Balancing a Leaf, 2008

Temporary Public Artwork

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.

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.

Balancing a Leaf

“Redcliffe bridge, a bascule bridge, moves with a counterweight that balances the road, or ‘leaf’ throughout an upward swing, allowing boats to pass underneath. It is this captivating action that the work ‘Balancing a Leaf’ responds to – a work developed specifically for the North Cabin of the bridge.

The physical intervention within the north cabin seems familiar, yet at the same time unknown. It deprives the structures of their original use values, while still referring to them directly. An uncertainty is created that demands a closer re-evaluation of both the work and its situation.” Chloe Brooks, 2008.

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.

Balancing a leaf, 2008, Chloe Brooks, part of northcabin. Photo: courtesy of the artist.
Balancing a leaf, 2008, Chloe Brooks, part of northcabin. Photo: courtesy of the artist.