As a companion to Tim Crouch’s recent production, Adler & Gibb, at the Royal Court Theatre, five Camberwell students on the BA Graphic Design course were invited to create the website for the fictional artists, Janet Adler and Margaret Gibb. Crouch initially contacted CCW Professor, Jane Collins, to ask if she could recommend students to become involved. Collins, in turn, approached BA Graphic Design Course Leader, Tracey Waller, who suggested Stefan Graham, Vanessa Periam, Nisha Gouveia, Taylee Morris and Mai Trinh.
Graham recounted the experience, saying, ‘It was an interesting process, working with Tim Crouch to create a website supporting the possible existence of the two artists who are central to the play. Beginning by reading the script, we “created” their lives primarily through magazine and newspaper archive images. We arranged them in combination with other images that might suggest certain details of their lives, but not explicitly explaining anything. The group then decided that this would be the way the website would distribute information, allowing the user to draw their own conclusions as to what happened in the artists’ lives, based on the arrangements of images. At many points during the project we were so engrossed in image sourcing and arranging, that we were talking about Adler and Gibb as if they really did exist, wondering whether this image was a piece of work they made or whether they knew Andy Warhol!
What made this project enjoyable to work on was that Tim allowed us freedom to create the most appropriate website for the ideas that were needed to be communicated, rather than coming with a preconceived idea of how Adler and Gibb’s stories should unfold. It’s great to be offered such freedom from a client in that respect. It also opened my eyes to conceptual theatre and the parallels it had with certain ideas that are debated within the field of graphic design.’
Periam said, ‘Working on the Adler & Gibb website was a great learning experience for me personally – as I had no prior experience of either making a website, or working for somebody outside of the college. The project proved to be one of the best things that I worked on during final year. The website, as an addition to the play, explores the lives of conceptual artists Janet Adler and Margaret Gibb in 1970s New York. Whilst Adler and Gibb are in fact fictional, the aim of the website was to play with reality, providing potential evidence that they could have existed. This came in the form of four different photo-paths to follow on the website – the existence of the two artists to be completely determined by the viewers themselves.
What made the project so good to work on was the collaboration with Tim Crouch. Allowing us almost complete freedom over how the website worked, he was encouraging and enthusiastic about ideas that we had, giving our involvement in the project so much more meaning than if we had had to follow a strict set of instructions. As a result, working on the website was a very rewarding experience.’