This is likely one of those things you have to see for yourself to fully comprehend it.
The Contemporary Austin’s latest art installation at Laguna Gloria is a boat. A restored Icelandic fishing boat, that is, that will actually set sail. And on it, musicians will play for several hours.
Dubbed the "S.S. Hangover," the charming hand-painted boat will cruise around the lagoon for four hours over the coming weekends, starting April 7, with six brass musicians from Austin’s Density512 performing "an ethereal score." Does that sound a little wild? It should. The Contemporary Austin is calling the sound sculpture from Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson "both delightful and absurd."
The "S.S. Hangover" is likely going to test the endurance of Density512, a local contemporary chamber orchestra collective, but for audiences listening to the music as the boat meanders around and around the lagoon, it serves a different purpose.
"As the title suggests, the dizzying, daydream-like performance suggests both the hazy after-effects of a night of celebration and an inspiring, romantic, and melancholy metaphor for the passage of time," according to the Contemporary Austin.
This weekend won’t be the first time the "S.S. Hangover" has set sail. The boat made a maiden voyage in 2013 at the 55th Venice Biennale and also provided performances on the water of New York's Central Park in 2015.
Kjartansson's longtime collaborator Kjartan Sveinsson, formerly of the band Sigur Rós, composed the score that Density512 will perform. And it’s going to be a performance you want to see, according to the Contemporary Austin.RELATED:Imagine a new entrance at Laguna Gloria
"The work seems simple at first, but the more you consider what you are seeing and hearing, the 'curiouser' this nautical oddity begins to seem. Did these musicians just come from a cocktail party? Is this boat Venetian? Grecian? Scandinavian?" Andrea Mellard, director of public programs and community engagement at museum, said in a news release.
She added: "When does a performance become a sculpture and when does a sculpture become a performance? As the playfully impossible performance enters its second, third, or fourth hour, how can those musicians keep playing? Or can they?"
"S.S. Hangover" creator Kjartansson devised his multimedia piece after watching the 1935 American film "Remember Last Night?," according to his artist statement. The movie is about a group of friends that try to piece together the details of a murder they were too drunk to remember.
The boat will set sail in the lagoon off the shore Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 7-8, 14-15, 28 and May 5-6, with an additional 4 to 8 p.m. April 22 performance as part of this year’s Fusebox Festival. And if you’re not able to be there at those times, it will be docked and visible from the shoreline through June 3.
For more information, visit thecontemporaryaustin.org.
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