the pitch? Design a New World. That was it- no limitations well except DO NOT USE COLOUR.

There’s five in my group, including me, and tonight we decided to break, allowing for research before we even look at ideas.

Using my scientific background I wanted to have a look at the ground principles of planets. I explored what could affect a planet, from its climate to even its current state. I love the idea of a totally gaseous city, with whispy buildings such as the cloud houses from Pixar’s ‘Inside Out.’

Video courtesy of Pixar Post.

Disney Wiki,. 'Inside Out - Cloud Town.Jpg'. N.p., 2015. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.

I also explored the ideas for structures, roads and the materials that these could be made from, with relevance to the overall final concept of course. Man made materials, such as metal, plastic are common in our own world and natural materials such as wood, leaves etc are pretty common ones. However, what about things such as water, slime, fur- the possibilities are endless.

Thomas Heatherwick’s UK Pavilion  building that looks like it is made from fur.

H20 by Axis Mundi

Finally, I explored the various ecosystems that exist. Wet lands such as swamps and marshes are some of my favourite settings. They invoke memories of suspense and danger, primarily due to the Septimus Heap series of books by Angie Sage which I loved as a child.

On Thursday I’ll meet with the rest of my group, in hope of coming to a final resolve before planning for our final ideas. Wish us luck!

Ideas Brain Storm

A few ideas- see my sketchbook for some more in-depth ones.