Sunday, 6 December 2009

Clothes Airer Flash-mob exhibitor

A few weeks back, I was set a task to create a Free Media tool. Free Media, if you're not familiar with the term, is about creating accessible and open methods for people to get their messages across - and for a lot of people, accessible means cheap! But not necessarily for free - the 'Free' is 'Free Media' is as in freedom, not free cake.

And in line with this, once you've had an idea, it's good to share it will all and sundry, so they can give it a go if they fancy it. So here it is - the Clothes Airer Flash-mob Exhibitor (or, ermm, CAFE for short). It's a device to provide an easy, portable stand for presenting work in a variety of mediums.

What I had in mind was producing a simple presentation system suitable for flash mob exhibitions. Flash mobs, if you're not familiar, are large groups of people who suddenly come together for a small amount of time, usually to do something unusual. And so a flash mob exhibition is a sudden group exhibition which comes out of nowhere, and then after a short amount of time is disbanded.

The normal convention used in these affairs appears to be the clothesline (or whatever the line is that you use to put up your photos when developing), see for instance:


and here

This has a pretty nice DIY aesthetic and is eminently suitable for photography - but I think there's definitely room for alternatives - the 'clothesline' has low visibility and arguably isn't suitable for media and artworks in larger formats. So here's what I came up with:

Making the Clothes Airer Flash-mob Exhibitor

What you'll need:

A clothes airer like the following:

A fold up clothes airer with little plastic joiners

It's far better to get one where the plastic joiners are separate rather than doubling up as caps for the tops and bottoms

Other helpful bits include curtain pegs, drawing pins, and bedsheets:

Sheets, curtain pegs and pins - but you could use other things

Oh and things to display!

How to make it:

1. Adjust the connectors and 'panels' into a creative configuration. Leaving the panels all at one levels is boring - you can make a far more interesting display by raising the central panel.

If you have two or more of the clothes airers you can connect them up into a multiplicitous wonder.

2. Put up your creation. If the ground is soft, push it down into the mud to make it more stable.

3. Fold the bed sheets and place them neatly over the panels of the clothes airer, making a nice clean surface for you to attach your work to. If you want to look smart you could go so far as to iron the sheets - but this is a bit dull and time consuming, so I probably wouldn't bother.

4. If you don't mind putting pins through what you're showing (or alternatively mount it on paper), this is perhaps the easiest way to attach things. You can use curtain pegs under the sheets to hook things - it's difficult but doable!

You can hang all kinds of things:

My bedroom trial exhibition

Here's a link to a video of me putting it up and taking it down in a park in Camberwell. Don't watch it through, skip through on the bar at the bottom:

Setting up the CAFE (Clothes Airer Flashmob Exhibitor)

It took me 10 minutes to set up on my own without a clue what I was doing - with preparation and friends you can have it up in no time. Coincidentally, it ended up an exhibition of

And in case you were wondering how I hung the laptop - I unscrewed the back panel, placed two hairbands round the screwholes...

.. and then screwed them up again. Try at your own risk!

Creative Commons License
Clothes Airer Flashmob Exhibitor - howto (inc all images, video and text) by Cliff Hammett is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

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