Bridge of Life - An outdoor initiative to heal
By Bhawana Anand - February 16, 2013
Samsung Life Insurance and Cheil Worldwide create interactive communication with a human touch to prevent suicide attempts from the bridge.
Mapo Bridge, one of 25 over Seoul's River Han, a popular spot for suicide attempts has been transformed into the bridge of healing. In an attempt to prevent such a practice, Seoul City teamed up with Samsung Life Insurance and its advertising agency, Cheil Worldwide to alter the meaning and usage of the bridge. The objective was to urge respect for life and re-position Mapo Bridge as a healing place. The bridge is now nicknamed the Bridge of Life.
The bridge was made interactive to introduce communication and a human touch to change the people's minds, as opposed to installing a physical barrier to prevent the tragedies. First, the team installed sensors on the guardrails, so that when people walked by, lights turned on according to their movements. As the rails light up short messages make an appearance, making it seem as if the bridge was speaking to the passers-by. The messages are not warnings or teachings, but rather kind words, comforting song lyrics, and funny jokes - something that would heal the anxious and confused minds. Walking all the way across the bridge, pedestrians keep reading the messages and eventually reach the other end.
Some of the words include: "I love youâ€, "Let's walk togetherâ€, "You look worried. Are you OK?â€, "For your kidsâ€, "Tomorrow's sun will riseâ€, "Did you eat anything?â€, "Go see the one you missâ€, "The best has yet to comeâ€, "How would you like to be remembered as a father?â€, "So many things have yet to happenâ€, and "Your momâ€ - all these messages were carefully crafted after consulting with psychologists and suicide-prevention activists.
In the middle of the bridge, there's also an "Image Zoneâ€ in which images are displayed - photos of babies, smiling grandparents, young couples, etc. There also stands a brass statue depicting two friends, one giving consolation to the other. It's called "Just once againâ€ statue, as there's a memo on the back of the statue reading "Hey dude, just think about it once againâ€
The passers-by can feel as if the lights and words are talking to their hearts. These words are great consolation to some people, telling them to think about their loved ones and brace for life once again.