Adam Chodzko - Ghost, 2010. Video still courtesy of the artist.

Adam Chodzko – Ghost, 2010Adam Chodzko – Ghost, 2010. Video still courtesy of the artist.

Adam Chodzko: Ghost

Adam Chodzko works in the poetic spaces between documentary and fiction, public and private space. Investigations into memory, archiving, and the imaginary are shaped by the act of looking.

Ghost is a custom-built kayak, hand built to Adam’s design by Glyn Edwards in Whitstable, one of very few expert wooden kayak makers in the UK. It was made from hundreds of strips of Alaskan yellow cedar, western red cedar, Fijian mahogany, oak, ash, olive and walnut, sealed with resin.

Ghost is a sculpture that arose out of a previous film work, and it is also a vessel, coffin, bed, costume and camera rig.

Ghost was designed to ferry people to the island of the dead. Deadman’s Island is a small island off the Isle of Sheppey, in the muddy waters of the Thames Estuary, and was used as a burial site for bodies of hundreds of people who had died on the prison hulks moored in the Swale in the 18th and 19th centuries. So, Ghost is a vessel for visiting the dead. Its design (the deck patterns, eyes in the hull, the position of the passenger, its cargo including wormwood seeds) was influenced by the possibility of this encounter.

A rower sat in the back of the two-man kayak, like a ferryman, and the passenger in the front. The passenger lay down low and flat, like a body in a coffin with their head slightly raised.

Ghost had a small video camera in the bow, generating a record of the journeys. This is a short clip from one of the Ghost journeys:

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– Sue Jones, 2014