Saturday, 31 December 2011

MAD slabs

St F google with slabsWhen St Felix Middle school burned down in 2008 the site of the building stood surrounded by safety fencing for a considerable time. The old building had a rather beautiful sunken drama studio which left a large hole in the middle of the site. People made jokes about a potential swimming pool but eventually the hole was filled with rubble and most of the  area was covered with tarmac. Because there was a strong risk of subsidence the drama studio area was instead covered with paving slabs leaving a grid of slabs in the middle of the playground. I’ve stood wondering about them on many a  break duty. They somehow asked to be used. Originally I thought they might make a good chessboard.
It was when I started thinking about the slabs as pixels that the idea came. The school logo… of course. This fitted perfectly with my evolving concept for the MAD project – The theme for Term 1 was ‘Me’ and for Term 2 –Us’.  What better visual analogue could there be for a school, than a school badge created by students and staff in the school – a community of individuals? So this holiday I sat down a my computer and set to work. Amongst the excellent plugins available for Paint.NET is a pixellation effect which has an adjustable cell size. Simple!
Well no, actually. The pixellation effect attempts to render the image as clearly as possible and in doing so creates all kinds of tonal subtleties that would cause problems for paint mixing on such a grand scale. So having created an image of the correct number of pixels (that’s another story) I had to re-colour large areas of the picture, constantly zooming in and out to check the effect on the overall image. When finally satisfied I imported the image into MS Publisher and superimposed a transparent table which I numbered for easy reference. We’ll enlarge the printout to A3 and each student will be allocated a square and get a small paper square showing their 2x2 colour scheme.
This term they’ll be designing and painting their image on a slab-sized piece of paper and we’ll transfer the designs during the summer term when the weather is better (?).  Hopefully we’ll be able to get an aerial photograph of the design with the school community standing round it.  I superimposed the logo for illustrative purposes on the current Google Map - which still shows the old building. It would be really brilliant if Google Maps took a new picture this summer – anyone know who to ask?

Click to enlarge
St Felix Slabs