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Message in a Bottle

These conceptual sculptures explore the theme of hope.  They are not complete yet. Missing from the boxes are the actual bottles, which contain the messages. These were launched into the Atlantic Ocean during a crossing from Antigua to the Azores in May 2007.

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It didn’t matter if the bottles were ever found and returned. These pieces are about the hope that they might be one day. I knew it might be months or years before this happens and the sculptures would be completed. It may never happen. Somewhere out there, though, those bottles existed. The potential that they may be found by somebody and my messages may be read would always be there. The hope is that they could arrive in the mail one day and complete this piece. That is the message in the bottle.

Then a miracle happened. The first bottle was found and returned two years later. Then another miracle happened. The second bottle was found and returned six years later. One more still exists out there somewhere…

I have used the classic message in a bottle theme, which is potent with symbolism, to evoke the hope a castaway may feel once his message is launched. He will never know if it is found unless he is rescued. What matters to him is the hope that it may be. Hope is what keeps him alive. This is the drama of the piece.

The crudeness of these boxes was a deliberate choice to convey their incomplete nature. Too beautiful a presentation would put more emphasis on what is in front of you, rather than what is not. It is what is not there, the bottles and the messages, which these pieces are all about. These crude, unremarkable boxes, by their creative concept, summon for us images of the Atlantic Ocean, of deserted beaches and the hope against hope of the lonely castaway. When you throw something into the middle of an ocean you do not expect to see it again. It’s a miracle I’ve had two returned to me. Memory and hope are the only links to the last bottle that remain.

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