London designer and filmmaker Ilona Gaynor looks at how the setup of a courtroom can manipulate how a case is perceived for her Designers in Residence commission at London's Design Museum (+ slideshow).
Based around a fictional court case in which a National Lottery draw is fixed, Ilona Gaynor presents scripts, props and camera directions that consider how the staging of the courtroom affects how details of a case are relaid to a jury.
"The essential premise of it is that the materiality of the design you see here is all designed to mimic how directors relate to actors," Gaynor told Dezeen.
Among the pieces on show is a courtroom diorama that shows how a director might begin to stage a theatrical production of the case.
A green, flocked Chroma Key Set, designed to be edited out in post-production, takes on the exact geometry required to conduct a court case.
"Technically I could drag these down to the river front and if I brought a judge I could have a legal proceeding because this triangulation of furniture is the legal requirement," Gaynor told Dezeen.
Traditional courtroom sketches show how the fixtures of a cinematic courtroom might start to creep in. "You begin to see leakages in the drawing of cinematic placement, so a green screen and a few lights," said Gaynor.
A sequence of moodily lit photographs imagines a lawyer practicing dramatic gesturing ahead of a trial. For the images, which were shot in a mock courtroom at University College London, Gaynor took inspiration from newly uncovered images of Adolf Hitler rehearsing his oratory.
Accompanying the exhibition, a show reel condenses 100 years of courtroom drama. The films demonstrate how different filming techniques are used to add comedy or gravity to a performance.
"This is a kind of proof of concept," said Gaynor. "You can very clearly see by watching it how the genres change. In Liar Liar, Jim Carey is pulling stupid faces in a court and it's a comedy. It's shot very differently to the Rainmaker."
Ilona Gaynor is founder of research studio Department of No and teaches digital and media students "how to tell better stories" at Rhode Island School of Design.
Designers in Residence is on display at London's Design Museum until 8 March 2014.
Exhibition photography by Luke Hayes.