About Let’s Build a Fort!


Let’s Build a Fort!

2 – 13 February 2016

5th Base Gallery


Sound & interaction design – Lucy Ann Harrison

Spatial, visual design & props – Ele Slade

Exhibition Coordinator – Anna Thomas

The Idea

Let’s Build a Fort! Is an idea that has been percolating since 2013 when I was watching a lot of a programme called Community. In a bid to fight of adulthood the characters built a giant blanket fort that extends for the length of their college.
I began to think about the last time I’d built a fully functioning fort.

For me a fort meant escape and solitude. It was a place to be alone with my books, or to imagine that I was anywhere in the world. Very often I was happily alone in a boat on an ocean that stretched forever.

Speaking to other people about their forts and dens I heard about castles, battle zones, places to share secrets and places to hide from the world. The shared experiences for all of these were the role that our imaginations played and the moment that our parents realised what we’d done with all of the furniture.

Our fort is a place to explore, imagine and play. It doesn’t need to be tidied away before tea.

 The Design

When designing the fort time was taken to consider how we wanted our audience to feel and react to the space. Nostalgia is a key theme in the design with items carefully sourced to remind people of a ‘90s childhood when colours were brighter and clean eating hadn’t been invented.

The sound

All the sounds have been created from real world sources and transformed electronically.

The Fortal

The Fortal is the gateway to the fort.
The sounds were inspired by the sounds of a parent arriving home from work – doors being unlocked, keys and a greeting from the dog.

The sound has then been designed to resemble a misremembered opening of 90’s children’s game shows where contestants were sent on quests to distant ‘futuristic’ lands. The sound plays to start the audience on their fort journey.

Blanket Bastion

The blanket bastion encourages audience members to tell stories from their childhoods through shadow puppets.

The sound has been created from the phrases ‘once upon a time’ & ‘and they all lived happily every after’. The soundscape was based on a conversation with a parent. ‘When you become a parent you suddenly have to remember stories and songs that you haven’t thought about since you were a child’.

The soundscape suggests trying to remember a story or song that is hidden deep in the memory.

An Xbox Kinect is used to map the projection space allowing audience members to create their own mix of the sound.

Cardboard Camp

The Cardboard Camp is a place for summer spent playing outside.

Conductive paint combined with Raspberry Pi technology allows for the sound to be triggered by touch creating interactive games.

The sounds chosen for this playground are chimes from the ice cream van, the first notes that you learn on the recorder.

Pillow Palace

This is the most robust part of our fort where audience members are invited to build their own fort. Using the pillows and objects within the space.

While audience member build their fort sound is taken from the space and transformed through granular synthesis – where the sound is split into small grains and rearranged.

The sound represents the shapes and changes that sound could take when you were a child, tricking you into thinking their were monsters under the bed or triggering the imagination to send you on a great adventure.

Single Stronghold

The Single Stronghold represents a space for people looking to escape the world through their fort.

The quiet children looking for a space to be themselves and to spend time away from other children or grown ups.

It contains children’s books to explore and remember.

The sound within this space has been created from the sound of turning pages that can lead you to adventure.