BIN BOAT, 2005

The Bin Boat was built with things found borrowed and stolen from the streets and alleyways surrounding the Lawrence Street Workshops, Belfast, including: three baths, two industrial wheelie bins, one wheelbarrow, one washing machine, three road signs (large), one Mr.. Lister engine (larger), three oil drums (large), one cement mixer, one gas cylinder, one sound system (largest).

Nicholas Keogh and Paddy Bloomer were amongst fourteen artists picked by Hugh Mulholland to take part in ‘The Nature of Things’, Northern Ireland’s participation in the 51st Venice Biennale. They were commissioned by Hugh Mulholland to make a new work specific to Venice for ‘A Long Weekend’.

Nicholas first came up with the idea of a ‘Bin Disco Boat’ after returning from a trip to Rathlin Island during 2004. He felt it was clear that the single most useful thing to have in Venice was a boat and it was essential for this boat to have an on-board disco.

The aesthetics of the boat were influenced by the vehicles featured in the 1968-1969 cartoon ’Wacky Races’ and by the boat featured in the 1971 film ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory’. The boat is two birth and the interior was influenced by the submarine featured in the 1954 film, ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’ written by Jules Verne.

Nicholas built the boat with Paddy Bloomer in The Lawrence Street Workshops, Belfast. It took six months of intensive work to build. The work was often non-stop twenty four hours around the clock, Nicholas doing the day-shift and Paddy taking the night-shift. The British Council paid for the boat to be transported to Venice where the pair sailed it around the canals of Venice and surrounding islands for seven weeks as part of Northern Ireland’s participation in the Venice Biennale.

The boat was named ‘Marmalade’ after the poet Michael Gabriel, a great influence and cousin of Nicholas. Michael was due to be the guest of honour on Marmalade’s maiden voyage along the Grand Canal. Michael Died before the boat reached Venice. He is still missed.

Guests on the boat included:

Torsten Lauschmann with ‘Cold Water Quartet’

Barry Cullen with BEW, Barry’s Electric Workshop

David Holmes

Building a ‘Bin Disco Boat’ would not have been possible without the support of Martin Carter and the Lawrence Street Workshops, Belfast.

A special thanks to Rene Fehrmann for his hard work and electrical excellence.