Friday, 24 October 2008

Hard hats and steel toe-capped boots

This week sees the culmination of a fantastic project, BS1. Artist Neville Gabie was apppointed as artist-in-residence on the Cabot Circus site (commissioned by InSite Arts, the residency was funded by Bristol Alliance).
In addition to his own work, Neville wanted to create the opportunity for other artists to respond to the creation of this new retail centre and successful got arts council funding to do so.

I worked with Neville to appoint the novelist Donna Daley-Clarke to work on the BS1 project. It was fantastic to be in the position to find an interesting writer, and offer them the time, access and impetus to respond creatively to a vast and remarkable site.

Donna wrote three stories as a result of her residency: Dirt, Stone and Glass. They have been published in a small publication, currently available at the BS1 exhibition in Bristol (24-30 Oct).

Talking about her residency, Donna said:

"I saw processes and machinery that I had no knowledge of and weeks or months later I had a series of light bulb moments as I realized what I had seen then. I saw lots of absences: no floors or walls or ceilings. There were wires beneath my feet and brightly coloured cables running up poles.

I met many people formally in meeting rooms and informally as Neville grabbed men in high-vis jackets walking past the open door of Costa Coffee. I talked to people on their lunch breaks. I climbed ladders in the rain to get people's stories.

None of the stories I eventually emerged with belong to any one person I spoke to, but none of the stories would have been possible without the input of the many people who gave up their time and shared something of their journeys."

In addition to the publication, Donna wrote some texts which are bring projected onto the exhibition window, along with another artist's video portraits of site workers.

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