Misha Waks's Portfolio


“Dead Ship” 

Bruno Traven in his book “The Death Ship” calls the title ship Yorikke or the Death Ship interchangeably (for me Dead Ship) . The first name ironically refers to the jester Yoiric, whose skull is addressed by Hamlet with the question “To be or not to be.” The second name tells about the destiny of the ship and its fate. Hamlet’s question to his friend’s skull remains unanswered, but leaves a choice that the crewmen boarding Traven are left without. They cease to exist for the world, which reminds them of the inscription taken from the divine comedy “Who enters here / his name and existence is erased. / It passes, / there will be no sigh left of it. ” Thus, they share the fate of Hamlet’s Yoiric, whose fate no one really remembers and whose fate no one cares about. 

For me, B. Traven’s book is a description of a situation with no exit, into which we enter consciously or unconsciously. The ship of death, which we often board against our will and we are stuck with it for the rest of our lives. It is a reference to our career choices or other decisions that determine our lives. Although the author himself spoke in his book about the problem of bureaucracy, statelessness and exploitation brought to us by capitalism, for me today this view is even more relevant and the conclusions drawn from his reflections can be applied more broadly to life on our planet, we will exploit it in such a way that it may become such a monstrous ship for all of us.

Looking back, our species will not survive more than a few thousand years, during this time we will use all resources, thus condemning entire generations to live and work in inhuman conditions … and it is happening before our eyes. Despite bold plans to conquer space, we will not be able to “get off” our planet. It means for us, if not complete destruction, it is certainly a hard or very difficult life. In the era of the ecological crisis, we deal with the powdering of reality, while accepting the fact that we ourselves have become products and that we are treated as such by corporations, politicians or each other.

12.06-05.07.2021 Warsaw