THE SHIP THAT NEVER PASSED, 43:58 min. HD, documentary
Film Synopses “The ship that never passed” is a documentary film, which accompanies the artist Aleksander Spasoski during the preparation and realization of a powerful 12,000Watt sound installation in Munich under the Reichenbachbrücke on the banks of the River Isar in 2013. Choosing a location, which has no shipping, Spasoski reproduces the sound of a ships horn in order to stimulate the audience's imagination. Transforming an audio sensation into a visual picture. The Film dramatically and with a great humor documents all the obstacles encountered, including the bureaucratic difficulties, technical challenges and the unpredictability of the weather. The project was also performed In Skopje, Macedonia 2012. It has since opened many curatorial questions regarding the historical and political issues of this country.

 

Anchored to Dry Land Sometimes, at an exhibition, some work of art (although very rare not only in our country, but abroad as well) will stimulate me to sense and experience it, extracting the analytic and interpreting position of “my craft” (Bojan Ivanov’s idiom) in the approach towards that work of art. It wasn’t much different at the recent opening of Igor Toševski’s exhibition Love Undefined in the Modern Arts Museum in Skopje, when I was taken by the atmosphere in the space created by the broadcasting of an old radio recording (or speech, for that matter). However, on 26th June something happened to me, which has not occurred for a long time on the Macedonian art scene: the work titled The Ship that Never Passed by Aleksandar Spasoski (within the exhibition Skopje Urban Tales 5: Emiter ‘Skopje’ by the curator Bojana Janeva-Šemova) literally made me: 1) return to the Stone Bridge once more and 2) sit on the steps of the banks near the Vardar River, not able nor willing to go away. Nevertheless, the most important thing here was (which is the emphasis of this stance) that my 3) sensing and experiencing it, pulled me to a state of analytical interpretation, encompassing the discursiveness of the work of art observed! [My first similar experience (I would not like to list all of them, although rare and few) was when back in 1980, right at noon, I was walking through the Propylene gateway of the Athenian Acropolis, in all the splendor of its white Pentelic marble, when I saw – the Parthenon… I have recollected this event many times later on in my life trying to find the answer to what happened to me at that moment, particularly after I started studying art history. I realized much later that this was not due to the lack of experience and the ignorance of my 17 years of age at the time, but it was due to the power of art…] Why do I think so? Because Spasoski has managed to put together and arrange in supreme interrelation the fundamental elements of each great work of art: the simple language that through the speech will create complex and multilayered rhetoric. [For those who were not present: the whole work consists of a very powerful, intrusive horn sound resembling the large cargo ship horn sounds with long breaks, using a strong (and powerful) sound system set under the Stone Bridge, and that was pretty much it.] Why do I think so? First of all, because the selection of the location, the time of the day, the surrounding, the possible visual match with the simple supplement of the artist (the sound) are very powerful in transferring such a complex and layered message, without using the up-to-date and increasingly more frequent braces or crutches of contemporary art (leaflets with explanation, instructions for use, textual legends, reading directions, verbal clarifications by the artist…). The language is a strictly determined sound, played by a river and heard from the top of a bridge. Other elements and meanings attach to this setting, such as: a bridge – transition from one to another side, the modern constructions on both sides of the river banks, including the anchored aside Yugoslavian ship “Skopje”, the inevitable view to the west and the sunset (at the end of the day) which goes beyond the preconceived and seriously threatened and attacked architectonic and urban modernism (the towers and the blocks from the City Wall, the buildings of the Post Office 2, the Macedonian Telecommunication building, ELEM, the Government of Macedonia’s building, the Goce Delchev Bridge…). (Image 1). This provokes the speech that points at the necessary contextualization (although regional) and directs towards a rhetoric reading of this work of art. In the very reading of this kind we can attain the complex and layered message of Spasoski: the view westwards becomes a view towards the West, hued with romantic sensitivity, but also from the innumerable current absurdities, with imposed rationalization exhorted possible solution: to leave this chaos caused by the ideological terror, the artistic lack of taste, and the violent identity engineering, from the usurpation of the political space in the public sphere. A solution which should be reached standing on the top of the bridge accompanied with the Shakespeare-Clash eternal Macedonian dilemma: “Should I stay or should I go?” Why do I think so? Because behind the simple sound of the horn, not by incident, the romantic timing is also selected (sunset), and its ideological construct of national states; through the rejected recent past (the anchor aside) and the doing-up of the masterpieces of the Macedonian modernistic architectonic idea, which should, altogether, be replaced by the new identity projection, manifested through (the craziest idea that the creators and supporters of the project Skopje 2014 could come up with) – the galleons (rafts) of the mayor Trajanovski. (Image 2) In this very element (the galleons) Spasoski recognizes and constructs his position: to emphasize the parody of the idea for the galleons (and for the whole project in total), he chooses not any kind of ship, but the largest cargo ship, the kind that could never harbor here. All of this leads to a paradox situation: the more cargo ship anchors Skopje has, and the more Spasoski’s “cargo ship” calls you to board it and leave this and such Skopje “to the world beyond’, the more the Vardar River, as incapable of taking transport vessels, defies that! (Image 3) Due to the fact that the river is to shallow for transport vessels, this artistic “ship” will never arrive, nor take us away from here. This work of art is an ode to the ship that has never passed, nor will ever pass through here… and therefore: we are all left here, where we are, anchored to dry land… Because of all this, and because of the piles of artworks created in our country in the recent years, particularly in the first half of this year (founded most often on the incentive), this work of art deserves my complete critical attention. Because of the fact that Spasoski creates the power of the art/artistic through the simplicity of the form at the same time, as well as the complex and layered contextualizing meanings that result. [As a complement to the other authors and their works from the exhibition Skopje Urban Tales 5: Emiter Skopje, I would offer my position as such: the other works… so and so… partially and problematically urban (Marija Sotirovska), partially and problematically conceptualized (Darko Aleksovski), and partially and problematically communicated (Boris Šemov).] Prof. d-r Nebojsha Vilic