Ahmet Öğüt

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Guppy 13 vs Ocean Wave; a Bas Jan Ader Experience

Installation, 6:47 min single-channel video, sailboat, police report, photograph
produced by Tolhuistuin, Stichting Cultuur aan het IJ
collection of Van Abbemuseum

7th of May 2010

Guppy 13, purchased from Zakry Standerfer and shipped from USA, arrived to the Netherlands.

28th of June 2010

Guppy 13 was stolen in Amsterdam waters. 

16th of October 2010

After 4 months, Guppy 13 was found on Lijnbaansgracht, Amsterdam.

Guppy 13 is one of the smallest pocket cruisers, made by Melen Marine Ltd. in California. Only about 300 of them were produced between 1974 and 1975. Guppy 13 is the exact same model as Dutch artist Bas Jan Ader’s boat ‘Ocean Wave’, in which he was attempting to cross the Atlantic Ocean in 1975 when he eventually disappeared. Bas Jan Ader's boat, 'Ocean Wave,' was found unmanned and partially submerged 150 miles off the coast of Ireland by a Spanish fishing vessel in 1976. It was taken to La Coruña, Spain for investigation. A few weeks later, the boat was stolen and it was never found. 

I found the same type of sailboat that Ader used, a Guppy 13, I bought it and got it shipped to Amsterdam. I invited visitors to live through Bas Jan Ader's experience, albeit it only for a few minutes, in this sailboat on Amsterdam's waters. The only rule was that everybody had to get on the sailboat by themselves. So, I recreated exactly the same physical conditions of Bas Jan Ader's experience. In the video, we see a fictional documentary, in which Guppy 13 sails backwards to start from the end of its uncompleted journey. When we look closely, we notice that the single passenger on Guppy 13 is constantly changing. The music we listen to while watching the video is a Henry Russell composition playing backwards, which was part of Bas Jan Ader's last project. In a way, it is the documentary of a journey backwards in time. Bas Jan Ader's Guppy 13 was found near the shores of Ireland by a Spanish boat and taken to Spain. The boat was stolen a few weeks after it was found. My Guppy 13, too, got stolen in Amsterdam and I found it 4 months later. Eventually this temporary disappearance became part of the final work.