Al Neil’s Piano in The Blue Cabin
Pippa Lattey inherited Al Neil’s piano during a mentorship with artist Luke Blackstone. She constructed a kinetic sculpture to rotate the piano, mounted in a steel frame, and programmed to follow historic tide data from the piano’s old home on the shore of Burrard Inlet.
Al Neil (1924—2017) was a celebrated Vancouver musician, writer, and visual artist. From 1969 until 2015 this upright piano was a fixture in the Blue Cabin. The historic cabin was Neil’s home with his partner, artist and collaborator Carole Itter.
The video submitted here was made at The Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency in False Creek, in February—March, 2021. Inside the cabin once again, the piano rotated with historic tide data from Burrard Inlet, as well as live weather data. Sunlight reflected off the surface of False Creek and into the cabin, tracing shapes across the rotating surfaces of the piano.
Pippa Lattey gratefully lives and works on the unceded, traditional and ancestral territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. She studied at Emily Carr University of Art and Design (BFA 2016), Langara College (Diploma 2013), and the University of Victoria (BSc 2003).
Lattey works with sculpture, movement, sound and place. Her sculptures play with perception, movement, gesture, and repetition. They can move, and make sound.