In 1818 Théodore Géricault painted The Raft of the Medusa. This 5 by 7.5 metre oil painting depicts the notorious aftermath of the wreck of the French frigate Medusa, which ran aground off the coast of West Africa in July, 1816. Some one hundred and forty of the people on board were lost.
Significant detail: Géricault also painted the sail of a second ship, barely visible in the distance. It symbolises the hope of salvation: the longed for rescue that seems so close by. This hope is just an illusion – but only the viewer who knows the full story is aware of that.
Today, more than two hundred years later, refugees are making their way towards their own hope of salvation – a better life and/or freedom – aboard such a precarious (c)raft. At the request of Ward Weis, George De Decker composed a work for 6 musicians, audio tape and video: RAFT.
In 2016 RAFT was performed in Breeven swimming pool, in Bornem (BE), by the
SP!TSBERGEN ensemble, conducted by De Decker. A live concert for a floating audience.
text: Guido De Bruyn, translation: Stephen Smith
George De Decker (composer, sound designer and conductor)
Barbara Ardenois (accordion),
Michel Labryère (double bass)
Joost Van Duppen (live electronics)
Sophie Baguet (harp)
Berlinde Deman (tuba)
music : George De Decker
video : Jeroen De Ost
project, sound-recording & production : Ward Weis