Reconnecting to the Bow

Text on a background of water reads Twisting, Shaping, Cooling, Foaming, Rumbling, Dripping, Guiding

The Project

Coming soon:   

Reconnecting to the Bow is a new public artwork by the artist collective Broken City Lab (Hiba Abdallah, Joshua Babcock and Justin Langlois) that invites Calgarians to connect to the Bow River. Starting in late July and running until the end of December 2024, the public will be invited to phone a soon-to-be-released number to hear the Bow’s rushing, gurgling and babbling voice on the other end of the line.   

Through a simple phone call, anyone can connect to the Bow, experiencing its wisdom, secrets and songs, creating a unique opportunity to access and explore our relationship with this important body of water. Several text-based artworks enticing people to listen to the Bow will appear throughout the city on billboards, at transit stations and on social media platforms. In addition to broadcasting the phone number, these artworks suggest different feelings or intentions the river may wish to share.   

 This project is a response to an earlier artwork in the City of Calgary Public Art Collection created by Broken City Lab in July 2014 during the collective’s residency in the City of Calgary’s Watershed+ public art program. The residency culminated in an exhibition at Stride Gallery, featuring several artworks based on the artists’ conversations and connections with city utility staff. One of these works was a phone number (1-844-OUR-BOW-RIVER) that encouraged visitors to call and listen to an audio recording of the river. Now, a decade later, Broken City Lab is responding to this work and considering the many changes that have taken place over the last decade regarding the significance of the river in our community. This new artwork, Reconnecting to the Bow, will also be part of the Public Art Collection.