Friday, October 2, 2009

"On a Sailing Ship"

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the things you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream."

Once again I have cracked open A Year in Art. Today's picture is "On a Sailing Ship" by Caspar David Friedrich, painted 1819.

It reminds me of this amazing quote by Foucault about ships: "the boat is a floating piece of space, a place without a place, that exists by itself, that is closed in on itself and at the same time is given over to the infinity of the sea and that, from port to port, from tack to tack, from brothel to brothel, it goes as far as the colonies in search of the most precious treasures they conceal in their gardens, you will understand why the boat has not only been for our civilization, from the sixteenth century until the present, the great instrument of economic development ..., but has been simultaneously the greatest reserve of the imagination. The ship is the heterotopia par excellence. In civilizations without boats, dreams dry up, espionage takes the place of adventure, and the police take the form of pirates." (from "Of Other Spaces")


beamish said...


especially to someone who loves studying criminality...

Jami said...

I like this quote. It makes a lot of sense. Do you think our modern fascination with the spaceships is the same? It works less in the economic sense ... but very much in the sense of adventure and opportunity.

Laminated Fragments said...

I'm happy you liked it Beamish. Yes, I do think this could also work in terms of spaceships. I've certainly seen enough Star Trek to say that at least we think so in terms of our popular culture.

I just loved the Foucault so much because it jived with what Kestner said about Treasure Island and boats being those objects that transform gender and nation.