Ghost is a kayak, a sculpture as vessel. It was originally made in 2010 to carry passengers to Deadman’s Island, a small island off the isle of Sheppey in the muddy waters of the Thames Estuary. Hand built to Chodzko’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.
A rower sits in the back of the two-person kayak, like a ferryman, and a passenger is carried in the front, lying low as if in a cradle or coffin, with their head slightly raised. Ghost has a small video camera in the bow, generating a record of each voyage. Since 2010, Ghost has travelled along the River Medway and the River Tamar, through the Olympic Park in London, along the Tyne and in creeks through Essex. In each location members of the public are carried in a reclining position, in a state between waking and sleeping.
Adam Chodzko made three visits to Cornwall for Groundwork, taking passengers on voyages in May, June and September. In May, at the beginning of the Groundwork programme, Ghost made voyages to Frenchman’s Creek from Helford Village on the Helford River and to Gillan Creek from the hamlet of St Anthony, resting between voyages in the small church of St Anthony-in-Meneage.
In June Adam Chodzko returned to take passengers on voyages on Restronguet Creek from Point and on the River Fowey from Golant. And finally, in September, Ghost took young people out on Trevassack Lake on the Lizard peninsula, and on a flooded clay pit near St Austell, as well as returning to the Helford River and the River Fowey.
From 11 to 22 September Ghost was exhibited in Helston Town Band Room, along with footage recorded on voyages on the Helford River, Gillan Creek, Restronguet Creek and the River Fowey. Recordings of imagery and sound (from inside Ghost and beneath the water using hydrophones) are edited to convey the layers of experiences of each passage, through different moments of time, tide, weather, season and light, to evoke the particularity of Ghost’s (and each passenger’s) flowing encounters with the complexities of a place.
This film is an edited compilation of several different passages on the Helford River: Ghost Archive VI (Water: Helford River, Frenchman’s Creek, Cornwall), single screen video with sound, 18 mins 15 secs, courtesy of Adam Chodzko.