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Building Sight - The Concept -Sept 1974/Feb 1975

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The Context:  The Blackie started its rebuilding programme in 1974  - as the building was stripped out there appeared the most amazing space which changed on a regular basis as the building work progressed.

Phase 1 of Redevelopment was a self build project involving both professional builders and members of the Blackie staff  - so we spent a considerable amount of time on site as workers.  And we started redevelopment in Going Away Games being our own demolition team. So Building Sight was a natural development of that approach.

The Idea:  was that both the builders, and the artists (ourselves and others), would provide, exciting and interesting theatre or visual imagery within what was an ever changing and hugely impressive environment.  This would be viewed through a window in the dome.

How It Worked:  the builders just had to carry on as usual - creating a steel workers 'ballet' as they installed the the huge steel girders. A mixture of destruction and creation as the ceiling plaster was kicked in revealing the beauty of the ceiling grid.

The artists had to come up with ideas which could be installed  in a comparatively short time (put up on Friday night, viewed on  Saturday and taken down on Sunday evening) and compete with the splendour of the site itself.

These events and installations were called Building Sight.  They ran from Sept 1974 to February 1975. 

Building Sight also provided an opportunity for people to keep in touch with the Redevelopment, have a cup of coffee, watch films and videos of some of our activities, view an Exhibition as well as look at the Events.

The Works :  around 20 events were created, some by Blackie artists and others by visiting artists.  Sadly as one might expect, for something so short lived, not all of them were photographed or recorded in  any way.

The following are all the Events we can recall. In some cases we simply have the name and nothing else, others we have photographic and other records.  All but are linked to pages describing the Event, so If the title is in blue  you can find out more by clicking on it.

We have no information on the Lol Coxhil and Mick Trim event except to say that Lol was a very fine saxophone player and Mick Trim a performance artist.  The event consisted of music set against visual images. 

Living Spaces and Land Scapes - Shirley Cameron & Roland Miller - 28/29  September 1974

Flower Show - 26/27 October

November Dreams - Adrian Henri - 2/3 November 1974

Light Now - Liliane Ljin - 9/10 November 1974

Level - Robin Riley - 16/17 November 1974

Lol Coxhil & Mick Trim - 23/24 November 1974

Animal Magic No 3 - DDart  - 30 Nov/ 1 December  1974

Beaming - 7/8th December 1974

Sailing - Robin and Simon Riley - 14/15 December  1974

Christmas Decoration - 21/22 Dec 1974

Light On Site - 28th/29th December  1974

Balloons  4/5 January 1975

Seaweed - 11/12 January 1975

Balloons 2  - 19th January 1975

Banners -  25/26 January 1975

Ghost Riders - Robin Riley -  1/2  February 1975

Building Sight - Slides-  8/9 February 1975

Rainbow  - 16/17 February 1975

Like Stars In Your Eyes - Clive Dilmot - 22/23 February 1975

The Dome :  Entrance to Building Sight was via the Dome - the viewing window being at the top of the double staircase.  

The viewing window from the Dome sideThe viewing window from the building siteAbove the viewing window from the dome side and the building site side

The dome acted as a reception and meeting area. Visitors, could have tea/coffee, chat to the staff, view event, etc. 

The reception area in the DomeThe recption area in operation

People chatting in the Dome John Ignacio chatting in the Dome


Above the reception area and left people socialising


There was also an Exhibition showing how the redeveloped interior would look.

The ExhibitionAlongside the Exhibition was the opportunity to play a game in which visitors answered questions about the Blackie and redevelopment.  You got to choose from three possible answers.

The questions included.

1)  400 people could be in the old Blackie at the same time, because of fire regulations. how many will the new Blackie hold?  (Ans 2,000)

2) 5600 chessboards cover the floorspace of the old Blackie; how many will cover the floor space of the new Blackie?  (Ans. 24,400)

3) In the old Blackie there were 6 different areas for activities, How many will there be in the new Blackie? (Ans. 10)

4) And a chance to watch videos of previous activities. (Ans. 10)

5) What do you think will happen to the observation window when the work on the building is complete? (Ans become a door).

And so on for 12 questions.  This provided a chance for local young people to understand what redevelopment would provide.

People could also watch videos about the Blackie and of previous activities - see picture below.

The video installed in the dome

Publicity - we created a basic format for a poster which was adapted for the majority of the eventsSample below.

Poster for the steel workers

The Team :  Building Sight  started in September 1974 and went on to February 1975.  Lasting over 7 months Building Sight involved a lot of people, including those who came up with the ideas, those who performed, those who installed the works, those who staffed the Dome and those who did the publicity, etc.  Some people took part in one event some in many.  By and large we have the names of the people who came in and put up the works because at that point in time you had to be signed in to go on to the building site. 

The list below is far from complete so apologies to those we have missed off - if you know you were there but are not included do let us know.

Building Sight was led by Judy Bates (now Gough), Dave calder, Wendy Harpe, Dave Rickus, and Robin Riley,  with assistance from Dave Alton, Irene Amory,  Gerald Areety,  Michael Bennett, Willi Bennett,  Pat Benson, Bill Berrington, Jean Bowden,  Dave Calder, Shirley Cameron,  Fred Cavanagh, Kevin Cheung,  J. Clayton,  Robert Comush, Jon Considine, Della Cooke,  Lol Coxhill,  S.D.Davies,  Les Dean,  P.A. Donnelly, Gerard Eliot, Claire Fazan, Paul Flan,  Terry Fraser,  Brendan Flynn,  S. Gallagher,  Joan Geoffrey,  David Griffiths, John Gowling,  Dennis De Groot, Lesley Gibbons, Keith Haron,  J.J. Harrison,  John Hassan,  Bill Harpe,  Adrian Henri,  Stephen Hind,  John Hopkins, Mark Hughes,  Christopher Jones,  Patrick Kavanagh,  V Keegan,  Paul Kelly,  Carol Kilimnik,  Joanna Kubica,  B. Latham,  Jonathan E. Lathary,  Anne Lundon, Carlene Lundon, Liliane Ljin, Anne Livesey,   Penny Lloyd,  James MacRitchie,  John McCarthy,  Eric McKinley,  Cathy McNamara, Ben Mercer, C.M.Mercer,  Tina Mercer, Roland Miller, Michael Mills, Sally Morris,   Anne Murtagh,  Phil Parker,  Judith Peachey,  Peggy Pettitt,  Ann Pickard,  Kath Pinnington, Mary Jane Richards,  Raymond Richards,  Simon Riley,  Les Roberts,  George Rowan, Janet Rowan,  Mark Rusher,  P.Ryan,  Jeffrey Seeds,  Brian Shepherd,  Tom Sheridan,  Frank Sims, Eddie Tagoe,  Kathleen Thompson,  Mick Trim,  Allan Tsang,  Luiz e. t. Ventura,  John Vollemere, Ken Waddington,  Michael Wardman, Jane Wickham,  B. Whitaker, John White,  John Wilcock,  Frances Williams,  J.J. Williams,  John Wilson,  D. Wright, and Elizabeth Wylie.


As is often the case with Blackie events we are fortunate in receiving help from a variety of individuals and organisations.  We would like to thank the following for their help in making Building Sight possible and our apologies to those we have missed.

Carrs Paper Ltd.; Coherent Radiation Lt.; Dave Kilburn; G.E. Garnett's;  R Harold Wesley Ltd.;  Kearsley Paper Works; Liverpool City Lighting Department;  Liverpool City Recreation and Open Spaces and in particular Mr McCormack and Mr Eric Foulgar. Porth Textiles Ltd.; R.A.F Woodvale; Roger Fletcher & Sons Ltd.; The Forestry Commission, Delamere forest;  The Shiffrin Centre, Liverpool; T.J.Hughes; Transparent Paper Ltd.; Walsall Lithographic Co.


For some of the time whilst running Building Sight The Blackie was also operating at The Garage in Roscoe Street running 'Sisterhood Is Powerful'  and 'Live Poetry'.