A huge statue known as “The Kiss” standing in front of Salisbury Cathedral in Wiltshire, England, had to be moved recently after passersby, texting while walking along, kept crashing into it and bumping their heads.
Everyone’s seen it happen in the streets. People are so engrossed in texting while walking along they crash into other people, lamp posts, and other objects in the street. However, you would be forgiven for thinking that with a 20-foot high and 15-foot wide sculpture, weighing in at one ton, people would have more trouble not seeing it (see photos above and below).
When British artist Sophie Ryder created the sculpture of giant, clasping hands from galvanized steel wire, she wanted it to be interactive, but not quite so interactive that pedestrians would crash into it texting while walking.
It seems recent surveys have found that one in eight Britons regularly put themselves in danger of injury by staring at their phones while they are walking. The Times quotes the National Accident Helpline as saying 13 percent of people have had the experience of bumping into something, or someone, when texting while walking along the street.
Reportedly the worst culprits – most likely to be distracted by their iPhones and other modern tech – are young people between the ages of 16 and 24 years of age, causing them to bump into something or have near accidents texting while walking in the street.
The sculpture was originally placed arching over a walkway leading to Salisbury Cathedral, in such a way that people could walk right under and through it. However, so many people failed to notice the massive artwork standing in their path, the cathedral was forced to call in specialist movers to move the sculpture 15 feet to the side of its current position, on to the surrounding grass, using a crane.
Sculpture measuring 20ft high and 15ft wide moved… so that mobile users don’t bump into it as they text! – Daily… https://t.co/FAwG6zC8tO
— Newsdesk Ent (@NewsdeskENT) February 20, 2016
The sculpture was reportedly named “The Kiss” because the thumbs are “kissing” and was placed over the pathway last week as part of an solo exhibition called “Relationships” which is running up until July 3.
The exhibition also features statues of mythical animals, reportedly a specialty of the artist Sophie Ryder, including Minotaurs and half-woman half-hares, as pictured below.
According to a Salisbury Cathedral source, they have not actually received any complaints about the sculpture, “but there were observations from three people that they had encountered ‘Relationships’ probably in a way that was not intended.”
“It was decided that it ought to be moved – before anything serious happened.”
Canon Dr. Robert Titley, 60 – treasurer for Salisbury Cathedral and the one responsible for the move of the sculpture – quipped, “It’s called The Kiss, not the Glasgow Kiss [a type of head-butt].”
“It invites people to walk underneath and we thought it would be perfect during the day, and it worked well, but there were incidents of people walking into it in the dark.”
Titley went on to say the statue is remarkable, in that it looks like basket-work, but when you get closer, it can be seen that the work is “rigid, hard and pretty heavy.”
Ryder herself said of the sculpture on Friday that her fiance is 6ft 4in tall and has never bumped his head on it, so they thought it would be pretty safe.
“But people were walking along the path and basically not looking where they were going because they were looking down at their phones. How on earth do you not notice a sculpture that size?”
Ryder went on to say how sad it is that people are not looking ahead of themselves in life in general because of their mobile phones.
According to the BBC, this isn’t the first time texting while walking has become a problem. Reportedly, one city in Belgium has even installed “text walking lanes” to stop users crashing into other people while texting.
It just goes to show that texting while walking is almost as dangerous as the rather more serious crime of texting while driving.
[Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images]