Brexit Box

Location: Germany    Date: 2019

Brexit Box . . . 

John Byford's BREXIT box in Bad Gandersheim, Lower Saxony, Germany.

Byford's Brexit Box

Access to literature couldn't be more public and uncomplicated.

Artist John Byford gave the phone booth he brought from his twin town of Skegness four years ago a new look and designed it in European colors, the interior was converted into a small exchange library. The population is invited to hand over the redesign to Mayor Franziska Schwarz at 5 p.m. on Monday, September 23, with five o’clock tea and cake to match the time.

The box is an art project that is intended to promote communication between the two partner cities and, on the other hand, symbolises communication as a whole. In the first version, Byford painted the exterior in the classic German telephone booth yellow, while the original British red has remained on the interior to this day. One eye-catcher in the booth was a large photograph taken by the artist on the beach at Skegness. To keep "The Box" in the news and the public up to date, he started a Facebook page.

Because the First World War had ended 100 years earlier, in 2017 he converted "The Box" into the peace color white, inside the names of the fallen from Bad Gandersheim and Skegness were listed alphabetically on a commemorative plaque, the original can be seen in the museum in the future, a smaller version in the town hall, reports Ingrid Lohmann, who is a friend of Byford and is happy to act as a translator if required. The listing was sorted in alphabetical order of the first names and not by nationality in order to underline the similarity.

On the occasion of Brexit, Byford decided to take up the issue of Europe in the transformation that has now taken place. Even before that, there was a wish from the population that an exchange library be set up, because the telephone booth with its purpose as a place of communication and its shape simply calls for it. The original project name "two voices" is now "many voices". This reflects the original colours of the European flag.

England is portrayed as a "fallen star". The Europe star wreath has a sad gap. The theme of the books in the exchange box should be Europe.

"We would like to have as many foreign-language books in here as possible, including German-language ones, of course," emphasized Lohmann, who collected donations from the Circle of Friends, among other things, for the "initial equipment". The organizers would be happy if visitors brought a book to the opening, which would then be placed in the box. There is still a particular need for works in Romance and Eastern European languages. It doesn't matter what genre of literature it is. “People should make it themselves. Everyone can take something with them and put something else in, Lohmann described the basic principle and pointed out that the carpentry Papenberg sponsored the shelf. We are still looking for a sponsor for the lighting.

“Actually, that was supposed to be the last version, but then the State Horticultural Show came along. We don't know what's coming yet, but something is coming," Byford suggests. In any case, it should be a "big surprise".

The artist John Byford, who comes from the twin town of Skegness, handed over the telephone booth on the Stiftsfreiheit, which he had redesigned in European colours, to the town of Bad Gandersheim. It will serve as a book exchange box in the future. Mayor Franziska Schwarz made the symbolic gesture of cutting the yellow ribbon.

'Two Voices' projects so far have included:

Take a Seat (2024) - info

Hope! (2021) - info

Brexit Box (2019) 

We Will Remember them (2018) - info

Post it! (2015) - info


Page last updated: October 2023