"SPACE HOP" © Beki Powell 2009
Stuytown Gallery at 20th Street
New York, NY
This installation was inspired by the initial prompt: recreate a space from childhood. My dad used to design educational board games, my favourite being Space Hop, a game played on a gridded board requiring you to go on various missions throughout our galaxy. My concept was to make this into a three-dimensional space, the way your mind as a kid automatically does when playing an imaginative game. I took over what was once my dining room and taped off the walls with black painters tape. I covered the floors with white paper and taped those off as well, making a simple black and white grid. This alone ended up creating quite an optical trip-out.
Then the dilemma of making the stars and planets, I realized that it is virtually impossible to mimic the hand of nature, to recreate the arbitrariness of how the contents of the cosmos are distributed. I had no idea what to do, and there was no way I was going to get myself into an elementary school diorama situation by hanging crumpled pieces of tinfoil from the ceiling. And then. the answer suddenly appeared before my eyes. The clouds parted. The sunlight shed clarity on my puzzled mind. Alas, the disco ball. The party-kid in me saved the day. The historically classic mirrored sphere did exactly what I wanted, resulting in the perfect astral spacescape.
What you have here is a series of photographs I took at an 8 second shutter speed, where I would move in front of the camera holding LED lights, creating celestial bodies as I waved and swayed my arms. Some of the photos were taken in natural sunlight. A sharp beam was ricocheting off a window of the building across the street which was directly hitting the ball, dousing the space in crisp star-like squares. You can also see a few shots of the board game in which this piece was inspired by.
I eventually transferred this installation to the gallery for my senior thesis project, minus the disco ball, which you can take a look at in the section Periphery.