Artist Turns Boat into Mirrored Art & Sound Installation

Inspired by the Fluxus movement, a former freight boat will becoming a floating polyhedron sculpture for reflection and debates.

Cyril de Commarque, Rendering for Fluxland, 2016, courtesy of the artist

A mirrored polyhedron boat will take to the river Thames in London in September. Designed by artist Cyril de Commarque, it's currently being built in a Dutch shipyard. The piece is called Fluxland and will turn a 25 meter-long former 50s freight boat into a drifting art installation that will also play audio remixed by de Commarque.

The boat will be a curiosity to inspire reflection—quite literally—upon those who see it, and will host a debate from "leading thinkers and keynote speakers in the fields of philosophy, science, technology, sociology and art" about the "intersection of philosophy, history, and the notion of human progress," at some point along its voyage.

"I think this type of work should try to address a very large public who perhaps are not well acquainted with the art world," de Commarque tells The Creators Project. "The sound that will emerge out of the boat and its reflective material will create a spectacle both for active visitors and for those who are just passing by." 

Cyril de Commarque, Fluxland in production, 2016, courtesy of the artist

The shape of the sculpture itself, a polyhedron, was chosen for its artistic and philosophical heritage. It's a shape that was written about by Plato and the ancient Greeks, and has appeared in art and inspired debate and chin-stroking relfection right up through the Renassaince, to Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti, and German painter Anselm Kiefer.

"The polyhedron has been subject to many interpretations and symbols," notes de Commarque. "After the Renaissance, the dominant interpretation is that it symbolizes melancholia." De Commarque wants to inspire thoughtful meditations in those who see his converted vessel. The mirrored surfaces are also a symbol of this, reflecting the city along with the public, and also a nod to artist Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Mirror Paintings.

Cyril de Commarque, Working sketch for Fluxland, 2016, courtesy of the artist

As well as hosting a debate, the boat will be open to the public, who will be able to board it when it moors along the river, look inside, and enjoy its immersive, birdsong-filled environment. Fluxland's name is a reference to the Fluxus movement from the 60s, and the ideas of artists like Joseph Beuys and John Cage, who believed art and daily life should intersect and inform one another. 

Cyril de Commarque, Working sketch for Fluxland, 2016, courtesy of the artist

"Looking at the world today, it seems we are on the border of chaos," de Commarque says. "I believe that in this time, there is a need for the artist to step up to their political duties. The idea for Fluxland came from a need to interact with the city and to engage the public by creating a new, interactive space for debate. The choice to use the boat was a way to enter the city and open discussion through the void created by the river. The river is an unexploited zone for projects like this and is very visible."

Cyril de Commarque, Fluxland in production, 2016, courtesy of the artist

Fluxland will be on view starting September 8, 2016. Various locations, River Thames, London. Click here for more information. This event is part of Totally Thames, which runs from September 1-30, 2016. Visit Cyril de Commarque's website here.


[Exclusive] Building Art Boats for a Music Festival on a Lake

Four Horsemen of the Environmental Apocalypse Arrive in London

Take a Hallucinatory Boat Ride Inside a Museum