Œuvre d'art public


John Dickson, SOS, 2001
Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston, 55 Ontario Street, Kingston, ON, K7L 2Y2, Canada
Artwork creator(s): 
Dickson, John
Text author(s): 
Dickson, John
Installation year: 

A device installed on the bottom of the harbour water shoots air bubbles to the surface every 22 seconds. The bubbles spell the acronym SOS.

Text of the artwork: 


Text theme: 
Cry of help
Artwork theme: 
Water, pollution, ecological crisis in situ (Lake Ontario), nautical history of shipwrecks in Kingston
Art Exhibition to Museopathy, Kingston, June 23-September 9, 2001. (Organized by the Agnes Etherington Art Center. Commissioners: Jim Drobnick and Jennifer Fisher.)
Event date(s): 



An anchored apparatus of copper tubes and solenoid valves was rigged to a compressor and timed to release air.


Museopathy explored the implications of museological affect – how museums feel and subtly influence visitors. The auratic features of museums – their particular moods, presences and ambiences – were highlighted, intensified or counteracted in order to examine meanings that may have been lost due to the exigencies of conveying persuasive, singular narratives. Our impetus was to foreground the great diversity of relational experiences within a civic exhibitionary complex rather than a pure aesthetic gaze upon discrete, autonomous objects. This emphasis on immersed beholding requires the apprehension of the overall reality of the display context, one that goes beyond reading an exhibition as if it were a linear text. Museopathy thus focused on the types of affective interactions that take place in museums, such as between audiences and objects, between objects and collections, and among the varied exhibition contexts of the city of Kingston as a whole.


Source:   Drobnick, Jim; Jennifer Fisher (2002). Museopathy. Kingston: Agnes Etherington Art Centre



Allen, Jan (2002).  Museopathy. Kingston : Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Queen’s University) , p. 110

Spotlight: John Dickson: the fluidity of art and life

MacMillan, Laurel (2002).  Spotlight: John Dickson: the fluidity of art and life. Canadian Art. vol. 19, p. 34-37