18 NOVEMBER: The design of the Unearthed projects is already running four days behind schedule, due to a major hitch in the translations. This has highlighted the importance of having a more accountable structure at the other end of the process - content management.
On Friday 13th November, I pretty much had to down tools so that, over the weekend, our new Intern, who speaks Hindi, and her friend could go over the entire text of the first few sections of the exhibition. We now have new translations.
The "Places of Rape" section has been translated and supplied by the group who are running the Rape in India project. Unfortunately I've had to request that their text be reduced because the text needs to be a minimum size to cut and weed the vinyl, I can't reduce the size of it any more than it already is. Also, we're having all kinds of issues with reading the Hindi, so I have sent them one of the other Hindi docs I have so they can copy and paste their text into that.
20 November: A couple of days have gone by since I began writing this post, and a few things have happened to again slow the process down. Firstly, even though I asked the production people what their minimum x-height is for cutting and weeding vinyl lettering - and they told me 5mm - they have now looked at the files (after I sent them days ago to double check and they took four days to get back to me) and have told me that the minimum size is 8mm. Complete and utter frustration now, because I have designed the first two sections of the exhibition according to that 5mm x-height and now have to redo everything. I have managed to get the x-height up to 7.5mm, but have again sent them the file to urgently check it because I can't go over that too much more before we need to design everything with a huge amount of extra materials (especially the vinyl).
I have tried as much as I possibly can to design within the parameters I set in the original design brief, because we really don't have the budget to go over extensively in terms of materials, but this piece of misinformation has thrown a massive spanner in the works. This, coupled with the delay in translations, has slowed the project to a dangerous level, and I'm worried that we are now not going to get it done in time.
Secondly, I still don't have the translations for the third section of the exhibition because there are some pretty major issues going on with their Hindi not behaving in the same way our translations are. They have set it in another typeface, and even though they have sent it to me, when I go to change that to the one I'm using for the exhibition design, it converts back to Roman lettering and is just incomprehensible. I'm waiting on this to be fixed.
My plan is to have everything done by the end of this weekend, off to be proofread, and then set up for print. I admit to wanting to see that back of it now, and have to remember that it's an important thing we're doing here, and not to rush it because time is no longer on our side. Below are some of the panels as they currently look.
Sunday 22nd November: I worked on the exhibition pretty much all weekend, and now have what i think is a final first round of designs. We're missing one sentence in Hindi, but that should be with me tomorrow. We had a major glitch yesterday that was pretty interesting - Sid, our new Intern who has been doing an amazing job of translating all of the Hindi, discovered that once everything was in Adobe Illsustrator, it was messing everything up. It looked like I was going to have to change the typeface AND re-do all of the design. I did a bit of research and while I was reading about it, the idea came to me to get rid of the Word formatting, which is pretty standard practice with web design. I copied and pasted all of the Hind from the Word docs into Text Editor, converted to plain text, copied and pasted that into Illustrator and voila! Success!! Phew! I still had to re-set every single panel I'd already done, but it looks like that issue was resolved.
We still don't know why the other doc from the Places group wasn't working. In the end, we had to redo the translations and Sid sent those instead.
So, we're getting there, but seriously over time!
I also had a long meeting with the production guy the other night and specified that the places section should be quite dim lighting. I'm very interested in the idea that several people writing about difficult exhibitions have put forward - that emotional effect is an important part of the process of learning. Because this section argues for the need for more thought in urban planning to ensure the safety of women, I really wanted people to get a little 'creeped out' by it. The wall colour will be a dark grey, with metallic silver vinyl to give glints of reflective light. I think it will be important for people to 'feel' how unsafe seemingly 'normal' locations can be, and encourage people to think about places as experiences.