“What is an island? The world does not exist, there are only islands.”  Jacques Derrida, philosopher


Relation Ships – Introduction

“Every time I look out to sea, I am overwhelmed by the vastness of the horizon. I wonder how it is there to be out on the ship for days on end. On the no man‘s land of water? I had the feeling of being far away from the mainland in the Arctic Ocean on Iceland. Because of a volcanic eruption and canceled flights, there was only the possibility of returning to Europe by ship. It was winter.
I studied storm warnings, the shipping forecast, and wondered how risky it would be to be on the road for three days in winds of 8-9. I came across a map of „Marine Traffic“ on the Internet and was quite surprised at how many ships were sailing day and night in the icy waters off Iceland. „

Marine Traffic is an online location map that shows the positions of most ships on the world‘s oceans. I looked at the route of the „Norroena“. This is the passenger ship that connects Iceland with Denmark and the continent. Once a week. In almost any weather. Not far from the Norroena, I discovered a lively activity: Freighters next to passenger ships, private yachts near submarines. You can even get names and ship routes, technical data, etc. from the “Marine Traffic” fund. Some sections of the map look like busy roads at rush hour. The ships are sometimes in position in relation to each other near the coast. It looks like a gathering – at sea. I called these seemingly invisible interconnected ships „Relation ships“. Just as interpersonal relationships and networks are not always obvious and comprehensible to outsiders, the position of the ships was only visible via GPS.

In Relation ships is about recording and preserving stories about relationships. Comparable to the GPS map of the Marine Traffic Service, the texts / stories and essays in “Relationships” are snapshots – from brief, casual encounters as well as from long-term relationships. So it is the storytelling of an episode, a piece of the mosaic from the biography or appreciation of the status quo. Those involved, whom we meet on our way through life, remain anonymous; they are given different names and are claused as ship types. But why the image of the sea? Our living environment today is losing its fixed structures. Networks and interests change and become faster. The familiar familiarity disappears. Life has become noticeably volatile / changeable.

Scope: approx. 1-2 pages:
Ship data with type designation, e.g. see below: It is not mandatory, but it makes it easier for readers to grasp a few key data and thus to locate the history. The aim is to create a kind of imaginative map with stories. Presentation later in an art exhibition.


•  IMO: 07051926
•  Name: Brave Heart
•  MMSI: —
•  Vessel Type: Sailing boat
•  Summer DWT: 80kg
•  Build: 1963
•  Flag: Germany
• Home port: Lake of Constance
•  Next port: unknown




An invitation to participate:
“Relationship ships” as a participatory art project

How many people have we met in the course of our lives?
Would you like to write a few lines about one or more significant encounters / relationships?

Ships have a “personality” in them, they are like islands. Take the picture of a ship, follow your intuition and describe the course of a relationship story. As a short story, parable, essay, poem.…

The text should not be longer than 1-2 pages. It can also be done by hand be written. You can send it to us by email or by post (see legal notice). Please do not use recognizable names that resemble living people, as we are using the texts within this project (as a book / website / map of stories). Deadline: November, 30th