Death Boat update

The project is nearly done and I am happy to have achieved so much with it. There are a couple of things that I’m working on that I was hoping to have completed, but as I have already built a meaningful portfolio of works I am not concerned that these pieces aren’t finished yet. After all, the aim of the project was in part to build a practice, and so to have work to be doing after the project is complete feels perfectly appropriate.

One of the things I’ve been playing with throughout the project is the role of narrative in the work and how that narrative might be shared with the audience. I feel – given some distance -that the storytelling element of doggerland felt as if it was leading the audience to strongly. So, I’ve been more interested in an implied narrative- letting the audience follow threads I lay out, or to fill gaps in the messaging with their own imagination.

This idea will be borne out in Death-Boat a work I’m making out of the kit boat I’ve been working on and as yet is still a few days work from being complete. The work will be comprised of the two halves of the canoe painted black and standing as obelisks or grave markers- evoking the boat as coffin traditions of island nations (such as the Solomon Islands). One half of the boat will be finished with gunnels and fully watertight whilst the other still bears holes from the building process – it looks the part but is not functional.

Together they hold in tension the pragmatic / physical and the spiritual / esoteric elements of my practice. A tension in which lies humanness. I hope to use the working half of the boat to eventually develop into my collapsible boat for “pilgrimage with no destination” – another larger work I am working on as a direct follow on to this project.

But for death-boat I want there to be a suggestion that the work would be propositional of some future performance. I.e. where as my other boats have been activated by going to water, this boat will be activated by death, at which time the pieces would be joined to make a coffin. It’s interesting to me to play with the temporal aspects of the work, in terms of when the sculptural elements are turned into something more- whether that be in the past (in the case of documented performances), in the present (in the case of live performances), and in the future or in an imagined time (in the case of propositional work such as deathboat).

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