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Drift Bottles PDF Print E-mail
Container Culture
Written by Steve Dietz   
Mar 11, 2006 at 09:18 PM

Huang Shi

Interactive installation, 5 glass bottles, mp3 players/recorders, speakers and microphones, processors, batteries
Part of the exhibition Container Culture (Beijing)
Curated by Zhang Ga

Huang Shi, Drift Bottles (schmatic)

In the middle ages, drift bottles were one of the few means for sailors to communicate with others in the open seas. Notes / messages sealed in the bottles often carried important information or heartfelt blessings. It would be a great surprise for a mediaeval sailor to find a drift bottle likely from some unknown destinations. Mysterious, incidental, and expectant, drift bottle can be seen as a symbol of maritime cross-culture exchange.

Today, cell phone, internet and television are rapidly changing our way of communication. Anyone could easily connect with others by simply punching some buttons. High technology is a double-edged sword not only facilitating our daily communication but also eliminating the joy of intimacy and surprise once enjoyed by many.

The installation Drift Bottles (2006)is an attempt to reconstruct a different mode of communication and to revive one of man's immemorial interactive customs. It symbolizes a hope for outreaching and a gesture for understating via intimate means of interaction in an increasingly alienated society driven by technology.

When opening the bottle cap, participant A is reminded to speak some words into the empty bottle. And the next bottle opener B will hear A's words recorded by the bottle. And he will be asked to leave yet another message to the next participant C after a beep. Once heard, words in the bottle will be deleted irrevocably.

In addition to bottles of a recording / playing back nature, the installation also consists of other bottles that will contain messages from various parts of the world. These messages are only readable and can't be rewritten, thus, the Drift Bottles also metaphorically embody as a voice container and culture carrier.

Last Updated ( Apr 12, 2006 at 01:57 PM )
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