Project message in a bottle is a large performance piece in which the waves, the wind and tides, the finder and I all participate.
This project is about connection and communication, about the art of parting with creations, about patience, luck, and giving up control.
From the start I thought of this project as part of my work as a book artist, pushing the definition of what a book can be a little bit further. Most of the books (i.e. bottles with messages inside) have a “cover” – a piece of flat art that is rolled up against the inner wall of the bottle, hiding the
other contents from view. Like a book, the bottle reveals its contents after opening, it requires reader interaction. Inside is more written material: There is always a letter, explaining the project and giving my contact details. And each bottle has a small gift inside. Sometimes that gift is text-based: a poem or short story, sometimes it is an object like a mini book, shells or stones, or the stamp that I cut to create the cover, and sometimes it is the experience the finder will have when following the instructions / exercise contained.
A last photo, a short farewell, and then – splash! – in it goes. A little boy points, someone asks me what I am doing, and we talk a little. A last photo, a farewell, and – splash! in goes the next one. I watch it as long as I can – which is sometimes a surprisingly short while, the little bottles vanish quickly between the waves. Sometimes I watch them float past
people on boats who just don’t see them. So far I have not witnessed anyone finding one.
- flaschentiger.wordpress.com – This is a blog dedicated to this project, go there to read stories about finds and dispatches, and look at making of images and background info. There are also lists of upcoming and past events.
- my ipernity page – here I post photos about my work in progress regularly, including photos of new bottles and dispatches. Here is a direct link to images of the finished bottles and other behind the scene images.
- Project message in a bottle was features in Issue 98 of the Book Arts Newsletter of the University of West England. Click here to download the newsletter (pdf) or here to go to an archive of all issues of the newsletter.
- Flickr Album “Fluxjob” by MCBA – Some of the bottles were part of the exhibition Fluxjob which was juried and put together by the MCBA, Minneapolis, USA and also visited at the UWE, Bristol, UK and
- The bottles were also shown in Contained Narrative, and exhibition put together at the MCBA, Minneapolis, USA