Live Steam Shift Whistle (as part of The Promise)

Live Steam Shift Whistle (as part of The Promise)
Temporary Public Art Commission

Artist: Oscar Tuazon

Partner: Arnolfini

Client: Stoford / Simplyhealth Art in the Public Realm Commission Award

Location: The Downs, Bristol

Services: Awards strategy, commissioning / prize award management

Completed: 2014

As part of Arnolfini’s 2014 summer exhibition The Promise, US artist Oscar Tuazon presented a specially commissioned sculpture Live Steam Shift Whistle on The Downs, Bristol. Produced by Studio Response and Arnolfini with the support of healthcare provider Simplyhealth, Live Steam Shift Whistle was part of a two year commissions programme entitled the ‘Art and the Public Realm Commission Award’, marking the construction of Simplyhealth’s new Bristol HQ.

Live Steam Shift Whistle, a striking monolithic sculpture, was formed of a 20 foot steel cylinder and large concrete fire pit, and doubled as a community barbeque, emitting both steam and a whistle. The work playfully questioned the relationship between Bristol's residents and one of its most iconic public spaces by opening The Downs for previously prohibited communal activity. Taking its inspiration from the tradition of architectural follies in landscape parks, the sculpture was a temporary monument to the people's use of the site and a shared cultural history. The dual function of this work harks back to an ancient tradition of communal sharing, eating and shelter by firelight.