Identity and website design for Bidston Observatory Artistic Research Centre Designed in collaboration with Carlos Romo-Melgar. Website built by Simon Wilson.
Bidston Observatory Artistic Research Centre (BOARC, @bid_obs) is a self-organising study site for research, communality and experimentation. Throughout the course of over a year, we collaborated closely with BOARC directors, working together to define open protocols that helped to establish their visual communication.
At the start of this project, we were advised to visit BOARC to understand the complex intersections of users, histories and cultures coexisting at the site. During a brief stay at the observatory, we developed an observational methodology which translated the many voices present in Bidston Hill. These encompass the natural environment, the Victorian observatory building as a reminder of a colonial past, the former occupants of the building and their enduring influence, the aspirations of an intersectional feminist group of artist-directors, as well as the historical and contemporary ‘imprints’ of human action on the Hill, among other elements.
This methodology evolved into an an open set of protocols that BOARC members and collaborators could use (and expand) to generate visual pieces. These pieces were organised into several categories, including found objects, archive activations, frottage, textures, digital carvings, ASCII, and typographic ‘imprints’. Each of these categories served as a starting point for others to contribute and expand the repository of visual elements used to represent BOARC.
The documents developed for BOARC combine parts from the repository of visual elements, taking into consideration production limitations, audiences and diversity of contents. These include internal organisational documents, signage, external communication documents, and other materials developed by external affiliates. (01) Accountability agreement (02) Accountability flowchart (03) Welcome leaflet (04) Accountability Posters (05) External leaflet developed for ALWFAV 6 (06) Main signage (07) Library Stamp (08) Education Pack (09) Sweatshirt
The website of BOARC performs, through the use of language, the role of a steward from the observatory. It provides entry points to understanding a complex organisation that is located in an equally complex venue and site. For this reason, the website uses side notes as a way to navigate the website ‘horizontally’ as well as following more traditional ‘vertical’ hierarchies of content. It is populated by visual elements that exist – or ‘existed once’ – in the area, and allows the user to digitally ‘carve’ its surface, making a parallel with the ever changing surface of Bidston hill. Additionally, the website features a custom ascii board where directors of BOARC can intervene and communicate immediate information with users.