Davina Semo has created five cast bronze bells to be rung by visitors in the park, recalling the maritime communication once common at this waterfront site. While their percussive function is familiar, the artist has reimagined the traditional bell form as an elongated streamlined sculpture that dangles aloft from a heavy industrial galvanized steel frame.
“Semo’s bells become a distinctive and democratized mode of public address that allows art to communicate in profound ways,” says Public Art Fund Curator Daniel S. Palmer. “They give us an opportunity to raise our voices and unite with each other, at a moment when human connection and empathy have become so precious.”
The Public Art Fund unveiled Reverberation, a new exhibition of large-scale bells by San Francisco-based sculptor Davina Semo. Reverberation consists of five, four-foot tall bright orange bronze bells and is housed in structures towering over 14 feet at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 along the New York City waterfront. The five bells are individually titled Dreamer, Listener, Mother, Reflector, and Singer, each with its own voice and presence, as well as a unique configuration of holes drilled through their surface to produce a differentiated pitch.
The bells would be silent without the strength and longevity of the galvanized steel frames to suspend them and the galvanized pull chains to ring them. Hot-dip galvanizing was chosen to protect these steel frames from the harsh waterfront and urban environment of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Ironically, the cables stays still holding up the Brooklyn Bridge this very day were famously hot-dip galvanized in 1863. The decision to use hot-dip galvanized steel was extremely smart for both the bridge and the artwork sitting next it today. Hot-dip galvanized steel reduces the need for both short and long-term maintenance saving all the stakeholders involved both time and money.
Semo’s bells are coated with a lustrous pearlescent paint that glows hot orange to evoke the international color of urgent alarm–meant to heighten our attention in precarious times. The orange color stands out even more against the matte gray finish of the hot dip galvanized frames. During this turbulent year, auditory interventions have characterized our collective experience, whether through the evening cheers for essential workers or the chanting voices of protesters demanding justice. The exhibition builds upon this moment, encouraging audiences to add their own contribution to our urban soundscape. Ultimately, Semo intends for these bells to sound an optimistic note. As we ring out the old and ring in the new, each bell reverberates in concert with its neighbors, creating a collective resonance together. These bells will be able to literally stand the test of time thanks to the strength and protect of hot dip galvanizing.
New York, NY United States
Aesthetics, Coating Durability, Corrosion Performance, Ease of Specifying, Quality of HDG, Turnaround Time
Steel frames holding up the bells and the chains used to ring the bells.
Fourth State Metals
V&S Amboy Galvanizing
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