Viking ship in the water in a covered canal setting
Ragnar Kjartansson
Icelandic, b. Reykjavík, 1976
S.S. Hangover
Two-channel video; color; sound; 2:46 hours
Joseph H. Hirshhorn Purchase Fund, 2016 (16.13)
Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson combines theater and music with experiments in repetition and endurance. Commissioned for the 55th Venice Biennale, S.S. Hangover follows a hand-painted boat as it sails in circles on a Venetian lagoon. The vessel carries six brass musicians who play a lyrical score by the contemporary composer Kjartan Sveinsson on repeat for several hours. Kjartansson filmed the boat on its daily six-hour journey between two docks over ten days, documenting its meandering path to nowhere. The drawn-out movement and melancholy soundtrack inspire what Kjartansson terms “divine boredom,” each repetition of the cruise disrupting notions of linear time.