ARTYFACTS: Brighton Festival: The Boat Project

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Brighton Festival: The Boat Project

Boarded a 30 ft boat made from personal, wooden items this morning in Brighton Marina and was told tales from a talkative sailor, while a band played sea shanties. It was a hoot. Each item has its own story and we were invited to pick a card and hear the story we had picked. Then we were asked to come up with a memory sparked off by the card. I picked a card with a pair of yellow coloured clogs, which sparked off my own memory about a wooden boat and a colour, in this case orange. 
My grandfather was a soldier who fought in both the first and second world wars. He was torpedoed in the south Atlantic Ocean by a U-boat that surfaced and gave them 30 minutes to evacuate into lifeboats. My grandfather had only women and children on board. Luckily the boat had a cargo of oranges and as it sunk they floated to the surface, forming a carpet of orange on the swell. This was a lifesaver. Unfortunately, the Captain’s wife started to drink seawater and went mad, trying to throw the children overboard, so he had to drown her. So the story goes. It was confirmed by a small ebony box presented to him by the people in that boat, that cryptically referred to this act.
This boat is a fine idea that leaves a work of art that you want to look at, touch and think about. The fact that it’s a boat sitting in the water makes it all the more enticing. Look along the sides and you see guitars, toys, hockey sticks, bowls, pencils, signs – hundreds of items, all with their unique tale.


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