The Boat


Wood, dry fish, 5 video monitors video clip. W: 51" H: 48" D: 128"

years: 1997 - 1998


A wall-mounted installation, over three meters long, consisting of a “lifeboat” whose hull is made of dried dead fish. The boat contains five video displays, turned screen-up; the video projected on their screens shows the surface of water as well as underwater footage of swimming fish and other marine creature. (Monitors work as a “video wall”). Reality and illusion intertwine in this work: the viewer is encouraged/provoked to tell them apart.

The media convey their own version of events – their own vision of the world, of history and of politics. The problem is, however, that this is increasingly the only version of events available to us. Our knowledge of the world is not built on any actual assessment of events and of processes that shape reality; its basis is the media’s outlook on things, in its pre-compiled, all-inclusive version, which we are given and instructed to believe in. Media coverage of world events includes footage from almost every corner of the planet. Meanwhile, our own experience cannot encompass everything that is shown on TV; it only covers whatever is happening around us. Gradually, what we see is a media-generated reality that is becoming the only reality we know. Real history was taken away from us and replaced with fiction. The media is the reality. A combination of rational elements makes up a whole that is irrational.

The use of dead fish as a building material for the boat is not an attempt to approximate the truth; its only function is to make the object more dynamic. Reality does not exist by itself: it is constantly threatened and questioned by the direct proximity of illusion. The real object gives us everything; a representation or a replacement of it would give us nothing at all.

The viewer must sense “the truth” that is escaping him; he or she must experience a feeling of drifting in time. Fiction has become reality, just as truth becomes fiction. What is not directly shown remains present.

The Boat - video