The Ship of Fools

itinery media performance on a boat [2001]

August 2001: A fleet of six sailboats embarked on the rivers that connect Quebec City and New York City. The boats carried a collection of Quebec artists who animated this voyage with their performances at one stop after.

Inspired by the old world legend of a drifting boat gathering the insane from the rivers and canals of northern Europe, The Ship of Fools collected video interviews with the riverside population on the themes of difference and marginality in our society. These new accounts were then integrated to other samples collected in a psychiatric hospital, and then staged with a direct interaction of the riverside population throughout the journey, like that Ship of Fools that gathered aboard the fools and lunatics.

The Ship of Fools

From Québec city to New-York city on the rivers

Their boat was transformed into a media laboratory and a communications terminal invited the spectators to relate their stories via a live video link to the boat. In the evening this terminal became a projection screen for the performance.

The Ship of Fools weaved a metaphorical and a documentary line between the two worlds separated by the walls of the asylum. The day that journey ended, the Ship of Farine Orpheline took up voyage by moving aboard all those men and women who have given their testimony …

Project Details

Inspired by the legend of a drunken boat used to hold the happy fools gathered from the rivers and canals of northern Europe, this performed installation took place between a boat and the riverbank between the cities of Québec and New-York. Commissioned for the international event Québec-New-York 2001.

  • A Farine Orpheline project
  • artist-in-residence
  • Artistic direction
  • Camera
  • Creator of Content
  • Interviews
  • Media Art Tools
  • Performance
  • Scenography
  • Sonic Interaction
  • Time-Based Art
  • Video