Collective has worked with Simon and Tom Bloor to create a viewing structure to look into the City Observatory site while it is in its initial stages of development. Simon and Tom Bloor’s collaborative practice focuses on our often ambivalent relationship to the construction and use of public space.
Designed by William Henry Playfair in 1818, the City Observatory is the birthplace of astronomy and timekeeping in Edinburgh. The A-Listed complex is one of Edinburgh’s most important historic locations, straddling the Old and New Towns, it is a jewel in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Collective plan to redevelop the site and open it to the public for the first time in its history as a new space for contemporary visual art, with exhibition, learning, event and gathering spaces.
This structure offers views onto a collection of iconic buildings, including the Transit House, Observatory House, the City Dome, the Playfair Monument and assorted ruinous telescope domes, with the City Observatory at the centre, a temple to scientific innovation and discovery.
Simon and Tom Bloor’s collaborative practice focuses on our often ambivalent relationship to the construction and use of public space. For this new commission they have taken inspiration from the layers of history embodied in the architecture of the City Observatory site and the nature of the area’s ongoing redevelopment. The focus for the Bloor’s installation is a structure illustrated in Robert Barker’s 1792 Panorama of Edinburgh from Calton Hill. The panorama captures Edinburgh at a pivotal point in its development, spanning from Arthurs Seat, taking in the Old Town, the emerging New Town, the busy port at Leith and finally the City Observatory site where the 1775 Thomas Short Observatory was under construction. Reworking Barker’s image as a sculptural ruin and combining it with a scaffold tower the Bloors playfully address Collective’s plan to redevelop this complex for a new era.
Further details about the redevelopment project and how you can support it and our work can be found on: www.collectivegallery.net
Simon and Tom Bloor were born in Birmingham. Creating publicly sited artworks is central to their practice; making art that moves beyond the gallery to offer social functions out in the wider world, producing their own small world of things within the greater one. They have held solo exhibitions at Site Gallery, Sheffield, Whitechapel Gallery, London, South London Gallery and Modern Art Oxford. Public art projects include: temporary commissions for Southbank Centre, London, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham and the Art on the Underground, London; as well as permanent commissions in Cambridge and London with Futurecity and in Bristol with Arnolfini Gallery/Bristol City Council. They are amongst the founding directors of Eastside Projects, Birmingham.