Vessel: A Portrait of Noah and His Descendants
Vessel was published in late 2018, it is a novella based on the biblical flood and the family that survived it in a wooden ship.
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About the book
Set in the few years immediately after the global flood of Judeo-Christian scripture. Vessel is told from dual perspectives of the pious Noah and rebellious son Ham. The story follows Noah’s family as they try to understand a new world, question the God that destroyed the one that came before, and discover that the biggest threat to their survival has been brought with them aboard the ark.
A novel about the limits of faith, and morality. What would it be like to survive an apocalypse and how would that affect the way you understood the world and your place in it? This novel invites us to view a family in philosophical turmoil as they attempt to work out how to go on living after God destroys the world. How should they relate to this God? Why should they have been spared? Steeped in in-depth historical and scriptural research, readers will be immersed in a world with a moral outlook vastly different to our own.
Imagine being tasked with building a society from nothing. As the family struggle to find their way into the future they find themselves wrestling with the past and facing existential questions about just what it means to be human.
Everybody thinks they know the story of Noah, the boat full of animals and the colourful rainbow. It has become a fairy-tale we tell our children. This story attempts to return readers to the tale with fresh eyes, to re-assess a mysterious and foundational human story and see what it says about us as a species, and as descendants of this story.
It’s relation to my practice
I began writing the book back in 2011 whilst I was curating an artist run space in Margate and working as an invigilator for Folkestone Triennial on the side. There is something poetic about the fact that it was finally finished and made available to the public the same year that boats landed as central theme of my practice.
I am certainly conscious of the biblical flood in my work, as it is a shared narrative many across the world know from infancy. More broadly speaking, some form of global flood narrative exists across many different cultures. This story’s thematic and spiritual aspects are thematically present in my work with boats, and particularly with regard to this correlation between boats as vessels for a human body, and the the human body as a vessel of consciousness and experience.
I am also interested in what boats promise, the mystery and potential discover a journey by boat implies… that is certainly present in the novel. Also tied up in everything I do is my own relationship to the infinite. Whether that be in writing a novel based on judeo-christian history in order to explore my own relationship to that story and faith structure… or whether it be exploring the infinite in a more nihilistic sense as with my cardboard boat. It is always there.