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Peace Underwater

Using time and nature to create art

What if the ocean were our kiln? What if we took advantage of the effects of time under water? Rather than fighting those effects, what if galvanic action and organic growth were manipulated to produce a peace pole intended for display on land after having cured underwater?

For instance:

1) Letters cut out of copper and glued to a synthetic pole.

Copper tends to prevent biological growth. Perhaps it would turn into a pole that was covered with moss everywhere except where there were letters.

2) A vinyl pole with letters painted with anti-fouling paint.

Faux finishes often are created by putting paint on a surface to which it cannot adhere well. Anti-fouling paint does not adhere well to vinyl. For a while the paint would prevent anything from growing where the letters were, and then, when it had washed away, the growth on the letters would be way behind the growth on the rest of the pole. So the entire surface would be biological, but still with a readable message because of the indentation of the letters.

3) Copper letters on a steel peace pole.

Dissimilar metals often create galvanic action. With copper on steel the copper would become the anode (+) and the underlying substrate a cathode (-). Corrosion would attack the copper letters leaving the steel untouched, just as anodes protect a boat from galvanic action by sacrificing themselves. That might produce an interesting effect. Of course, this would work on land too.

4) Copper letters on a stainless steel peace pole.

There would be no galvanic action, because stainless steel and copper are so close together on the galvanic graph. But biological growth would occur on the stainless and not on the copper. It might produce an interesting effect.

5, 6, 7,etc) Zinc, brass, cement, glass, iron, wood, wire, cable, rope?

Other thoughts:
Zinc is highly reactive and would have a much greater galvanic action with stainless steel than copper letters would.

Or letters imbedded in multi-layered wire mesh in which sea life would grow around the letters.

Or ferro-cement, like a boat hull, with glass letters in it, like the prisms in the decks of old sailing vessels, so that back on land the growth could be cleaned off the letters and a light put inside?

Or a hemp rope wound 4 inches thick with letters sewn onto it (wars were fought over hemp -- some historians believe it was the biggest and most important industry on the planet for thousands of years, so there is a historical reason for making a peace pole out of it).


Some materials could take many years to produce results. Others might take only months. Some combination of materials could need a hundred years underwater. It might be that every decade someone would need to check on it to see if it were done yet. Wouldn’t that be a nice way for the generations to work together? And a nice gift for the eventual recipients?

Hundred year old time-capsules often feel like someone was saying "remember us," whereas this clearly would be saying "we were thinking about you."

Underwater: Stage One thru Three | Stage Five | Experiment