Black and White Photograph of Vanda Chan's wrecked houseboat 'Arcadia'

Vanda Chan's wrecked houseboat 'Arcadia'

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Black and White Photograph of Vanda Chan's wrecked houseboat 'Arcadia'

Vanda Chan's wrecked houseboat 'Arcadia'

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Black and White Photograph of 'Arcadia'  reconstructed by Derek Tyman and Andy Webster

'Arcadia'  reconstructed by Derek Tyman and Andy Webster

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Arcadia Radio Flyer

Arcadia Radio Flyer

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In July 1985, independent-minded environmentalist Vanda Chan set off in Arkadia, her home-made houseboat, to sail the short distance from Pulawat towards Pulpap Atolls (Micronesia). A storm however caused her to change course and the houseboat hit rocks close to an uninhabited island. Chan believed she would be found quickly, but her solitude would last over 8 months before she was rescued.

Chan managed to salvage a few personal artefacts including an old atlas (by the radical geographer Élisée Reclus **), a cassette player, a broken ship radio, and most importantly, a box of recordings of radio broadcasts which had accompanied her on previous expeditions. The radio was irreparable, but she managed to fix the onboard solar panel system to power the cassette player. To pass time, and what would become a regular daily routine, Chan would browse through the Reclus atlas whilst playing the tapes.

In complete solitude, she became engrossed in listening to and making playlists of the recordings and this became a catalyst for undertaking imaginary travel, where her only option was to look towards her own imagination. The tapes were no longer simply a collection of songs but virtually prompted her to move from place to place and imagine the future.

Artists Derek Tyman and Andy Webster are interested in the potentials for music, certain key recordings and related structures to act as platforms to reimagine what future life might be like.

For the project So The Red Rose they used the photos of the Arcadia as a guide to reconstruct Vanda Chan’s storm damaged houseboat by the coast in Cornwall, England***. They invited artists, musicians, composers and curators to respond to Chan’s story, the imagined reconstructed house-boat, and to produce their own recorded audio journeys.

These audio journeys were broadcast from Cornwall daily, to the Kunstverein, Ebersberg, and from there to the public as part of the Arkadien Festival “Where is the way to Arcadia please?”. The tannoy used for the broadcasts in Ebersberg was formally used on the The Berliner Fernsehturm.

Notes:

* In 1985, three members of the band ‘Duran Duran’ formed a side project called Arcadia and released the album So The Red Rose. Needless to say, the radical potential of the album name and the significance of the Red Rose as a symbol of socialism were left unexplored. The album went platinum.

** Reclus advocated nature conservation and bioregionalism. His ideas are seen by many as anticipating modern social ecology.

*** The original plan was to do this in Ebersberg but they were blown off course by the pandemic.

For more info: https://sotheredrose.org/

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