Kim-Lee was asked just how Mischa Fritschs’ recent collaboration with DKW came into being from a technical perspective. This is how she describes it.
Proxy-Me-Tree (Bungee Experiment)
“The Bungee mechanism created for Proxy-me-Tree is a pendulum of sorts. Mischa attached an easel to a tree to act as a backing and support to hold the hard ground- covered copper plate. He connected a bungee cord to a tree branch and a dowel rod to the end of the bungee cord. At the end of the dowel rod he inserted a printer’s needle (used to create drypoint marks on copper plates) The scratches on the plate are created by pulling on the dowel rod and then releasing it; the tension created by pulling on the dowel causes the needle to jet across the plate creating the sound wave–like marks, breaking through the hard ground layer and exposing the copper beneath (which would later be immersed in acid and etched; the exposed copper areas are the only areas which will be etched).
Pulling on the rod in the desired direction creates marks that start from one end of the plate and end on the other. Pulling the dowel rod lower down and holding it for a longer period of time before releasing it allows for a longer ‘wave’ and the needle moves back and forth across the plate more, creating more fluid scratches that run uninterrupted from one end of the plate to the other. The mechanism allows for a manipulation of nature to co-create the work; the tree plays an active part (to some degree) in the creation of the work. The plate was then immersed in acid and etched”.
“During his time at the DKW Mischa created three images which were all created through experimental mark- making and the inclusion of the “element of chance”. Pointless was created with the aid of a contraption (made by Mischa) which hangs a bag of acid (Ferric Chloride) over a rosin- covered plate. The acid bag has holes poked in it where the acid can leak out slowly and at a particular pace. Mischa used his contraption to manipulate the area in which the acid drips on the plate as well as for how long the acid drips in a particular area. He later added more holes to the acid bag to encourage more drips, making for heavier drip marks as the marks are more deeply etched.
In the creation of the image the plate is printed twice, one layer in gold and the second in black. The doubling up of the dots in black and gold create a subtle depth in the image and bring the drips to life”.
Bicycle (preliminary title)
“The copper plate which makes use of the bicycle tread was created by coating a copper plate in a thin layer of soft ground. Soft ground is easily lifted from the plate, unlike hard ground which hardens and needs a level of force to be removed and lifted, for example, using a sharp tool or printer’s needle. A bicycle wheel was run over the pre-covered plate. Where the rubber from the wheel made contact with the soft ground the ground lifted off the plate and was removed, exposing the copper for etching. We used three different types of soft ground mixtures to get different effects; some tyre tread patterns appear hazier than others due to the softness of the ground, whereas others are crisper as the soft ground is more stable in consistency.
Once the tyre pattern was created on the plate it was immersed in acid and etched for varying amounts of time. Areas that we wanted deeply etched and more defined were immersed for longer periods of time. Some areas we were less happy with were etched for as little as a few seconds at a time”.
Note: To date the bicycle experiment has not produced a print series.
Posted by Linda Kocovaos