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  NO REPRESENTATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION    Day after day, day after day, / We stuck, nor breath nor motion; As idle as a painted ship / Upon a painted ocean.   Water, water, every where, / And all the boards did shrink;   Water, water, every where, / Nor any drop to drink.   The rudderless morning shudders under the wind’s cold lash. We have not yet begun to sink, but we have almost ceased to suffer.  The project of human-self-assertion in the present situation requires being prepared to abandon whatever patchwork craft is currently bearing us across storm-tossed seas. In this field of representation, shipwreck is something like the ‘legitimate’ result of seafaring, and a happily reached harbor or the serene calm of the sea is only the deceptive face of something deeply problematic. The image of the Ship of State, which dates back to Plato, now becomes replaced by the wreck of that ship and by the situation of the hapless mariner.
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   RECOGNITIONS OF THE SWIMMER      Adrift on a slim spar, inside a horizon smaller than the rim of a bottle. Down, at once, we sunk to heaven.     The sea has always been suspect for cultural criticism. What could have motivated the move from land to sea but a refusal of nature’s meager offerings, the monotony of agricultural labor and the addictive vision of quickly won rewards. One of the fundamental ideas of the Enlightenment is that  shipwreck is the price that has to be paid in order that complete calming of the seas not make all worldly commerce impossible .    The worker exists in a state of dreadful insecurity, knowing full well "that employment and food today do not mean employment and food tomorrow.... The bourgeois version of this experience of the world is bankruptcy; for so many characters in Victorian fiction, it is economic shipwreck that is the most fearful:     We were enshrouded in pitchy darkness, so that we could not have seen an object at twenty paces from the ship. Eternal night continued to envelop us. We neglected all care of the ship, as worse than useless, and securing ourselves as well as possible, to the stump of the mizzenmast, looked out bitterly into the world of ocean. We had no means of calculating time, nor could we form any guess of our situation. In the meanwhile every moment threatened to be our last. I could not help feeling the utter hopelessness of hope itself.     This abatement and degradation does not take place all at once: it is brought about by degrees, after the calamity, and after many struggles to keep up — as a man who goes overboard hangs on to a spar when any hope is left, and then flings it away and goes down when he finds that struggling is vain.
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   THE DESTINATION DISAPPEARS     Once doubt begins to wear away at beliefs that have given direction to men's lives for more than two hundred years, people begin to find themselves in a new, puzzling, and occasionally terrifying imaginative landscape. The arrangement of these various situations of maritime disaster to form a hypothetical master narrative is a useful critical tool for the iconologist, for it permits him to relate widely differing situations to one another:    They made themselves so much at home on the ship that they ended up thinking the ship itself was the new land.  - Max Weber,  Lebenserinnerungen  Bremen, 1948.  [or]   Sailing with Pascal, we are always already at sea.
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  THE LIMITS OF REPRESENTATION    Here were the sea’s caresses, scientific in their fervor.   I can no longer determine the direction of the wind; the wave rushes toward me now from this side, now from that; and in the midst we sail on in the dark ship, fighting hard against the storm’s violence; for the waves are already flowing over the base of the mast, and from the tattered sail huge pieces are blown forlornly away.  Her sails are slack; her rudder immovable. She is dead, as a log is dead, rolling in the sea; she is not a ship any more. She is full of men, of course; but there is no work for them to do, because ships, having once discarded man's strength, cannot fall back on that strength in an emergency.
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