The Bridge, an earlier project
all photographs courtesy Wipke Iwersen
This is an amazing project which crosses the boundaries of contemporary art, science, anti science, anthropology, philosophy and fiction. In a sense it is a real fiction, a concrete dream, a three dimensional wish. Artist Wipke Iwersen has generated a Borges like expedition that almost defies explanation. The Windvinder is immensely beautiful and seems well designed to achieve it's goal, while that goal itself is nebulous and slippery. Wipke designed and built the craft, a sort of trimaran, which seems to be based on proa(Wipke calls the boat he, in typical proa fashion) and traditional kayak skin on frame building technology. It's method of propulsion is a wind turbine. At first glance I thought this was a sort of joke, but really, I know better, so I dug in and found what seems to be a profound/trivial paradox, and a lot of fun. I won't say anymore, because this kind of art is different for everyone who encounters it, and I've already colored your perceptions too much. But I will leave you with some of the artists words:
"Windvinder is a seafaring challenge. A challenge to everything that has always remained the same – the suggestion of a new possibility. And this is exactly what this journey is about: this pull from beyond the horizon.
What makes us move? What drives us to push back our boundaries, further and further, beyond what is necessary or even seems possible? Why do people risk their lives to reach the North Pole, or the moon? Nobody would want to live there.
But what then do they want?
Windvinder does not travel from A to B; he is on a voyage to explore what drives him, towards the source of that invisible power that keeps his wings moving."
On reflection, I feel this is an important work and urge anyone capable of doing so to support this artist.
I will add one interesting note, one of the sponsors of the project is Dyson, Baidarka & Co.
ps: added Saturday, 3/7/09; Bjorn Thommasson has also written about this project here.
I should also add that I learned of this project from Carl Cramer in the Woodenboat e-newsletter for March 2009. Thanks Carl.