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Port Glasgow

25 August 2006-21 October 2006

Mark Neville is a Glasgow-based artist whose work, primarily with film and photography, has been exhibited recently at Tate Britain, Modern Art Oxford, Tramway, Street Level, and the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow. His Port Glasgow Book Project was a revolutionary public artwork that sought to challenge notions of ownership, appropriation, dissemination, and political and social division. In particular, it looked at how class and social divide is reinforced through images.

The concept was to produce and distribute a hardback book of 'social documentary' images, with high-production values, that subverted conventional ways in which such books are disseminated as 'art', or 'coffee-table', and questioned the way in which social documentary photography sometimes depends on an inherent framework of exploitation.

Installation shot;Photo:Gillian Simison  

In this way, rather than have a public artwork imposed upon them, each household was given a book.

It was not available anywhere else, commercially, or otherwise. Once delivered, they each had singular ownership of the book, and could choose to cherish it as a social document, discard it, or even attempt to sell it on 'ebay'.

Like East Ayrshire, Port Glasgow faces social and economic problems brought on by a decline in local industry; only fifty years ago it was the world centre for shipbuilding, now only one yard remains.  

For the first time outside of Port Glasgow, Mark Neville will be exhibiting a comprehensive selection of photographs taken from this book, together with a wealth of information about the community response to his ground-breaking project.

Installation Shot;Photo:Gillian Simison

The show, running at the Dick Institute from 25 August, will include e-mails, letters, and newspaper articles from the Greenock Telegraph, radio interviews, and a new 16mm film and slide presentation, all of which give voice to the views of residents of Port Glasgow and will be exhibited alongside large hand prints of Neville's photographs.

A free ‘Port Glasgow’ seminar will be held at the Dick Institute on 6 October 2006. Speakers include Mark Neville and David Campany.


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* The Dick Institute
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