'The Thames is a unique place in London to reach unsuspecting members of the public who might not normally engage with art,' Cyril de Commarque explains, speaking from his tug-boat turned floating art installation, Fluxland, at its central London mooring.
'Art and politics should belong to everyone,' the French artist adds. This sentiment forms the basis of Fluxland, which welcomes a line-up of politically prominent guest speakers, as well as projecting a haunting 14-minute soundscape – featuring recordings of warzones – on a loop.
The vessel (which has been mounted with a mirrored polyhedron) took a year's hard graft in a dutch dockyard to complete – and the result is striking. Bankside's iconic architecture drifts by and distorts in Fluxland's reflection. The 25-ft-long metallic beast can fit an audience of 50 inside, where the overpowering soundscape gives way to gentle recordings of birdsong. Regular moorings allow members of the public onto the deck and into the hold to experience this, wherein the walls are lined with maps of Israel since 1948.
This hints at what some of the topics of discussion will be about inside Fluxland. The theme, which is 'loosely centred on the intersection between progress and utopia', the artist confirms, will also discuss the politics of borders and frontiers. He concludes, 'We all feel that there's a lack in politics today, but we don't know how to talk about it.' The 'Fluxland' project is an optimistic one, providing an innovative, if slightly surreal, space for these important discussions to take place.