The Unseen 2 is a multi-authored, temporary sculptural project lead by artist Gabby O’Connor which brings art and science into close conversation. Created from 12kms of rope and cable ties, the expansive, site-specific artwork at Massey University’s gallery The Engine Room has evolved through a series of nation-wide community programmes involving more than 60 workshops and 1600 participants.
Scientific research forms the premise for the workshops and art installation. O’Connor and the contributing participants use rope as a collaborative drawing and sculptural mapping material to create an artwork that reflects local marine science research into the global climate. In each workshop, O’Connor, scientists and community participants explore how eco systems work and how they may change.
Gabby's practice is sculptural, site specific, often social, relational and deeply connected to site and community. Her current projects work collaboratively with communities, students, scientists and audience and use research into the geographic location of the exhibition as well as the architectural gallery space to inform the installation process. Previously, she has exhibited at: City Gallery Wellington (image 16), Pataka Museum+Art (images 11,12), Enjoy, Toi Poneke, National Library of NZ (image 13), Corban Estate Arts Centre, Physics Room, The Suter Art Gallery ( images 6,7,8), The Otago Museum (image 10), Sharjah Art Museum UAE (image 9), and The North Wall UK. In each instance, I work closely with the architecture, its limits and possibilities to transform site, materials and the spatial experience. Education strategies are often built into the projects as a way of involving communities and to build interest and an audience for the exhibition in the lead up to the launch. Since 2011, her practice has evolved where she is regularly working on collaborative art-sci projects that connect climate change research/ers with art audiences and communities. These projects have resulted in her participation in Antarctic oceanographic research in McMurdo Sound with scientists from Niwa, Auckland University and Otago in 2015 and 2016 that led to a series of exhibitions and publications with the project Studio Antarctica (images 11,12). These Antarctic trips saw her developing new ways to collect data in the field, documenting scientists in action for outreach, conducting artistic research and engaging audiences.