In October, our on-site gallery, The Crypt Gallery, hosted an exhibition entitled Botanical Opticals by artist Tim Platt. The exhibition featured large prints of kaleidoscopic abstract patterns created from photographs of flowers as they bloom, a high-resolution video installation and immersive, ambient soundscapes.
We caught up with Tim to find out more about the inspiration behind the exhibition and his experience of exhibiting in the Crypt Gallery.
Can you tell us a bit more about your background and artistic style?
I still run my own studio in central London, although as a family we have now enjoyed living in Norwich for 15 years. As a professional photographer, I have worked mainly in the advertising and design sector producing international campaigns for blue-chip companies like Unilever, P&G, Samsung, LG, Britvic and GSK among many others. However, I have always believed that photography is above all about the simple joy of seeing. Craft and technique should not be underestimated, but it is a mysterious neural connection between the eye and the brain that makes great images, and technique should always remain safely behind the scenes. Alongside commissioned work, I have always engaged in personal creative work and I believe that nowhere does this connection matter more than when an image is framed on a wall.
What was the inspiration behind Botanical Opticals?
Being interested in both stills and motion led me to explore the world of botanical time-lapse, which is essentially a stills process that becomes a video in post-production. Plants and flowers are photographed over long periods while they grow or bloom. This process creates thousands of high-resolution stills which are then animated at different speeds to reveal a secret life that we don't normally see. I started to arrange these clips into symmetrical patterns and realised that the effects can be quite mesmerising.
These ideas developed into an interactive iOS relaxation app I created called Moodlapse. The user taps, slides, and tilts the screen to create beautiful kaleidoscopic videos of flowers blooming. These moving patterns combine with soothing ambient binaural music to help stimulate different brainwave frequencies and promote relaxation and a sense of wellbeing.
The Crypt exhibition evolved from ideas explored during the development of Moodlapse. I created a high resolution version of the app which works with 4K video clips. These can then be manipulated to generate the symmetrical kaleidoscopic images that I call Botanical Opticals.
How did you hear about the Crypt Gallery and get involved with Norwich School?
My wife works with textiles and was interested in the Japanese Boro textiles by Kobo A-B exhibited at the Crypt Gallery a couple of years ago. While we were there I met Andy Campbell, the Creative Projects Coordinator at Norwich School and we started talking about the Botanical Opticals project. He was very interested and positive about staging an exhibition. One thing led to another and two years later I was showing my work in the Crypt...only slightly delayed by a worldwide pandemic. I am very grateful for all Andy’s enthusiasm and help with setting up the show. The Crypt gallery is a great art space and has become a cultural asset for Norwich.
How did you find the exhibition?
I really enjoyed staging my show at the Crypt. It is a truly special and peaceful space and works perfectly as an art gallery. The symmetrical geometry of the medieval architecture complemented the symmetrical geometry of the abstract flower images and, in addition to the framed prints, we were able to section off a space for an audio-visual installation. We used several digital projectors and a large screen showing a randomised version of the app generating the kaleidoscopic patterns from a sequence of high-resolution time-lapse videos of flowers blooming. This was very popular and I had countless positive reactions from visitors, many of whom said they found the experience quite therapeutic and had never seen anything like it before.
We had put some effort into publicising the show via listings and online features, and the show was always busy with a constant stream of visitors. I have to say we also benefited from Dippy the Dinosaur in the Norwich Cathedral next door as many people dropped in on their way to see him!
Another highlight for me was the opportunity to engage with pupils from the School. We had a couple of groups from the Biology Department who were very interested in the time-lapse films of flowers and asked lots of interesting questions, both in the gallery and then at Q&A sessions later with projector screens to help us to look at and then discuss the films. Andy brought students from the Art Department and I hope the show may have inspired a few ideas. Last but not least Eleanor Wasserberg’s Writers Bloc creative writing group came in one afternoon and, after a brief chat, sat down and wrote some really beautiful poetry. Some of them printed their work for me and I was so impressed with it that I put it up in the gallery for what was left of the exhibition run. I hope some of it will be published via the School’s online platforms.
You can find out more about the exhibition and Tim's work by visiting www.timplatt.co.uk
You can also see more about his prints by visiting www.timplattprints.com