eegb | Drawing & Technology Research

Exhibtion drawing 01 Drawing of kitchen Drawing of St Annes chapel Barnstaple, dorset Drawing Polargraph polargraph driwngs

St Anne's Chapel

We spent three months in residence of a 14th century chapel in Barnstaple, North Devon with the aim to invite new audiences to engage with the arts as well as the heritage and history of Barnstaple.

Barnstaple is an old market town with the miniature gothic building of St. Anne’s chapel situated in the centre. Among its many uses throughout history the chapel homed the French Huguenot refugees and was a grammar school in the 17th century. It has more recently been renovated into an arts and community centre with the remnants of these past lives existing on in carvings in the walls and furnishings.

We wanted to record and map the architecture of this historic building in a new and experimental way. We began using 3D scanning techniques to capture segments of the building and processed this data through our drawing machines resulting in large scale abstract architectural ink drawings.

The collection of machines and technology we were using felt contrast to the historic stone interior. While in residence we altered the function and feeling of the space, we invited the public inside to see both our work in progress and the old local building in this new way. We also hosted talks and workshops with local schools and ended our time with an exhibition further playing the capability of the heritage site.

Technical description

We recorded the building using a hacked Xbox Kinect. This household item let us capture 3-D models of the historic building. The Kinect sends out an array of infra red beams. By measuring the intensity of the light bounced back it can measure the distance that the beam has traveled. The result is a ‘point cloud’ in 3-D space that capture the overall contours of the space.

We then set about drawing this point cloud with our polargraph drawing machine. We built a program that navigated through the point cloud using different methods. For example we could cycle through the point cloud row by row drawing horizontal lines that mapped the contours of the point cloud. Another method searched for the nearest point that had not already been visited. Much like a dot to dot drawing but in 3-D. Each method rendered the point cloud differently emphasising different features of the architecture.