Contingency Research Platform

A sea kayak to conduct creative sustainable research in and about the sea, made using post-industrial, post-bureaucratic flotsam (suits, desk, computer…)

Just like the traditional West Greenland designs which I studied and adapted, local contingencies determined which resources were most appropriate. My intention was to use a construction approach which was resilient and adaptable to uncertain changing environments.

In a post-industrial, post-bureaucratic world sealskin and driftwood are not the most sustainable materials to make a kayak… What are?
post-bureaucratic flotsam
Useable resources for making a kayak

This build was dependent upon the following resources being available:

  • Internet
  • World Wide Web
  • Personal computer
  • Operating system
  • Web browser
  • Remote payment system
  • Stable, accepted currency
  • 1 solid wood desk
  • 3 suits
  • 35m polyester thread
  • Discarded computer parts
  • 30ml epoxy resin
  • 35miles motor transportation
  • 35 twin thread zinc coated woodscrews
  • 25 minutes machine tool power
  • 80 hours physical labour and problem solving

 

Process:

Use internet to learn diy kayak building

Sea kayaks are based upon traditional Arctic designs. Both the Aleutian baidarka and the Inuit qayaq (also spelt qajaq) were traditionally made using a ‘skin on frame’ method with very local resources and ingenious tooling. Materials included seal skin driftwood, bone, antler or traded timber. The ‘ribs’ were hand bent, using a pot of hot water.

The use of locally appropriate materials, open and shared skillset and ingenious tooling can be translated to other locations to explore resilient and ecological access to marine environments. Such vessels can then be used to deploy research equipment.

Locate the desk from local source. 

Desk transported 35miles

Break down timber. Cut desktop into 15 strips, to be bent and joined into 1 keel and 4 ‘stringers’.

 

Mark and cut bulkheads.

 

Construct steamer to steam bend the ‘stringers’ and ‘keel’.

 

Strip out wire from computers to lash together the frame, mounted on a ‘strongback’ jig made from drawers and other spares

 

Fillet suits into panels, as Inuit used seal skins. Sew together suit ‘skins’

 

Sew skins onto frame

waterproof the kayak with wax and linseed oil.

Waste (less 1% loss during manufacturing) was rerouted to other uses and is no longer part of this project

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