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    Broken Watch, 2009

    Temporary Public Artwork
    Independent

    I devised and commissioned a series of temporary public artworks for northcabin between 2007-2008. Based in a small semi-circular operating cabin on Redcliffe Bridge, Bristol the programme was developed to give emerging artists the chance to make new work for an architecturally unusual space.

    northcabin opened up the possibility for other individuals and organisations to use the space for the display of contemporary visual art and is now part of Capacity Bristol: Temporary Use of Empty Buildings Programme. www.aprb.co.uk/opportunities/current/bristol-creative-space

    northcabin was funded by Arts Council South West, Bristol City Council, University of the West of England, Spike Island Associates and Alias. The bursary programme was supported by Interface at AN.

    Broken Watch

    From the 18th Century idea of the individual privileged viewpoint, the lone figure elevated in a state of contemplative reverie, to the hidden, omniscient eye of the Panopticon, Jo Ray’s practice has often explored the act of viewing and its relevance to knowledge, belief and behaviour.

    For northcabin, Jo Ray created Broken Watch, which drew on the cabin’s panoptical architecture as well at its identity as a utilitarian structure, which in its disused state offered an architectural pause, a space in which to wonder.

    Broken Watch consisted of a piece of apparatus which was activated daily by a participant for a fixed duration, acknowledging the economy of time.
    The purpose and nature of their gaze was deliberately undefined.
    The piece highlighted our relationship to surveillance and spectacle through this absurdist construct, which set up an unsteady power relationship, which continually alternated from one side of the glass to the other.

    A performance took place daily at the cabin from 24th May to 14 June, 12pm – 1pm.

    About the site

    northcabin was based in a disused operating cabin on Redcliffe Bridge. The bridge was erected in 1939 and replaced a ferry, which connected Redcliffe with the City Centre of Bristol. The north cabin still contains the disused machinery that used to operate the bridge, which is now electronically controlled from the south cabin. Redcliffe is located in the old harbour district of the city, once a bustling district it now serves as a transitory space between the centre and the suburbs. The space provides an intersection between road, river, and pedestrian routes.

    Broken Watch, 2009, Jo Ray, part of northcabin. Photo: courtesy of the artist.
    Broken Watch, 2009, Jo Ray, part of northcabin. Photo: courtesy of the artist.
    Broken Watch, 2009, Jo Ray, part of northcabin. Photo: courtesy of the artist.
    Broken Watch, 2009, Jo Ray, part of northcabin. Photo: courtesy of the artist.

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