In what is being described as both "delightful and absurd," the S.S. Hangover is setting sail for The Contemporary's Laguna Gloria this spring. Part sculpture, part performance, part endurance test, the S.S. Hangover by artist Ragnar Kjartansson is a fully immersive sensory art experience that will leave you buzzing.
Running on select weekend dates from April 7 through May 6, the restored Icelandic fishing boat sets sail with six brass musicians dressed in cocktail attire for a four-hour journey around the lagoon. As the sails billow and the boat continues to cruise, the musicians continue to play ... and play ... and play.
Composed by former Sigur Ros member Kjartan Sveinsson, the ethereal score is performed nonstop by members of Density512, Austin's contemporary chamber orchestra collective. Though a dream-like experience for attendees, it's designed to "[test] the performers' endurance as the vessel circles in the water again and again."
"The work seems simple at first, but the more you consider what you are seeing and hearing, the 'curiouser' this nautical oddity begins to seem," explains Andrea Mellard, The Contemporary Austin's director of public programs and community engagement, in a release. "When does a performance become a sculpture and when does a sculpture become a performance? As the playfully impossible performance enters its second, third, or fourth hour, how can those musicians keep playing?"
In his artist's statement, Kjartansson said he took inspiration for the S.S. Hangover from the 1935 American film Remember Last Night?, in which a group of friends attempts to recall details of a murder they were too drunk to remember.
Laguna Gloria is just the latest of many high-profile ports for the S.S. Hangover. Kjartansson's piece debuted at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013 and then took a turn through New York City's Central Park in 2015.
The ultimate trip to nowhere sets sail April 7, 8, 14, 15, and 28 and May 5 and 6 from 11 am-3 pm. A special sunset performance will take place on April 22 from 4-8 pm. When it's not sailing, the ship will be docked and on display on the shores of Laguna Gloria.
Admission to Laguna Gloria is free for Contemporary Austin members, military, and kids under 18; $5 for adults; and $3 for students.