Bower taps into the notion of special places where people leave their name or a declaration of love. Carved into the bark of an ancient tree, gouged into an old stone monument or spray painted onto an urban wall; the impulse to communicate to unknown people long into the future is strong a declaration of our existence. As with the simple messages left to us from the distant past, the significance of the messages left in the Bower will change as time passes and as personal and world events create new markers in our lives.
A geometric shape, made from gleaming stainless steel mesh, will create a large permanent sculptural shape. The intention is for the appearance and nature of the installation to change over time. The stainless steel will form a guide frame for the growth of beech hedging planted within the structure. Eventually the hedge will completely fill and envelop the structure, taking the shape of the frame.
A visitor entering the Bower will see hundreds of small brass padlocks attached to the mesh walls. Through a workshop, Bower website and information pack, members of the public can create a message padlock. Inscribed on each padlock will be their name, date and the title. Bonded onto the body of the padlock will be an NFC disc. A visitor with an NFC enabled phone, will be able to hear, read or see the message made by the author by placing it against the NFC disk on the padlock. A connection is made and the message downloaded to the phone which will then appear on the screen. This would be a written or spoken poem, a thought, a declaration of love, a song, a piece of music, a sound effect, a picture, short video etc.
Gradually over time the messages locked away will become available to more and more people as NFC becomes commonplace. Long into the future, access to the message will fade away again as technology moves on leaving just the padlock and inscription.
Bower is available for presentation from January 2014. For more information contact IOU by phone or email.