Music by Nabihah Iqbal & Neville Gabie with the construction workforce of Aviva Studios, Manchester, England
Commissioned by Factory International
Celebrating the construction workforce behind Factory International’s new home, FACTORY WORKS is an artwork in the form of a vinyl record.
Created by artist Neville Gabie and musician/DJ Nabihah Iqbal in collaboration with construction workers and manufacturers involved in the creation of Aviva Studios, the record mixes industrial sounds and snippets of conversations with workers – all underpinned with original electronic music.
Neville Gabie is known for creating works that respond to people and places in moments of change. Focusing on the core materials that form the infrastructure of Aviva Studios – steel, concrete, cloth, rubber, wood and glass – FACTORY WORKS was made over a two-and-a-half-year period from Spring 2020 to Autumn 2022.
Each album has a unique sleeve from design agency North, with thanks to Peter Saville. There are 1500 copies of the limited-edition artwork – available to buy online and at Aviva Studios.
Every worker from the factories together with the whole on-site workforce will receive their own copy of the vinyl album.
FACTORY WORKS is accompanied by a short film created by Neville Gabie in collaboration with Mark Thomas of film studio Soup Collective. The film is a celebration of the people, sound and skill involved in the creation of Aviva Studios and offers a glimpse behind the scenes of the build. The film features the whole workforce involved in the creation of the record.
Morning Track One – Factory Works
Launch event Aviva Studios, home of Factory International and Versa studios [formerly Granada TV Studios]
Neville Gabie said: “When I was invited to make a new work celebrating the people who were fabricating and constructing this huge new building, I couldn’t have been more excited – and to be honest, I was also a little overwhelmed. This was a wonderful opportunity to meet engineers, builders, steel fabricators, project managers, concrete experts, timber workers, finishers, sewing machinists, glass fitters, acoustic engineers, crane drivers, security guards and office staff, and to make something as a tribute to their contributions to the city. The challenge was coming up with the right idea. It needed to be simple and unique – and, once complete, it needed to be something we could give to everyone as a tribute to their achievements.”
Nabihah Iqbal said: “With all this inspiration around us, Neville and I wanted to create something all-encompassing: a soundscape of the different workplaces, interwoven with voices and music. It’s been an impossible task to try and fit in all the sounds and stories that we collected over these two years or so, but I hope that what we’ve created offers a glimpse into the fascinating world of the people and the core materials that construct our buildings.”
John McGrath, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Factory International, said: “It’s humbling to witness a great building emerge from the ground and realise how many skills and specialisms, how much care and precision, and how much hard, determined work has gone into its birth and growth. As a cultural organisation embedded in the city of Manchester, we wouldn’t be doing our own work properly if we didn’t find a way to express and respond to this extraordinary effort.
Living-Language-Land is a digital project co-produced by Neville Gabie and Philippa Bayley. Funded by the British Council in the lead up to the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow
living-language-land is a journey through endangered and minority languages that reveal different ways of relating to land and nature. We’re sharing 26 words in the run-up to COP26 to give you fresh inspiration for tackling our environmental crisis.
The languages we speak shape how we understand the world around us, including our connections to land and nature. But as fast as we’re losing species from our planet, so we’re losing languages that offer different ways of seeing. What connections, ideas and wisdom are we losing as those languages are lost? What powerful strategies for sustainable living might they offer, to help look afresh at our environmental crisis? living-language-land invites you to see beyond the confines of your own language as we journey through endangered and minority languages that reveal different ways of relating to our planet.
Together these words form a rich word bank that offers a fresh, evocative perspective on our environmental crisis – one that’s beyond the scope of the Western-dominated conversation.
The project is a COP26 British Council Creative Commission. The project team comprises artist Neville Gabie (UK), creative producer Philippa Bayley (UK), partners Cesar Sánchez León of Pedagogías Ancestrales (Muisca, Colombia), artist and academic Virginia Mackenny (University of Cape Town, South Africa) and linguist and Khwe language expert Matthias Brenzinger (South Africa/Namibia). and many contributors from around the world – to whom we express our deep thanks.
Living-Language-Land was invited to present the project in the Green Zone at the COP26 Summit.
More Together Than Alone September 3rd 2021 January 3rd 202
Curated by Neville Gabie and Tessa Jackson OBE
Neville Gabie and the people of Watchet – Suzanne Lacy and thepeople of Pendle – Deanna Payne
What does it mean to be part of a community? How important is a sense of belonging and place? In 2019 Contains Art, acknowledging its community roots, invited Neville Gabie, as artist and co-curator, to explore these questions and consider what contributes to our sense of identity and togetherness.
Unable to meet people in person [Covid restrictions], Neville connected from a distance. Drawn to the maritime tradition of ships in bottles, magical gifts that could link people, he invited the people of Watchet to make bottles capturing what they valued about their community and the place where they lived. Over 100 bottles hold traces of treasured activities, hopes and emotions. Grounded in a shared history and sense of place, they reveal an energy built on personal relationships and communal care.
Bottles made by members of the community for the project. In all just under 150 bottles were made specifically for this exhibition.
Neville Gabie considered community from his own perspective. His three works, inspired by the sentiments within the bottles, act as a metaphor for the town and a reminder of the importance of those around us. Several are evocative of events and celebrations. The Chairs, grafted together for instance, or the audio visual sound installation with with sound of china plates being placed drifting from underneath the work. His photograph referencing French impressionist painter Pierre-August Renoir’s ‘Luncheon of the Boating Party’ employs the artistic tradition of reinterpretation, to bring members of the community together after months of restrictions. The works pay homage to what we have lost but hope to regain.
For this first exhibition at East Quay it was important to offer a platform to one of Watchet’s own creative young people. Deanna Payne, an emerging performance poet and artist, was commissioned to create a personal reflection on her community. An Armchair to Nowhere, a poem as well as a film, combines the everyday with the magical and acts as a modern-day folk story that, as Deanna puts it, preserves the town in a ‘pantry of the mind’.
More Together Than Alone continues upstairs in Gallery 2 with The Circle and the Square by the American artist Suzanne Lacy, created in collaboration with the people of Pendle, Lancashire. Contemplating the demise of the textile industry, it reflects on shared work experiences and what holds us together, regardless of background.
Tessa Jackson OBE
Neville Gabie would like to thank Everyone for their wonderfully imaginative bottles. They have been the inspiration for this exhibition. All those who participated in creatingBetter Together part 3: Simon Brown, Sarah Elwood and Stan, Edward Frewin, Georgie Grant, George Harwood-Smith Sonia Hiley, Cosmo Johnston, Dave Milton, Ryan Nunn, Molly Quint, Chris Spink, John Thwaites, Sally Turner and Tom Wedlake.
Photographer Glyn Jarrett who documented the whole exhibition and worked alongside Neville in creating Better Together Part 3
Artists Deanna Payne and Suzzane Lacy, Co Curator, Tessa Jackson and everyone at East Quay Watchet
The galleries at East Quay are run by a charity, Contains Art CIO (charity number 1193931), which is founded on the belief that who you are, where you live and what you have, should not constrain access to creativity and culture. All donations to the Gallery and Contains Art are reinvested in art, culture and arts education. See https://www.eastquaywatchet.co.uk/art/more-together-than-alone
A sculpture located in six countries around the world – commissioned by Cambridge City Council marking the location, Parker’s Piece where the first rules for football were written in the modern era 1848
Artists Neville Gabie and Alan Ward
Artists Neville Gabie and Alan Ward were invited to make a sculpture for Parker’s Piece Cambridge to mark the location the first written rules for football in the modern era 1848. From this location, football spread around the world, enjoyed by millions in very different locations. Wanting to celebrate this, the artists created a sculpture in a single block of granite – the Cambridge Rules inscribed in numerous languages on its outer faces. The block of stone was then split into nine vertical columns. Four are permanently installed on Parker’s Piece, Cambridge. The other five are permanently installed at – The Shaghai Shenhua FC training ground, China – Maadi Olympic Centre, Cairo, Egypt – Karunalaya Social Centre, Chennai, India – Maracana Stadium, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil – Glads House, Mombasa, Kenya.
In addition to the sculpture there is an interactive website dedicated to the project. seecambridgerules1848
An artists residency and exhibition in Croxteth Hall Liverpool – 2017
A project initiated and developed by artists Neville Gabie, Patricia Mackinnon-Day and Paul Rooney, working with Liverpool based curator, Frances Downie. The project was a response to the critical socialist novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell. Published in 1914 posthumously by his daughter after his death and burial in an unmarked grave in Liverpool, the book quickly became a seminal text for the labour, socialist and trade union movements in the UK.
The artists work was developed in relation to Croxteth Hall, Liverpool with the artists given access to the house and archives for a period of research and development, prior to an exhibition in the house during the summer of 2017.
To complement the work and explore the context of Croxteth Hall and the writing of Tressell’s novel, a newspaper publication was produced with text by Dr Deaglan O Donghaile, Jessica Holtaway and Tessa Jackson.
‘A tale of painters and decorators who are forced, daily, to compete with one another in an economic race to the bottom. ‘the painters bible’ as the novel became known. was quickly recognised as an important radical, even insurgent text.’ Dr D. O’Donghaile
‘Artists Neville Gabie, Patricia Mackinnon-Day and Paul Rooney, in their recent collaboration decided to respond to Tressell’s 1914 novel ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ not from a point of illustration but rather to reflect on the books central premise of the ‘fundamental need to replace the entire capitalist system with a new and more radical society’ [Tony Benn 2012] and how its message remains relevant today’ Tessa Jackson
‘Historic records of Corxteth Hall evoke beautiful images of generations of families along with their most loved horses and dogs. ‘Who lived in Croxteth in 1919 you might ask? The answer would be the Molyneux family, the Earls of Sefton.’ But in reality many, many more individuals lived in the Hall at this time, as servants. Some people spent the best part of their life living there, but records of their experience are rare, if they exist at all.’ Jessica Holtaway
Neville Gabie developed and installed three video works into the house.
Experiments in Black and White XXII – a work in which the artist paints the wall and himself white, then black, then white. Installed in the gallery above the main stairs alongside the portraits of the Sefton family.
Experiments in Black and White XXI – a work filmed in the kitchens where the artist tries to hold up a pile of plates as long as possible. The work was installed in the Hall Dinning Room.
Experiments in Black and White XXIV– a work in which the artist move furniture from Lady Sefton’s Bedroom to the servants quarters, negotiating the very narrow passage ways and staircase. Th artist then moved furniture from the servants quarters in the other direction, back into the main house and along grand carpeted corridors.
The Dinner – Ram Quarter WandsworthNeville Gabie – commissioned by FutureCity on behalf of Greenland UK, Developers of Ram Quarter, Wandsworth site of the former Young’s Brewery
Neville Gabie was invited to make a new work, which responded to the history of the former Young’s Brewery and to the sites future prospects as a residential and commercial development in the heart of London.
Based on an historic photograph found in the Young’s Archive of a staff Christmas Dinner held in Wandsworth Town Hall in 1948, the work proposed was to restage that event, but with a very diverse mix of people drawn from the local community, from former Young’s Employees, from the builders, planners, developers, architects and marketers involved in transforming this historic location.
The Restaged Christmas Dinner, held on September 28th 2017 in the same location in Wandsworth Town Hall, was photographed and has been reproduced as a 3 metre light box to be displayed in the heritage centre, currently under construction at ram quarter. In addition a limited edition [500 copies] publication and DVD containing interviews, historic and contemporary photographs and documentation of The Dinner was printed and distributed to all participants in 2019
The restaged Dinner was held on September 28th 2017. Below are a selection of images documenting the set-up, some of our guests and informal photographs of the event itself. All photographs in this section were taken by Marian Alonso.
Neville and Joan Gabie were commissioned by the National Trust to develop a new commission in response to Blickling Hall’s famous library. A library of 12,500 books collected by Richard Ellis [1683 – 1742] covering a wide range of subjects predominantly from the Age of Enlightenment. The artists chose to develop work based on six books responding to four themes, Language, Natural History, Astronomy and the early Microscopic work of Robert Hooke.
LANGUAGE – The Eliot Wampanoag Bible
The Eliot Bible, printed in Cambridge Massachusetts in 1663 was the first Bible and the third ever book to be printed in North America. Eliot travelled to New Plymouth in 1630 was keen to convert the local Native American communities [Wampanoag] and set about learning the language and phonetically. With considerable local help, the entire bible over a ten year period and printed in an edition of 500. Almost all were destroyed within a few years after the violent and destructive war of 1675/6, which effectively decimated most First Nation people on the eastern seaboard. By the mid 1700’s it was illegal to even speak Wampanoag and within a few years it became a lost language.
However about 30 years ago one woman Jessie Lillte Doe Baird, had a vision to bring the language back into use – a living language for the Wampanoag once again.
One of the few language resources was the Eliot Bible!
Today there are numerous fluent speakers and the language is taught in four primary schools as well as secondary schools around Mashpee, Cape Cod and Aquinnah on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.
We wanted to bring the sound of this once lost language back to the Library at Blickling and have installed a sound installation into the Long Gallery. In addition there is a film installation in the adjacent Upper Anti Room based on conversations with the community at Mashpee. This project would not have been possible without the fantastic help and support from Jessie Little Doe Baird and the whole community of Wampanoag Language Speakers.
Konrad Gesner [1516-1565] Swiss naturalist, physicist and doctor typifies the ‘Age of Enlightenment’. Best known for his ‘Historia Animalium’, a work in 5 volumes in which he sought to catalogue every living creature on earth. He did so based on his own research as well as the descriptions of what others had seen. As a result the books contain a fabulous range of creatures, most fairly accurate, some wildly speculative. In order to illustrate the 5 volumes, Gesner relied on the work of many artists to create the numerous woodcuts.
It is this collaborative approach in making that inspired the work you will see at Blickling.
Joan Gabie set about creating a series of drawings inspired by Gesner before translating these into tapestry designs. In a contemporary collaborative approach, these designs are being reinterpreted and made by several volunteers, many who work at Blickling Hall.
The final work will be displayed at Blickling Hall this autumn/winter. In the meantime a room has been dedicated to the ongoing ‘live’ project where visitors can see the drawings, completed tapestry panels and if you are lucky, some of the volunteers working on the panels.
Holding a Grain of Sand – Carrying the Moon – Splitting Earth
Robert Hooke, a contemporary of Isaac Newtown is considered to be the forerunner of Microscopic research. His book Micrographia – of small bodies  was shocking in its day, showing a wide public images of things not visible to the naked eye, most famously his large scale drawing of a flea.
Observing the world through microscopes has fundamentally revolutionised our perception. With this in mind we developed a project in collaboration with Professor Daniela Schmidt, a leading scientist in climate research at Bristol University.
A paleobiologist, her research of Foreminifara fossils going back many millions of years, allows her to build a timeline of historic climate change, the temperatures of oceans, the chemical makeup of oceans and the CO2 in the atmosphere historically. This information is key to understanding how our climate might change in the future and the implications of that.
The Foram fossils are often smaller then a 10th of a millimetre. I wanted to film one rotating to project at a large scale – a proposition that required significant effort!
The library contains several Star Atlases and astronomy books. In particular we found two of great interest. Sphera Mundi, Johannes de Sacro Bosco, printed in 1478 and Harmonia Macrocosmica, printed in 1661.
Finding these two books inspired us to make contact with a group of local amateur astronomers, the North Norfolk Astronomy Society to understand the continued fascination with our galaxy, in particular, the moon.
We worked with two key members, David Jackson and Andrew Glossop, [who filmed to moon for us] to create an installation, a counterpoint to the Grain of sand.
Other partners with this work includes Reepham High School who have their own observatory. There will be three pop-up astronomy evenings in September/October with Reepham High School and North Norfolk Astronomy Society. See;
Arts Council, Lottery Funding, The National Trust, Trust New Art, Bristol University, University of East Anglia, Norfolk and Norwich Festival, BookHive, Wampanoag Language Reclamation Project, Reepham High School, North Norfolk Astronomy Society
We would also like to express our particular thanks to all the staff and volunteers at Blickling House who have been a pleasure to work with over the last 18 months. Also to Nichola Johnson who has encouraged and supported us throughout.
A Project by Lead Artist Neville Gabie, working with Roman Archaeologist Jason Wood and Robert Nichols, Professor Chris Gaffney from Bradford University, with artists Alan Ward, Louise O’Reilly, Oliver Palmer and Giorgio Garippa, local historian David Pendleton and the numerous Bradford Park Avenue fans and club. Funded by Arts Council England and the National Football Museum, Manchester. Completed Autumn 2016. An exhibition of the work will take place at the National Football Museum in spring 2017
Breaking Ground is the culmination of a two year project initiated as the reusult of a trip to visit the long abandoned former football ground of Bradford Park Avenue, by Neville Gabie and Jason Wood in 2013. A ground that once boasted a capacity of 35,000 people, with a double sided Archibald Leich Stand, had been demolished leaving a terrace overrun by nature. In amongst the 30 year old trees, the concrete terraces are still intact, hidden under a shroud of leaves. Bradford Park Avenue was once a top-flight club, the first major club to go bankrupt leaves fans without a club to support. Finding this lost gem with such a wealth of history, inspired us to develop a project with archaeologists, artists, fans and historians working together bringing life to this lost moment in time. Art- Archaeology – Mythology
It began with a world first – an archaeological excavation of a goalpost hole in 2013 and lead to a complete geophysical survey of the former pitch, to commissioning sound artists responding to the data, a botanical artist to record and document all the trees and plants that have since ‘self-seeded, to recreating historical moments of play from old photographs, and to casting the goalpost holes. We uncovered a light-bulb and a Victoria Cross in the National Football Museums Archive and numerous extraordinary stories from fans – including the now infamous story of goalkeeper Chick Farr and a nappy pin.
The first recorded archaeological excavation of a goalpost hole. Bradford Park Avenue 2013
A full colour 152 page hard-back publication, which includes a DVD of the archaeology, the fans and the art is now available to purchase online. It’s available via paypal or card online at:
SHORTLISTED – Breaking Ground was shortlisted for the prestigious William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2017. Just seven sports books from several hundred put forward were shortlisted for the awards at the BAFTA building, Piccadilly, London. Whilst we did not win the award, for a crowd-funded arts publication to make such a shortlist, was unique in itself.
The project an publication was reviewed and featured in numerous national and local newspapers as well as on radio 4, Yorkshire Television etc.
Commissioned by Metal, Liverpool, artists Marcus Coates, Cristina Lina and Neville Gabie worked as a collaborative team responding to an open area of ground on Wellington Road, Liverpool. The research project sought to understand how best to utilize green spaces, the result of housing clearances in the city centre, by involving local community groups. How might they adopt, use, or be used to build local identity in places which often have diverse and transitory communities?
What was clear from early on was how public space in the area was defined in very negative terms by the use of street signage and excessive security precautions. The green had no name and little public use except for dog-walking. In order to at least give the green an identity we sought to engage the community in coming up with a name for the green with an understanding that it would be officially adopted by the City Council. As much as anything these public workshops were intended as an opportunity to begin a dialogue with local people.
These workshops took place in May and July 2016. It is hoped that this tiny beginning will lead to a more sustained with this particular community. Please see the link to Metalculture for more information.
The weight of iron carried from China for you – commissioned by BeHave, curators Stephanie Delcroix and Michael Pinsky on behalf of Fonds Belval, Luxembourg 2015 / 2016.Neville Gabie was commissioned with nine other international artists to make a new work in response to the former iron and steel production site in Belval, Southern Luxembourg. Developed out of a four month residency, the intention was to make a new work which responded to the site as it is being transformed from it’s industrial past to the location for a Luxembourg’s University.
An audio installation for the site of a former Blast furnace; ‘During my residency I kept on being drawn back to the derelict concrete foundations of what I knew was once the base of an iron furnace. It was inaccessible, but if you climbed your way in the circular space of the furnace and the view of the sky where it would have stood, gave one a very powerful sense of the past. But beyond that there was little information to be found. In my research I discovered that this particular furnace was sold to China and immediately thoughts came crashing into my mind. Who took it to China? Whereabouts in China is it? Is it still in use and if so who are the people that run it? So began a chain of events and a good deal of inquiry that lead to the final artwork. A sound installation within the former Blast Furnace Foundations using audio recordings of the same furnace in operation at its new home in China.’
The Audio Installation. Using audio recordings taken of the functioning furnace in China as well as audio recordings of the surrounding residential community; parks, schools, markets, streets, Neville Gabie has created an audio landscape installed in the ruins of Blast Furnace C in Belval and it’s locale.
See PDF for installation layout.Furnace C – FINAL Install Plan
In 1996 Blast Furnace C, the most modern of the three operating Blast Furnaces in Belval, and one of the most modern anywhere in Europe, was sold to a Chinese Iron Company, KISCO -Kunming Iron and Steel Company. 300 Chinese workers spent more then six months from the summer of 1996 in Belval, where over that time they gradually dismantled the entire furnace before shipping it back to China.
Although very little information exists Neville Gabie managed to trace a little of the history with the help of Mr Fernand Tapella and Mr Roby Gales, former management in Belval at the time of the sale. With the support of Fonds-Belval and Paul Wurth he was also able to make contact with KISCO in China. Neville Gabie and Stuart Hewetson Ward [his film assistant and audio editor] were invited to China to document Blast Furnace C, which is still in production, as well as the whole town that has sprung up around the industrial site.
The Collective Breath project is part of Experiments in Black and White a new work commissioned from the artist Neville Gabie for the 2014 WOMAD Festival in Charlton Park, Wiltshire. This work is an exploration of four materials – ice, chalk, oil and air – fundamental aspects of the natural world that are variously contested and debated as we look to the future of the planet. During the festival the project comprised a daily performance-drawing with a huge chalk boulder; outdoor screenings of five films featuring the artist working with each of ice, chalk and oil, in arduous, physical performances; and the Collective Breath tent where breath from festival-goers was collected and speakers from a variety of disciplines gave talks on the subject of breath and air as they relate to science, art, the voice, musical performance, life cycles and eastern meditation. Breath is a fundamental part of musical expression and connects here to the main focus of the WOMAD festival on the music stages.
Inspired by his recent residency at the Cabot Institute University of Bristol, Neville devised a system for collecting breath from over one thousand visitors during the 4-day festival. The breath from each bespoke bag has now been transferred into a pressurized container. Contributors to the project have made suggestions for the site to release the breath and record the sound as it plays through the specially made instrument. Postcards with a photographic record of the event and a link to the film of the Collected Breath release will be posted to all contributors.
Collecting Breath at WOMAD 2014
‘every one of the 1111 people was invited to fill an individual bag of breath, which was later transferred into a single pressurized tank.’
‘Each contributor was invited to suggest where Collective Breath ought to be released. Mace Head, Ireland was one on of those suggestions.’
Mace Head Research Station
Located on the west coast of Ireland, the Mace Head Atmospheric Research Station has been a site for aerosol measurements since 1958. The location is unique in Europe, offering westerly exposure to the North Atlantic Ocean and the opportunity to study atmospheric composition under Northern Hemispheric background conditions as well as European continental emissions when the winds favour transport from that region.
Research themes at the Institute include Air Quality, Atmospheric Composition, Climate Change, Atmosphere-Ocean Exchange and Climate-Ecosystem Interactions. The Institute is the responsibility of the School of Physics and the Ryan Institute at the National University of Ireland, Galway. It is managed on a daily basis by researcher Gerry Spain.
September 2014 marked the 25th UN International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer commemorating the date of the signing of the Montreal Protocol which brought about a global initiative to ban Ozone Depleting Substances. The Mace Head Research Station has played a significant role in assessing the planet’s success in saving the ozone layer. The data collected at Mace Head is unique in Europe as it represents observations in the continent’s cleanest air and demonstrates a gradually recovering ozone layer over the last ten years.
Arrival in Connemara – On 29 October 2014, artist Neville Gabie, cameraman Stuart Ward, producer Tammy Bedford and curator Jeni Walwin arrive in Carna, County Galway to film and record the release of the breath of 1,111 people. The pressurized container into which all the breath has been transferred and the huge, sculpted, wood instrument have been carefully transported from the artist’s studio in Gloucestershire to this remote location on the western edge of Europe. The site was nominated by Anita, one of the WOMAD visitors who gave their breath at the Collective Breath Tent during the 2014 Charlton Park Festival. The Mace Head Research Station is an appropriate place for the completion of this project in that it is described as the site where the cleanest air in Europe can be breathed.
30 October 2014 : Filming the Sound – A heron greets us on a bend in the grass-covered track that leads to Mace Head. Low level dwellings are scattered along the coastline to the north. Some are brightly painted, perhaps holiday cottages, others look more sombre, in touch with the landscape, reflecting the gentle patterns of the boulders around them. Occasional glimpses of the peaks beyond. We are slipping down a steep, rough slope, as if into the ocean below, and there perched precariously on slim rocks at the edge of the world is the Mace Head facility. One older granite building at the cattle grid entrance and two tiny substations mark the edge of the land. Inside are dials, canisters, computers, files, leads, screens, temperature control, music, Gerry Spain (responsible for the day to day running of the Station) and, very occasionally, visiting researchers. Two huge mast heads securely held by metal guy ropes support an array of cups, aerials, satellite discs and saucers relaying information to the substations at the foot of the masts. The data is shared with collaborating institutions around the globe, including among them the University of Bristol’s atmospheric chemists who are monitoring air quality and pollutants and with whom Neville had undertaken a recent residency.
Clouds are lifting and dipping over the hills to the west. A necklace of grey mist lingers around the mountain across the water ahead of us. As we prepare the site the rain is gusting and swirling around us. The three microphones are fixed to tripods and held steady by rocks collected nearby. The camera takes up its position. The lenses are wiped dry with a scarf. The hugely heavy pressurized container stands proud on its rock-weighted plinth. There is a moment of stillness. The beautifully carved instrument looks quite at home in this landscape – the bright russet hues of its tall neck echoed in the autumnal colours of the abundant bracken. With its wide funnel pointing out to sea it seems to nestle happily amid the boulders whose granite surface is softened by the covering of heather, lichen, gorse and sea grasses. We are all here. We are ready. We face west from the most westerly tip of this Connemara peninsular. I have been given my first job as a minor sound technician. I am in charge of sound battery levels. I avoid the prickly gorse and settle into position with a clear view of the dials protected from the elements inside a sawn-off plastic water container. Gerry, the Mace Head researcher and keeper of the site, stands with us for the release.
Dressed in a smart black evening suit the artist climbs up to undo the valve that finally unleashes the air into the instrument. A deep low sound emerges. The artist stands to attention, the conductor of a found symphony. For fifty minutes the camera rolls, collecting the occasional bright song of a bird, the rustle of the wind, and the swish of the sea against the backdrop of over one thousand breaths now given strong, clear, sonic dimension. Starlings circle and dance as we finish. A peewit sings. The rain abates briefly. Still photographs are captured. It’s time to dismantle the instrument. Prickly gorse spikes the cameraman. Is this the ground’s resistance to human intervention in this remote spot? Jeni Walwin October 2014
WOMAD 2014 WORKS ONSITE DURING THE FOUR DAY FESTIVAL
During the festival Neville Gabie screened several films and did a daily performance work using a boulder of chalk. The films included work from Antarctica, South Africa and his studio. Two films using crude oil and chalk were triggered by a swing that operated between the two screens, whilst three other longer works were shown all day in the arboretum. The daily performance work involved creating a linear drawing on the spine road through the arboretum by continuously dragging a large boulder of chalk with the help of festival goers.
A PROGRAMME OF TALKS
In addition to these works, each day there were a series of talks by scientists, musicians and artists exploring the subject of air, breath and breathing.
Tuning the Atmosphere
Introduced by Jeni Walwin with Neville Gabie. Speakers; Matt Rigby – Researcher in Greenhouse gases – Bristol University – Guy Blanch – Research engineer in bio-gas Ellen O’Gorman – Classicist and musician
Introduced by Philippa Bayley – Cabot Insitute, Bristol University, with Neville Gabie. Speakers; Linus Bewley – saxophonist with Yaba Funk Helen McDonald vocalist with Yaba Funk and Rory, a beat-boxer
AFLOAT is a recently completed film, recorded over 18 months in the remote West Highland community of Coigach. The 27 minute film follows the construction of a St Ayles Skiff and a season of rowing under the banner of Scottish Coastal Rowing. Commissioned by IOTA, the film would not have been possible without the enthusiastic support of the Coigach Community Rowers and the wider community of Achiltibuie.
‘Whilst the boat is central, filming its construction was perhaps an indulgence for thinking about something much more personal. I am fascinated by this tiny community, not all indigenous, or even Scottish, living on the margins between land and sea. I saw a bond there that I envied and was terrified of in equal measure. I encountered my own ghosts and rootlessness starkly reflected in this odd mix of people drawn together in the embrace of a very unique landscape’
‘The impacts of AFLOAT can be talked about in different ways; in language of funders as well as in other ways. The genuine affection for Neville that is clear in Coigach is tribute to Neville’s sincerity and integrity as an artist. He has not only produced a fine new piece of work that should especially be seen by every community in transition in the world, but has changed perceptions about contemporary art and artists. One of the lasting impacts is that an entire township has opened up to the difference that contemporary artists and art can make.’
Susan Christie – Independent Curator Producer
When work first began, artist Neville Gabie, Achiltibuie’s first artist in residence, was on hand to record developments. His film, Afloat, however, is no ordinary documentary but a poetic, emotional and visceral reflection on how shared enterprise can construct something stronger than a wooden vessel however robust. Gabie’s film asks what is community? How do we build it and how can it be sustained? From the opening moments of the film when the artist arrives in Coigach by darkness, it also explores what it means to be a newcomer in a rural community. Gabie has been welcomed into the Coigach community but he has an outsider’s insight and apprehension as well as empathy. Moira Jeffrey – Critic and Writer
Screenings with Neville Gabie and Moira Jeffery in conversation have included;
Achiltibuie Summer isles Festival, Scotland
Findhorn Bay Arts Festival, Scotland
Anstruther Fisheries Museum, Scotland
Floating Cinema, London
Kinsale Arts Festival, Ireland
With further dates planned for 2015
Filming – Emma Dove / Neville Gabie Underwater – Dan Walton / Andy Holbrow Go-Pro – Anne McGee Sound and audio editing – Becky Thomson Editing -Stuart Ward
With thanks to Hunter & The Bear
IOTA – Creative Scotland
A DVD of the film has been published and is available for purchase
As part of the commission Neville Gabie and Jennie Syson developed and curated a programme activities to co-inside with the launch of the new square. It included new commissioned work by artists Matt Trivett and Rebecca Beinart, photographer Oliver Dalby, and poet Wayne Burrows. A symposium was held at Nottingham Contemporary with Keynote Speaker Carolyn Steel author of the book, Hungry City. Other speakers included Nina Pope talking about the establishment of Abbey Gardens in East London, artist John Newling and Clare Patey responsible for Feast on the Bridge, London. The launch included a special Market Day and a feast at the nearby Stonebridge City Farm.
Archiving Oil is a collaborative project which was borne out of Neville Gabie’s residency with the Cabot Institute at Bristol University. Developed by Neville Gabie and Social Geographer Merle Patchett, the ongoing project seeks to create an archive of our relationship with and dependence on an oil based economy. In the first instance people within the University and the wider community were invited to contribute an object, text, sound, image of their own personal experience of living within an oil economy. These contributions were exhibited alongside four films by Neville Gabie in the basement stores and rock archive of the Earth Sciences department. A small publication with texts by several academics and an introduction by Neville Gabie and Merle Patchett and a contribution by Claudia Hildebrandt, archivist, was printed to accompany the three night event.
Experiments in Black and White 9 – Cabot Institute Bristol University 2012/13
Neville Gabie was invited to spend one year as their artist in residence at the Cabot Institute, Bristol University, funded by The Leverhulme Trust. The Cabot institute brings scientists, academics and others concerned with all aspects of climate change together within a research environment. With the broad range of research undertaken from the physical to the social and political potential impact of climate change, it was an opportunity to experiment with my own practice within a highly stimulating environment. In its first iteration Experiments in Black and White focused performance based works using there specific material – crude oil, ice and chalk; all materials which directly related to ongoing climate research.
Since then Experiments in Black and White has evolved into an ongoing series of performance based works made in the studio and in specific locations and which consider much wider themes closely related to Neville Gabie’s wider practice. The title is based on our need for certainty in a world which is anything but clear-cut. It that sense it still refers back to the work at Bristol University where the work of scientific climate research is the process of mitigating risk and seeking solutions.
Experiments in Black and White XXX 2020
The work developed from a research project with UCL [University College London – Trellis Art/Science commission] into the impact of Motor Neurone Disease. As part of the research, Professor Al-Chalabi, Kings College Hospital, introduced Neville to Mrs Begum, a woman in the last stages of NMD. This work is based on conversations with her into the debilitating effects of MND. Much of that research remained unresolved until it found a fusion with Neville Gabie’s own concerns in performance, drawing and endurance. With shoes nailed to the floor, the work explores the limits of reach, and movement. Confined to the studio, in a strange irony, this work only found its final form during the last few weeks of the ‘lockdown’, a time when all our social interactions and movements have been drastically limited as a result of Covid19.
Experiments in Black and White IXXX – filmed in Richmond, South Africa – Modern Art Projects 2019
Experiments in Black and White VII Work developed using large natural borders of chalk. This body of work [which has since been reproduced as ‘live’ performance works at the Pier Arts Centre, Orkney, The Museum of Art, Craiova, Romania, Danielle Arnaud Gallery, London, M2 Gallery, Peckham Arts Festival] was first developed whilst working on a Leverhulme funded research project with the Cabot Institute, Bristol University – working with climate change research.
Experiments in Black and White XIII Filmed in Richmond, Northern Cape Province, South Africa. The work was made during a residency with Modern Art Projects, South Africa. It involved an eight hour performance, standing on a block of ice whilst it gradually melted.
Experiments in Black and White XXV DUST – Five short films using the material Bideford Black, a natural coal based material dug from the cliff face on the Devon Coast. The films were a collaboration by Neville and Joan Gabie, commissioned for the Burton Art Gallery, Bideford 2018
Experiments in Black and White XVI – A Film for Jappie. Filmed in Richmond South Africa – Modern Art Projects. The film is made in tribute to Jappie, resident in Richmond, Northern Cape, South Africa. This trailer is from a longer video installation first exhibited on three free-standing life-size screens at the Danielle Arnaud Gallery London
Experiments in Black and White IV Filmed in Aalborg, Denmark by the side of a motorway. 2011
Coast – Commissioned by Firstsite Gallery, Commissions East, Essex County Council 2002/03
In 2003 Neville Gabie Was commissioned to develop work in response to Foulness Island and the other Five islands which make up the mouth on the Thames Estuary on the Essex Coastline. Neville Gabie as well as John Kippin, Elizabeth Wright, Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich were all part of a larger project of commissions responding to the length of the Essex Coastline.
The Site Neville was allocated was is an MOD munitions testing site and a former Nuclear Facility, but with a resident farming community of a couple of hundred people. Over an 18 month period he developed a series of works which involved;
Flag of Convenience Over A.W.E.- Flying three kites, a red, yellow, and blue kite, on and around the perimeter of the MOD site. Each kite was fitted with a camera, filming both this inaccessible landscape and each other.
Heroes Of The Sea – A journey on board a Russian cargo ship importing timber from Estonia to a wharf on the river Crouch just a few hundred yards from the last resting place of The Beagle – the Ship that Charles Darwin traveled on.
The State Of The Tides – A collaborative project with the Kenyan Writer Yvonne Owour following the route described in Joseph Conrad’s novel The Heart of Darkness, up the Thames Estuary. Yvonne wrote a short story in response to Conrad’s Novel.
I Spy At The Seaside – A public walk along the ‘Broomway’ in the Thames Estuary and then accross Foulness Island, marking and reopening Public Footpath’s across the MOD site.
Tatton Park Biennial 2010 – Curated Danielle Arnaud, Jordan Kaplan
The project involved collecting and relocating a two ton iceberg from Greenland to Tatton Park. Installed in the gardens the iceberg was kept frozen over six months of summer using solar power in a collaboration with Dr Patrick James, Southampton University. In addition to the physical work, ten three minute blogs are posted on the Tatton Park Biennial website as a means of making the journey and process visible.
The iceberg was collected from the Bredefjord Narsaq, Greenland, transported by ship via Demark to Grimsby, then by truck to Manchester.
The whole concept was inspired by my trip to Antarctica as artist in residence with the British Antarctic Survey [Halley 2008/09] and my shock on returning at the verdant landscape of an English spring.
The energy of the sun harnessed to keep a piece of the Arctic frozen
The juxtaposition of an iceberg set amongst the lush vegetation of an English summer landscape.
The relationship of the ice and technology needed to support it made visible and intended to provoke debate of our relationship to the natural environment
The journey [blogs] intended to make visible our relationship to a wider community.
The project was only made possible through the collaboration of Dr Patrick James,Energy and Climate Change, School of Civil Engineering and the Environment at Southampton University.
Tina Jensen, Greenland Government and the people of Narsaq
Thanks also to; Royal Arctic Shipping, Dave and the team from Catercool, Pilkington Glass, Romag, Danfoss, for equipment and support and to all the staff at Tatton Park.
Materials; Two tons glacier ice contained within a 2 metre x 2.4 metre glass structure, two exterior faces covered by timber.
Twelve photovoltaic panels to support a propane condenser and fan and harnessing the pond as a heat sink.
Orchard – Commissioned by the Contemporary Art Society, curated by Jennie Syson and working in partnership with Patel-Taylor Architects and Nottingham City Council- 2009/2011
Neville Gabie was commissioned to work with architects Patel-Taylor on the redesign of Sneinton Market, an historic fruit and veg market close to the city centre. Although much of the redesign, including text based works, seating and stone finishes was ultimately cut for cost reasons a significant part of the thinking involved the replanting of the square with apple trees.
In addition to changes in the physical landscape, Neville Gabie developed a wider community project – The Apple Adoption Network. Working with Brogdale Nursery, Kent, 100 apple trees of different varieties were put up for addoption by anyone living within a close proximity to Sneinton Market Square. Trees could be adopted to plant in your own garden, allotment, or on public land as long as you agreed to nurture and maintain it. Projections of fruit trees were also on display during the launch of the new square marking it’s historic significance as the centre of distribution of the Bramley apple.
Neville Gabie also worked with curator Jennie Syson to develop a programme of works by two other artists, a photographer and a writer which was exhibited as part of Orchard. Please see the Orchard Launch and Symposium page.
With a text by Harry Pearson the publication, designed to look like a football programme, documents all the artworks onsite. So many of the residents were keen to be involved, way beyond the project budget, that the publication became a vehicle to extend the scope of the project photographically. It was also something everyone could have and keep.
The work features in the publication Engineering Alfie by Simon Inglis published English Heritage ISBN 1-85074-918-3
The International Journal of the History of Sport published Routledge ISBN 0952-3367. The Football Ground and Visual Culture; Recapturing Place, Memory and Meaning at Ayresome Park by Jason Wood evaluates the commission by Neville Gabie ten years after installation.
Ayresome Patk – former site of Middlesbrough Football Club. Commissioned by Judith Winter / Cleveland arts on behalf of Wimpey Homes.2000/01
To mark the historic former home of Middlesbrough Football Club, Neville Gabie proposed a series of small interventions across the whole site. By overlaying historic maps of the football ground on the site plan by Wimpey Homes, Gabie was able to accurately identify the location of the centre spot, penalty spots, touchlines, stands, entrance gates etc. Each of these was marked using text and bronze casts which referred to the site’s historic use as well as the current context, a housing estate. A pair of bronze football boots for example is permanently installed adjacent to a front door, as if just taken off. They also mark the exact location of the centre circle. The intention is to leave a trail, which the interested can follow, but in such a subtle fashion that for those less interested, the work is hardly noticeable. To achieve this, particularly given that most the artworks are installed on private property, required considerable involvement and co-operation with the resident community, developed over nearly two years of consultation.The publication that accompanies the project includes archive photographs and a text by Harry Pearson.
The last twenty years have seen a concentrated and comprehensive period of demolition, redevelopment and relocation of British football grounds.Many have disappeared without trace below housing estates, retail parks and supermarkets while others still lie vacant, partially demolished and overgrown.Commemorative creations to former football stars and past events are on the increase, but are we equally alive to the potential of marking and celebrating the significance of former football grounds? One of the most fascinating commemorative public art projects is The Trophy Room on the redeveloped site of Ayresome Park, the historic home of Middlesbrough Football Club.’ Jason Wood – The International Journal of the History of Sport
After completing his residency on the Olympic Park and increasingly aware of many peoples concerns with regard to the forthcoming Olympic Games, Neville Gabie Launched his project The Greatest Distance.Using an internet blog and the national press, Neville Gabie invited anyone to submit a proposal suggesting the greatest possible distance away from the Olympic Park Neville Gabie could be for the Opening Ceremony on July 27th 2012. Every submitted proposal was then scrutinized by a selection panel of six people, Danielle Arnaud, Sam Wilkinson, Sarah Butler, David Lillington, Bill Drummond, Jason Wood. Their task was to select one proposal for Neville Gabie to fulfill.
The selected proposal was one submitted by Martin Lewis
The greatest possible distance from the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 London Olympic Games is Batignolles, in the 17th arrondissement of Paris.
Paris was one of the five cities shortlisted to hold the games and was widely seen as the favourite to win the bid. On 6 July 2005 it lost the final round of voting to London (50-54). The tiny distance of four votes leads to the huge distance of alternative possibilities.
Had the Paris bid been successful, the athletes’ village would have been built in Batignolles on wasteland belonging to SNCF, the French national railway. This land is currently being regenerated with housing, retail and offices around a centre park, the Martin Luther King garden.
Batignolles and Stratford are therefore seperated by the infinite distance of the counter-factual yet one has continued to echo the other. This raises interesting questions about how much of a catalyst for regeneration the Olympics really are.
You should start as close to the Olympic Village in Stratford as possible and walk to St Pancras following the line of the railway as much as possible. You should then take the Eurostar (which will stop at Stratford International) to Paris and walk to Parc Martin-Luther-King in Batignolles to coincide with the start of the Opening Ceremony.
It would be intriguing to compare the permeability of public space around both parks and whether, by being disconnected from the Olympics, Batignolles as managed to reconnect with its people.
Olympic Park Artist in Residence – selection of works
Over a sixteen month period Neville Gabie developed a series of work. These included;
Every Seat in the Stadium – a six monitor video installation which documents Neville Gabie’s attempt to sit on every seat in the Olympic Park Stadium Freeze Frame – the recreation of Seurats Bathers at Asnieres on the Olympic Park using site staff. The work was made public and distributed using the Metro Newspaper9.58 – a video work, duration 9.58 seconds which shows 239 portraits of stadium construction workers Twelve Seventy – a film documenting bus driver, Semra Yusuf swimming 1270 metres in the Olympic pool. Unearthed – an exhibition of artworks from former Carpenters Road Studios artists. The studios occupied the site which is now the Aquatics Centre on the Olympic Park. A Volume of Water Drunk in the Olympic Pool for You – 43.6 Minute Mile – Jump –
The Great Lengths 2012 publication brings together all the work of artist Neville Gabie made during his sixteen month residency on the Olympic Park, London during the construction of the park – September 2010 – December 2011.
Commissioned by the Olympic Delivery Authority Arts and Culture Team, the ambition of the residency was to give visibility to what was happening onsite during the construction phase. Neville Gabie was commissioned with a completely open brief and invited to respond to what he encountered. The publication aims to give an insight to the working processes of a resident artist.
Olympic Park Artist in Residence – September 2012 – December 2012
Commissioned by the Olympic Park Delivery Authority Arts and Culture Team and project managed by Sam Wilkinson of Insite Arts. Neville Gabie was given full access to the Park during construction. Without any preconceived ideas he was invited to respond to what he saw and experienced. A publication of the residency was published by Cornerhouse in November 2012.
Since completing the residency Neville Gabie has continued to develop some of the resulting works. In particular, this includes a new film with Semra Yusuf, bus driver on the Olympic Park during construction as well as an exceptional swimmer. The new film follows Semra’s personal story of arriving in England as a young woman and the challenges that she faced.
Emailing Antarctica – a collaborative project by Joan and Neville Gabie
Initiated by Joan Gabie, she asked Neville to email her a line of text each day describing his experience whilst traveling to and being in Antarctica. In response Joan Gabie made a daily drawing, derived either from the content of the email or from her own experience of being left at home. The resulting body of work is a series of 96 emails and 96 drawings.
In 2011 Joan and Neville Gabie were invited to develop a commission by Cheltenham Museum & Art Gallery, funded by New Expressions 2, in response to their very substantial Edward Wilson Antarctic archive. Edward Wilson, born in Cheltenham and was the doctor, scientist and artist that accompanied Scott to Antarctica on two occasions. What fascinated us was the letters exchanged between Edward Wilson and his wife Oriana, letters which took months to be delivered. In particular one letter and telegram caught our attention. In March 1912 Ory sent a telegram back to England whilst waiting for Edward Wilson to return to New Zealand. The telegram reported back that Edward was fine, based on news she had received from Antarctica. In fact Edward Wilson was already dead. Although it is now possible to email in seconds, physical distance and the distance of experience was something this body of work considers. This communication between a married couple helped frame Emailing Antarctica and the final body of work includes a copy of Ory’s telegram as well as the last letter penned by Edward Wilson.
96 loose leaf drawings produced as digital prints, a book containing all the emails in full including the Edward Wilson Letter and Ory’s telegram, an Introduction by Helen Brown, Collections Manager and Curator of Fine Art, Cheltenham Museum & Art Gallery. The body of work sits in a purpose made box, dimensions 44cm x 32cm x 8cm
Published 2012 Design Alan Ward Axis Graphic Design, Editor Helen Tookey
Between 1999 to 2004 Neville Gabie had a flat as a studio, first in Kenley Close prior to demolition, then Linosa Close. Over that period as well as co-curating and managing the Up in the Air project, he made several photographic and sculptural works and one film based installation. This is a small selection of that body of work.
The first project publication published in 2001 and featuring the work of artists; Leo Fitzmaurice, Neville Gabie, Grennan & Sperandio, Dirk Konigsfeld, Kelly Large & Becky Shaw, Philip Reilly, George Shaw, Chloe Steele. The publication has in introduction text by Neville Gabie and a text ‘On Being A Tourist’ by Russell Roberts, Curator of Photography, National Museum of Photography in 2001
Funded by ACE Year of the Artist and Liverpool Housing Action Trust
FURTHER Up in the Air
The second project publication featuring the work of artists and writers in descending order from the twenty second floor to the ground: Will Self, Tom Woolford, Vittorio Bergamaschi, Jordan Baseman, Julian Stallabrass, Anna Fox, Marcus Coates, Stefan Gec, Bill Drummond, Lothar Gotz, Gary Perkins, Greg Streak, David Mabb, Leo Fitzmaurice, Catherine Bertola, Neville Gabie, Paul Rooney, Elizabeth Wright. Texts include a short story by Will Self and an autobiographical story by Bill Drummond. a conversation with some residents and an afterword by Paula Ridley, Chair of Liverpool Housing Action Trust and by Leo Fitzmaurice and Neville Gabie, project co-0rdinators
Published by Further a Field in 2003, ISBN 0-9545778-0-9 Distributed by Cornerhouse Publications and designed by Alan Ward, Axis Graphic Design
Funded ACE, Lottery, Capital of Culture, Liverpool Housing Action Trust
With the last tower block on the estate demolished a final project was launched. All the artists and writers who had been involved were invited to submit a project proposal to be developed on the new ‘low – rise’ housing development that had replaced the blocks. Futhermore… is a book of unrealized project proposals from artists;Jordan Baseman, Vittorio Bergamaschi, Marcus Coates, Bill Drummond, Leo Fitzmaurice, Anna Fox, Neville Gabie, Stefan Gec, Lothar Gotz, Grennan & Sperandio, Dirk Konigsfeld, David Mabb, Gary Perkins, Philip Reilly, Paul Rooney, Becky Shaw, Julian Stallabrass, Chloe Steele, Greg Streak, Elizabeth Wright, Tom Woolford.
Published by Further a Field in 2004, ISBN 0-9545778-1-7 distributed by Cornerhouse Publications, designed by Alan Ward Axis Graphic Design
Funded ACE, Lottery, Capital of Culture, Liverpool Housing Action Trust
Over the 6 years Neville Gabie ran [with Leo Fitzmaurice] and worked in the flats at Sheil Park, he made several works. Flat was made in the former home of Mrs Hall, resident on the 7th Floor for the previous 30 years. It involved the complete deconstruction of the 3 bedroomed flat, including doors, floors, bathroom, kitchen, all of which were cut and packed to create a solid block of material.The flat was completely stripped back to its concrete construction state.
For further info on the project as a whole, please see below.
Up in the Air – Sheil Park, Liverpool 1999/2005 Project Background and artists involved
Over a five year period artists, writers and photographers; Grennan & Serandio, Dirk Konigsfeld, Philip Reilly, George Shaw, Chloe Steele, Leo Fitzmaurice, Kelly Large & Becky Shaw, Neville Gabie Lothar Gotz, Gary Perkins, Greg Steak, David Mabb, Catherine Bertola, Paul Rooney, Elizabeth Wright, Will Self, Vittorio Bergamaschi, Jordan Baseman, Julian Stallabrass, Anna Fox, Marcus Coates, Stephan Gec, Bill Drummond – lived in residence and developed work alongside the resident community. Such a project would not have been possible without the support, involvement and goodwill of the residents on the estate.
The project had three distinct phases with a publication produced for each phase;
Up in the Air 1999 /2000– Initiated by Neville Gabie whilst MOMART artist in residence at Tate Liverpool, the original concept of the project was developed, managed and curated by Kelly Large, Becky Shaw, Leo Fitzmaurice and Neville Gabie
Further Up in the Air – 2000/04 developed, managed and curated by Leo Fitzmaurice and Neville Gabie
Furthermore 2004/05 developed managed and curated by Leo Fitzmaurice and Neville Gabie
The project took place on the Sheil Park estate, North Liverpool during the process of demolishing three tower blocks. Up in the Air was based in Kenley Close, Further Up in the Air, in Linosa Close, the last of the three buildings to be demolished. Hosted by Liverpool Housing Action Trust, the project had ACE, Lottery, Capital of Culture and LHAT funding.
Setting the scene for Further Up in The Air. Leo Fitzmaurice Neville Gabie
“In 1998 there were something like 70 tower blocks in the Liverpool area. **Current predictions suggest that within 5 years there will be as few as 15 to 20. This visual transformation of the urban landscape might be possible to imagine, but what are the human implications of so radical a change. The 1960’s saw many of the run down centre’s of population in Liverpool, the old Victorian terraces, demolished, to be replaced by tower blocks and making way for ‘new – town’ developments such as Speke and Kirkby on the outskirts of the city. Tower blocks were seen then to be the solution to overcrowding and poor living conditions. The post war optimism imagined new homes for everyone with all the mod cons. Although the motivation might have been laudable, the implications of devastating established communities was not considered and the consequences are still evident. The new – towns have taken years to establish themselves, to rebuild social structures and the population of the city itself has shrunk by half leaving whole areas derelict and unsustainable.
Forty years on, the same city-wide process of regeneration has begun again, and this time it is the tower blocks that have become a byword for all that is bad. Signs of their poor state of repair are easy to see, but what of the people who live in them? The majority of the residents of Sheil Park are retired, many of them having lived in the buildings since they were first commissioned. What are the implications of such a traumatic move at this stage of life? The whole issue of an aging inner-city population and how best to involve them in a dialogue is not unique to Sheil Park. It is a typical aspect of the more general problems facing some of these inner city areas. Located in North Liverpool, a historically working class community, the blocks have only been half occupied in recent years. With their demolition the same population can now be housed in ground level accommodation on the same site. What remains unanswered is just how to revitalise these area’s long-term future.” Neville Gabie Up In The Air Publication
Work is now well underway to demolish Kenley close leaving Linosa Close to be Liverpool’s highest build, a solitary beacon in this part of the city. What unfolds now, with the imminent demolition of Linosa is the final phase of Sheil Parks high rise history. For many residents it marks the end of more than three decades of high-rise living. Its demolition, in some way, not only represents the erasure of memories but also the physical spaces where people have lived.
“As I roamed from floor to floor I became preoccupied with memory as I moved between unlit corridors and rooms containing suitcases, umbrellas, cutlery and discarded toys and clothes. Memory that was not of the quasi-factual kind as in the elephant account, but memory as triggered by the way that objects were left, often placed as if the integrity of domestic display should remain intact whatever. Flats that had not been ‘interfered’ with were compelling in ways that were different to artist interventions, an acute sense of intrusion was felt as I entered the rooms but it was accompanied by a voyeuristic hunger to see what was left behind. It was like sorting through the personal effects of a dead relative. On the twenty-second floor I encountered a printed mural of grand (kitsch) proportions depicting a woodland scene in the living room. The format was accompanied by a much smaller vista of a tropical beach in the kitchen. The quintessentially pastoral scene contrasted with the exotic, against which everyday objects competed for attention, heightening a sense of geographic and cultural difference.” Russell Roberts Up In The Air Publication
Originally motivated by the sculptural qualities of these goalposts and the spaces where the game is played, the project has developed into an objective archive of diverse cultural landscapes with a common obsession, football. What began as a personal interest whilst working in South Africa in 1996, the project and archive now includes over 1000 photographs from over forty countries and every continent.
Photographing the first of these structures I immediately recognized something of what I was striving to achieve as an artist. Formally they explore sculptural concerns; the need to occupy a physical space, to stand up against the forces of gravity as well as a practical inventiveness with the assembly of all sorts of materials. Pictorially, they are literally a window into vastly different spaces, intimately reflecting their immediate environment by using whatever material is readily available, whether that is stones, wood or paint. Inevitably they are also territorial. Whether in the vast open space of the bush or an urban backstreet, they are about claiming a space. Whilst not created as art, common to all are the endless possibilities for reinvention within the strict rules of two verticals and a horizontal.
The photographs are deliberately simple, each image taken from just behind the penalty spot, with the goalpost centre-frame. Devoid of action, they are intended as quiet reflections of the ephemera left behind once the game has moved on. They are also deliberately photographed to place the viewer at the very centre of where it all happens – inside the penalty box with the whole goalmouth squarely in your sights: an objectivity through which every landscape can be observed equally dispassionately.
Since 1996 the whole concept has grown with the photographs covering every continent. Some of these images were first published by Penguin Books – Posts, in 1999 and republished in Germany in 2006. They have also been exhibited in Japan, Korea, South Africa, Germany, Switzerland, FIFA Headquarters, Portugal, Macedonia, the UK, including Tate Modern and Tate Liverpool. A touring exhibition Playing Away UK was curated by Oriel Mostyn Galley between 2002/07
Curated Florian Waldvogel, Raimar Stange, with artists: Olaf Nicolai, Jonathan Monk, Olaf Metzel, Neville Gabie, Alexandra Bircken, Dan Perjovschi, Elizabeth Peyton, Rirkrit Tiavanija, Uri Tzaig, Silke Wagner
As part of the World Cup Finals in Germany 2006, twelve specially constructed billboards were located at sites selected by Neville Gabie around the historic centre of the city, on which 36 different goalpost images were displayed in rotation over three months. The scale and placement of the goalposts was carefully chosen to create an interesting dialogue or tension the their context.
POSTS – Published by Penguin Books in 1999 was the fist collection of Neville Gabie’s goalpost photographs to be published. The rights were sold the the German Publisher Sannsouci Verlag, who reprinted the book under the title TORE in German and English in 2006 to co-inside with the World Cup Finals
POSTS – Published Penguin books 1999 ISBN 0-140-28119-3
TORE – Published Sannsouci Verlag 2006 ISBN 3-7254-1401-7
Landscapes of Exploration – Curated Liz Wells – Touring Exhibition
Landscapes of Exploration is an exhibition which brings together work by all the artists and writers that have visited Antarctica with the British Antarctic Survey as part of it’s artists and writers programme – sadly no longer running. The exhibition was first shown at the Peninsula Arts Centre at Plymouth University during spring 2012 and id due to go to Cambridge and Bournmouth amongst other venuse in 2013/14.
Publication printed; University of Plymouth Press 2012 ISBN 987-1-84102-301-4
Playing Away UK – Oriel Mostyn Gallery, Wales. 2004/07
Commissioned by Oriel Mostyn Gallery as a touring exhibition with publication and first exhibited at Oriel Mostyn in 2002 before going on tour. The exhibition included forty four photographs with eleven from each of the home nations, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. All the photographs are also included in the publication which also has two commissioned texts by Bill Drummond – ‘Bill Shankley was wrong’ and Ian McMillan ‘So he went searching: a story translated from the old language’.
Playing Away UK – Published Oriel Mostyn Gallery 2004 ISBN 0-906860-55-5 Design Alan Ward www.axisgraphicdesign.co.uk
A limited edition collection which included 11 goalpost photographs from Southern Africa + one goalpost image from France, and twelve printed and hand drawn pages using texts in all 11 officially recognized South African languages. The Edition of fifty in a metal box was exhibited at the Civic Gallery, Johannesburg in 1998 to mark South Africa’s first ever appearance in the FIFA World Cup Finals in France. The work is also in the Tate Gallery Collection and has been exhibited at Tate Modern as part of their Living History Exhibition in 2005/06
Three month residency funded by The Arts Council International Residency Programme, IASKA, and Stour Valley Arts.The art space is set up in a rural farming town, population approx 600 in the Western Australian Wheatbelt and bordering the Western Australian Desert. A disused shop in the main street serves as gallery and residence for visiting artists.
Neville Gabie developed a series of works over a three month period from October 2006 – December 2006. The resulting work culminated in an exhibition in Kellerberrin [2006/07] with a UK exhibition with the Canterbury Museum and Art Gallery and Stour Valley Arts  Aspects of the work were also exhibited at the Jerwood Space as part Of Space to Draw 
Much of the work Neville Gabie did in Western Australia was based on filming the landscape using kites. The three short films use footage of the wheat belt, salt lakes and the gold mine spoils of a gold in Kalgoorlie. They include the voices of an Australian farmer, Tony York, an Aboriginal Elder Kathy Yarran and a geologist Marian Kehoe.
Wide Eyed and Legless Publication
A publication of the residency and work was printed which includes two Essays; Unfamiliar Grounds by Marco Marcon, Director of IASKA, The Dislocation Continues by Sandra Drew, Director of Stour Valleys Arts 2007. The publication also includes a DVD of the video installation works.
The final publication in the set of four charts two specific permanent pieces of work developed by Neville Gabie at Cabot Circus. ‘A Weight of Stone Carried From China For You’ and ‘100% Ford Mondeo’. The two works, a granite curb stone and two concrete columns can be seen in Penn Street, Braodmead and the third floor of the Cabot Circus carpark.
A Weight of Stone Carried From China For You is a journey Neville Gabie made to fetch a Granite curb stone from a quarry in China, bringing it back to Bristol in Truck, Trains, Ferry and car. Once back in Bristol the stone was installed into the street as part of all the repaving for Cabot Circus using Chinese Granite. The intention of the journey was to consider the global trading networks involved in contemporary construction projects and to highlight the carbon footprint of such trading.
100% Ford Mondeo All the steel used to construct the carpark at Cabot Circus is recycled and in an attempt to reveal that legacy, Neville Gabie followed the journey of one specific quantity of steel. Having purchased a car on Ebay, he then recorded it’s journey through the scrapping and smelting process. Once the steel from the car was made into re-bar he followed it’s journey back onsite where it was used to support two concrete columns in the carpark.
The Promised Land The publication also includes a video work The Promised Land filmed during the opening event for the Cabot Circus shopping centre. Opened in September 2008 and the beginning of the financial crisis, the video describes the blind optimism of consumerism.
The publication has two texts; ‘The Secrets of Human Existence’ by Tessa Jackson and ‘Where is the Public in Public Art – The pioneering Work of Neville Gabie’ by Peter Jenkinson
Published Insite Arts 2009 ISBN 978-0-9561407-0-8 Design Alan Ward www.axisgraphicdesign.co.uk Editor Helen Tookey
Over the course of the residency Neville Gabie developed a project inviting anyone working on the development to propose a meal of their choice which reflected their cultural background. Selected meals were then prepared by professional chefs from Bristol and beyond before being brought back onto the building site and served to the ‘guests’ of the person who proposed the meal. Some meals were small, served to a dozen guests, whilst others might involve everyone on a particular site and be for more the 300 people. The intention of the project was to produce a cook book which not only functioned as such, but also to produce a photographic document which recorded the development and the site staff. The publication is an eclectic set of recipes from traditional pie and mash, to curries, Lithuanian and Polish recipes and even a cake from Slovakia.This project would not have been possible without the goodwill and support of many restaurants and chefs from London to Bristol.
Between March and September 2007 Neville Gabie and David Ogden, director of the City of Bristol Choir, collaborated on a project to record songs on the Cabot Circus building site. With over 72 different nationalities working on the construction site, the intention was to record songs in as many different languages as possible. With that as a resource, the choir of 100 then learnt 18 different songs in 18 different languages before. In October 2007 the choir of 100 was invited onto the building site and from the shell of what is now the House of Frazer Store, and using speakers across the whole site, they performed a specially composed Cantata to the staff. The Cantata was then performed in St James Priory, bringing together the oldest and newest buildings in the city.
With additional Arts Council funding and with the support of Bristol Alliance and Insite Arts, Neville Gabie invited and curated an additional seven artists to make temporary work in response to the development site. The artists were; Leo Fitzmaurice, Dryden Goodwin, Dan Perjovschi, Marie-Jeanne Hoffner, Dawson/Maia, David Ogden and the writer Donna Daley-Clarke. There was an exhibition of the resulting work in a vacant shop in Broadmead in 2008 and the publication is also dedicated to their work.
British Antarctic Survey Artists and Writers Programme 2008/09
In 2008/09 Neville Gabie spent four months traveling to and at the Halley Research Station on the Brunt Ice shelf, the most southern British base in Antarctica.the text below is taken from the original proposal to the British Antarctic Survey
‘For almost all of us Antarctica is an almost mythical place we know little about. An extreme, frozen continent that comes to life in our imaginations through the eyes of some of the infrequent explorers. We know it as a terrain that has total disregard for human frailty, where in fact mans very existence can be seen for what it is; an ephemeral moment in the history of time. Shacketon eloquently described it as researching ‘the naked soul of man.’
But despite its harshness it remains venerable itself to human activity. In fact it is often in these desert locations, far from mass human occupation, where the planet’s frailty is most visible. Most of us know something, but not much, of the ongoing research programmes in the Antarctic. Research into the planets existence and evolution as well as the dramatic implications of climate change. In light of that, in fact because of the above, I want to make an application which on first thought might seem superficial in the extreme. However I will endeavour to outline my reasoning, which I do hope you will consider in all seriousness.
Flying Kites in Antarctica; The work I propose to undertake will be framed around the idea of making the journey to Antarctica to fly kites. Perhaps of all recreational pursuits, flying kites is the most playful, even frivolous of activities. We imagine a warm summer’s day, a gentle breeze, and colourful shapes dancing above our heads. So flying kites in Antarctica, even in the summer months, is the antithesis of our expectations. Not only are weather and wind conditions hostile, but the very idea of ‘recreation’ in Antarctica seems contrary to the seriousness of the work undertaken there. But that is the intention. The aim is to use a simple devise, a kite, which most of us are familiar with, as a tool for considering something outside our comprehension.’ Neville Gabie Application Proposal 2008
Emailing Antarctica – a joint project by Neville Gabie and Joan Gabie.
Emailing Antarctica – Pier Arts Centre Stromness, Orkney
Emailing Antarctica is in essence a dialogue between Neville whilst in Antarctica and his wife Joan in the UK. On a daily basis Neville would send Joan an email describing the landscape, people and daily experience on the base. In response to these texts Joan made a daily drawing either in an attempt to visualise the distant continent, or in response to her own experience at home. The idea was in part a response to the British Antarctic Survey asking that any difficult news, be communicated to people on the base via them and the base commander as previous experience had exposed the traumatic effect of people receiving difficult news is such isolated circumstances.
On return to the UK the body of work was transformed into a limited edition artists books of 25 hand made copies, which formed part of an exhibition with the Cheltenham Museum and Art Gallery. The Gallery holds a significant archive of Dr Edward Wilson’s drawings and letters for his fateful journey to Antarctica with Scott. The museum has a copy of Wilson’s final letter as well as a telegram from his wife Ori whilst she waited for his return in New Zealand. Her telegram to the UK was very upbeat about Edwards journey to the South Pole – although unbeknown to her, Edward had already died three months earlier. That slippage of communication compared to our ability to email, framed the basis of the book and exhibition.
The publication and exhibition with Cheltenham Museum and Art Gallery took place in 2012 – with a subsequent exhibition at The Pier Arts Centre, Stromness in 2015
Neville Gabie, onsite studio, Cabot Circus building site
BS1 – Artist in Residence Cabot Circus Bristol 2006/09
In 2006 Neville Gabie was commissioned by Insite Arts on behalf of the Bristol Alliance to be artist in residence on a 37 acre city centre redevelopment in Bristol. With an onsite studio, Neville was give free access to any part of the building site as well as the opportunity to attend board meetings and site meetings.
Over that period Neville Gabie produced four publications covering several specific pieces of work. Two works are a permanent feature of the development. In addition with the support of Insite Arts and Bristol Alliance and with Arts Council funding Neville Gabie invited and seven additional artists to make temporary work in response to the development.
Trailer from a full length film made onsite during the construction of cabot Circus, Bristol
‘On the 16th Floor of an adjacent building, Castlemead House, The Bristol Alliance has their office commanding a panoramic view of the whole site. Housed in these offices are the Architects models, the concept, whilst outside ten cranes move silently over a large vacant space. In the same building taking up the whole of the third floor, Sir Robert McAlpine, contractors for a large part of the site, are based. The offices are filled with Architects, Engineers, site managers, works managers, and teams of people responsible for the procurement and logistics of huge quantities of materials.
Currently the site itself is an assault on all your senses; noisy, dangerous, busy, there is no space to stop or think amongst the heavy machinery. Relative calm exists in the site canteen. And what is immediately obvious here is the huge diversity of nationalities involved in the building industry. It is a global community collected together for a short time and with a specific task. Beyond the blue hoardings of the site is the rest of Broadmead,, St Paul’s and St Jude’s, with the main arterial road into the city , the M32, leading right into the heart of the development.’ Neville Gabie 2007
Limited edition  signed boxed set of all four publications.