What happens when you have a completely round boat propelled using three oars…

This is what happened when the round boat built at the Boat Building Academy for artists JocJonJosch was launched in London some days ago, with JocJonJosh at the oars.

The boat is the centrepiece of a project called Worstward Ho, which the artists explain like this:

Worstward Ho! is a project under construction and is part of JocJonJosch’s series of Investigations into Collaboration.

Worstward Ho! takes the form of a round boat with three oars, symbolic of the collective’s dynamic, in which Joschi, Jonathan and Joc wrestle towards a destination. There is a sense that each time one member attempts to move forward his movement and the direction in which he would like to travel is countered by the action of the other two. It is an exhausting exercise and the collaborators often feel as if they are going nowhere, that they are turning in circles.

The boat is a useable sculpture, that is to say it is a boat built to be rowed on water. It’s significance however, is not in any specific journey that we take or plan to take in the boat but instead in the ambiguous and challenging journey that it suggests.

‘My heavens!’ as my granny would have said.

I can’t help feeling this thing is a kind of monument to the frustrations of working as part of a collaboration. I’m also reminded of coracles, which definitely go where the pilot intends, and, of course, the round Vietnamese fishing boat that my brother Matthew Atkin photographed a little while ago, and which Pete Williamson also captured.

By the way, connoisseurs of these things might be interested to see JocJonJosh’s portfolio and Facebook page. But it’s back to boats for this weblog…

One thought on “What happens when you have a completely round boat propelled using three oars…”

  1. I saw this yesterday on Tim Cooke’s blog and was struck by two things; firstly, here in Ireland I don’t think artists are exempt from the legal requirement to wear a bouyancy aid and secondly, if two of the three rowed properly and the chap at the “back” had learned to scull (by following this blog!) they could go “forward” in a straight line.
    I was also reminded of a New Zealand potter who built a boat from heavy fire-bricks and floated it in Aukland Harbour to prove his point that “if it sinks it’s art and if it floats it’s craft” !!

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