Sam Skinner’s project investigates the old Liverpool Observatory (est. 1845), which once provided accurate time for the port, rated ships’ chronometers, and determined the precise longitude of Liverpool. The Observatory moved to Bidston Hill in 1866, where its focus shifted to meteorological observations, seismology experiments, and tidal prediction. Finally merging with Liverpool University Tidal Institute and eventually becoming the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory. Today, the old Observatory building lies vacant awaiting conversion into apartments.
The project asks what could or should a 21st century Liverpool Observatory be? In particular a community and place centred observatory? How can it bring together a diverse range of activities and data, from traffic flows to public health, crime to climate change – forging a dynamic interaction with place that informs its future?
For the Ob_ject and Ob_serve exhibition, Sam will present a constellation of text-based prints and ephemera drawn from archival research, conversations with former observatory employees, and project notebooks.