For the series "Unplugged," I take randomly selected segments of popular, often cliched song lyrics and prepare individual bottles with the lyrics sealed inside. The bottles are then cast into various locations in a city, photographed and left for others to encounter.
When the bottles are found by passersby, a new context is created. The words are unplugged and the meaning of familiar media is reinterpreted in unanticipated ways.
So far I have left bottles in locations throughout a number of cities including Tokyo, Chicago, San Francisco and New York with many more to come.
The first recorded messages in bottles were released around 310 BC by the Ancient Greek philosopher Theophrastus, as part of an experiment to show that the Mediterranean Sea was formed by the inflowing Atlantic Ocean.
In the 16th century, the English navy used bottle messages to send ashore information about enemy positions. Queen Elizabeth I even created an official position of "Uncorker of Ocean Bottles," and anyone else discovered opening such bottles without proper authorization could face the death penalty.
In today's world however, the globe and its tides are thoroughly mapped and state secrets are kept closer to the chest. Messages in bottles are now often associated with old tales of shipwrecked travelers stranded on desert islands or romanticized images of a bygone life at sea.
When conceiving the series "Unplugged", I set out to reconnect people to familiar messages in the media in new ways using this simple but now somehow oddly unfamiliar methodology. Although analogue and antiquated, the encapsulated format of the message in a bottle as a means of communication - with its haphazard delivery system and contorted path toward unanticipated recipients - is also oddly parallel to the way jettisoned scraps of information today bob along on the warm currents of the world wide web.
Although at first seemingly quite different, things like micro-blogs, song lyrics, fortune cookies and bottle messages all share a certain similarity. Each is essentially not much more than an abbreviated form of written communication, but all have the potency to instill that same feeling somewhere between deja vu, serendipity and a sneaking sense that the words are speaking to you and you alone.