Micheal McCabe


NameMicheal McCabe (he/him)
Also known asMicheal Michael McCabe
Country of BirthAotearoa
Place of ResidenceTāmaki Makaurau Auckland
EthnicitiesFilipino, Pākehā
ArtformDesign, Architecture, Theatre, Visual arts, Craft/Object
Decades Active2010s, 2020s


Micheal McCabe is an interdisciplinary designer and educator whose output includes design work for exhibitions, performance, and public installations. Across these different forms, his work is audience-led, exploring how constructed space shapes human interaction while uplifting the work of his collaborators, as well as being centred in a consideration of environmental and social architectural responsibility. His work often features unexpected details like the incorporation of warm, curvy and domestic elements in cold public spaces, or the use of unexpected materials that, in turn, point towards the deeper conversations sitting beneath the work.

Born and raised in Whangārei, McCabe studied sculpture, painting and photography throughout high school and was involved in the local youth theatre company. “Within an all-boys school in Northland,” he has said, “[theatre] felt like a refuge.”

McCabe moved to Tāmaki Makaurau in 2012 for university where he trained as an architect. Much of his early work was through Satellites, a production house working with Asian diaspora artists in Tāmaki Makaurau to create temporary participatory public installations. Through this collaboration, he worked on projects like The Fortune Cookie Cart (2017), an interactive experience inviting people to share advice with a stranger, The Claw (2018), a gigantic claw machine inviting members of the public to ‘win’ a work by artist Hanna Shim and Twin Cultivation (2022), a public garden-like structure inviting strangers to harvest a ceramic vegetable to gift to one another.

He frequently collaborates with organisations like Objectspace, The Dowse Art Museum, Art Week Auckland, Proudly Asian Theatre, and Massive Theatre Company, and has worked as set designer on shows like A Fine Balance (Auckland Theatre Company, 2019), Sightings (Massive Company, 2018) and Pinay (Proudly Asian Theatre, 2021) and as an exhibition designer for the Queer Pavilion (Auckland Pride Festival, 2020), A Stone, an Echo, a Sign; Aotearoa Jewellery Triennial (Objectspace, 2022), twisting, turning, winding: takatāpui + queer objects (Objectspace, 2022) and Hīnātore: A Love Story: Ron Te Kawa (Objectspace & CoCA, 2021).

In 2022, McCabe was selected as part of the creative team for the New Zealand pavilion at The Prague Quadrennial 2023 and in 2023, was commissioned as an artist in the group show, In Place. Presented at Season Aotearoa this show brought together five early-career designers each exploring “the nuance and multiplicity of diasporic identities.” McCabe’s work, A life in pigs, or, pigs in my life (2023) recreated a cluster of baboy sulop, an endemic species of pig to the Visayan region of the Philippines, using coffee biomaterial. “The now endangered baboy sulop,” he wrote in the catalogue, “Can be thought of as a harbinger for ecological loss and what it means for the futures of those belonging to it.

McCabe graduated with a Master of Architecture (MArch(Prof)) from The University of Auckland, where his thesis explored the architecture of queer nightclubs in Tāmaki Makaurau and the responsibility of the architect in designing queer spaces. He is currently a lecturer of Architecture at the AUT School of Future Environments and is a Capricorn Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars.


Key works / presentations

2023 — Koha: The Speculative Worlds of Rewi Thompson, Objectspace, Tāmaki Makaurau

2023 — Prague Quadrennial 2023: Ka Emiemi, Holešovice Market, Prague

2023 — In Place (group show), Season Aotearoa, Tāmaki Makaurau

2022 — A Stone, an Echo, a Sign: Aotearoa Jewellery Triennial, Objectspace, Tāmaki Makaurau

2022 — twisting, turning, winding: takatāpui + queer objects, Objectspace, Tāmaki Makaurau

2022 — Twin Cultivation (Satellites), Panmure Train Station and Britomart, Tāmaki Makaurau

2021 — Pinay (Proudly Asian Theatre), Basement Theatre, Tāmaki Makaurau

2020 — Queer Pavilion (Auckland Pride), Albert Park, Tāmaki Makaurau

2020 — Deadweight Loss: The Value of Making, Objectspace, Tāmaki Makaurau

2018 — The Claw (Satellites), Northcote Town Centre, Tāmaki Makaurau

Key awards

2018 — Auckland Theatre Awards 2018: Outstanding Newcomer Award

2018 — Designers Institute of New Zealand Best Design Award, Gold Pin for Exhibition & Temporary Structures (The Claw)

Related entries

Last updated: 5 March 2024 Suggest an Edit


Satellites, 'The Claw', 2018

In Place (group show) catalogue, 2023

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Micheal McCabe, Portraits series, 2022

Micheal McCabe, Brainstorm for Prague Quadrennial, 2023

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Micheal McCabe, Elevation plan for Prague Quadrennial, 2023

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Micheal McCabe, Overall architectural plan for Prague Quadrennial, 2023

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Large warehouse space with a metal patchwork cart on the left-hand side

Micheal McCabe, Visualisation for Prague Quadrennial, 2023

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Pen and paper brainstorm

Micheal McCabe, Planning for Prague Quadrennial, 2023

Simple scaffolding with bags in the foreground

Micheal McCabe, Building for Prague Quadrennial, 2023

Three people scooping water out of an inflatable pool. The pool also has pieces of aluminium foil in it.

Micheal McCabe, Preparing for Prague Quadrennial, 2023