Turned oak and elm capsules with stainless steel thread

Given that Peterhead has been formed by the sea and the industries that have came from it, its influence is everywhere and in everything, from the salt in the air to the attitudes and knowledge of the people.  It was clear from early discussions with the residents however that one of their apprehensions about the project was that they might get another dedication to the sea or the fishing industry.  It wasn’t that such a project was of particular concern, it was more that Peterhead already had several sculptural homages to the ocean and the residents felt that they didn’t need another one that was too overt.

As the project grew, however, it did become more relevant to develop a project that used Peterhead’s potent connection to the ocean. From offshore gas and oil to it being the largest fishing port in the UK, the sea is the primary sources of finance for the town.  It is a living association not just a past historical connection. It was this working relationship that I wanted to explore. 

The ‘message in a bottle’ became the way to express the concepts of identity, ownership and aspiration - themes underpinning the whole project but also providing a less obvious link to the sea.

Working with Peterhead Central Primary School and Peterhead Port Authority the children from nursery to Primary 7 in the local school produced over 300 postcards.  These extended greetings and offering varied information about their community from drawings of robots fighting Dinosaurs to interesting sites to visit around the Peterhead area.

Copies of these postcards along with contact details and a world map with the exclamation ‘We are here, where are you?’ highlighting the location of Peterhead, were placed in 16 numbered wooden capsules.  In collaboration with the Port Authority these capsules were launched from 15 fishing and offshore service vessels at various locations around the world mostly in the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean but two were launched off  the coast of Brazil in the South Atlantic. The coordinates of each capsule launch site were recorded by the boats and  entered into Google Maps so if any are ever found their journey can be traced.   

Lead artist

Jason Nelson

Participating artist

Suzie Scott

Capsule turning

George Denyer