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125 + 125 points

Helen by Lincøln, Bastard

June 10th, 2009 8:02 AM / Location: 30.287507,-97.78589

INSTRUCTIONS: Launch a thousand ships.

Or, burn the topless towers of Ilium.

Lincoln spent about two months in Austin and wanted to do some tasking, and when he and The Bastard were thinking of tasks to do, they both thought "Why not launch 1000 ships?" So we went about doing that.

The hardest part was the folding of 1000 origami ships. This took over three weeks, maybe as many as four or five. We didn't really count. We mostly folded during Laker playoff games. We found we couldn't do it while watching movies, as it was too distracting. But for all seven Houston games and the six Denver games, we folded ships. It seemed like we would never finish. 1000 is a really big number. Doing anything 1000 times is wearing. Monotony was a constant companion. But we plowed through. And we folded all 1000. Actually we folded 1006. Just in case we lost some or whatever. But we didn't lose any, and whatever didn't happen. We managed to launch all 1006 ships.

I packed all of the ships into a big red cooler, and early one morning before the sun came up, we headed out to Lake Austin to launch us 1000 ships.

The sun was just rising as we started, and as we were finishing an hour later, was when the dog walking crowd came out. We had a lot of spectators and a few asked us questions. One man asked us if we were doing it for SCIENCE! and I told him that yes we were. Also art. I used the word aesthematics, but he didn't understand. He said it was one of the best things he'd seen in a very long time. There was one woman who asked a lot of questions and hung around for a very long time and took a lot of pictures, and I directed her to this site, and maybe she'll find this task.

I would love to sum up how I feel about the whole adventure, but I'm glad to not be folding any more ships and happy to have it submitted after a lot of time working on it. I just hope you enjoy what we put out into the world. I know this doesn't come close to the experience of seeing all of those ships sailing out there in the world, but it's all you get, I tried to take as much video and as many photos as I thought would be interesting. Enjoy!

+ larger

There they go
Pile o' ships.
Same pile, different day.
How to make 1000 origami ships
Neatly folded.
The pile gets larger.
A few rode shotgun
The launch site.
Open wide
That's where they're headed.
Don't watch this.
There they go
Venturing forth
More join in.
And more.
And more.
Close up of a lot of ships.
Bastard launching ships.
On their way
A lot of boats
Will they ever get out?
Ship POP
Ship POP
there they go!
Ducks like ships
Brave soldier
Two is the loneliest number...

26 vote(s)

Favorite of:


spreadsf0, science, art, casyj, boat, water, beautiful

18 comment(s)

kudos x 1000
posted by MonkeyBoy Dan on June 10th, 2009 9:23 AM

Just brilliant.

*Simple bold idea realised through dedication.

*Aesthetcally pleasing result.

*Well documented.

*Spreads sf0.


I was semi-seriously considering creating a sock puppet account so I could vote for it twice.

(no subject)
posted by teucer on June 10th, 2009 9:56 AM

Boat Bath: nearly the very definition of win.

I love it!
posted by done on June 10th, 2009 10:35 AM

You should add team SCIENCE!

Litteriing + Loveliness: Voting Moral Pang +1
posted by Bex. on June 10th, 2009 12:37 PM

What about the Nature??

Fine point +4
posted by Lincøln on June 10th, 2009 1:33 PM

I thought about that too.
We used recycled paper which is biodegradable.
I did a test to see how well it does in water. I made a boat out of a piece of our paper (after using it to take some notes) and put it in a stopped up sink.
The next morning, there wasn't much difference except that it laid down.
Then that night as I put more water in the sink, the motion of the new water caused the boat to break apart.
The next day, as I refilled the slowly leaking sink once more, it completely dissolved.
I'm sure if I'd continued to see it dissolve for longer periods, it would have just disappeared completely.
I'm sure it's at the bottom of the river by now acting as fertilizer for some river plant.
I suppose I should have included these photos and this explanation in the task, but I forgot about that test boat and the fact that I'd done the test, it was so long ago now. I'm lucky I still had those photos on my phone.

(no subject)
posted by rongo rongo on June 10th, 2009 2:20 PM

It is particularly thorough and cool, that you tested out what would happen to the boats.

biome approved.
posted by saille is planting praxis on June 11th, 2009 12:41 PM

yay! I tentatively voted for this while worrying about the biodegradability or lack thereof of the boats, and forgot to ask. This makes me much, much happier about my vote.

(no subject)
posted by Burn Unit on June 12th, 2009 3:26 PM

(after using it to take some notes)

and made ink tea

(no subject)
posted by Sombrero Guy on June 10th, 2009 12:45 PM


If vote points could go higher, I'm not sure I'd know where to stop...

(no subject)
posted by rongo rongo on June 10th, 2009 2:22 PM

Wow is right.
(But I have to ask...were you at all tempted to write messages or anything on the paper before folding the boats? It would have been poetic to think of all the words, mixing together, drifting around, and then sinking to the bottom.)

(no subject)
posted by Lincøln on June 10th, 2009 2:34 PM

I wrote messages on many of the boats.
I documented none of them.
Most of the messages were personal and nobody will ever see them, and that's the way I intended it, and that's the way it'll stay.

I did write SFØ on a few of the bows in case somebody happened to find them.

(no subject)
posted by rongo rongo on June 16th, 2009 6:36 PM

That's the beauty...that nobody will ever see them. Awesome.

(no subject) +1
posted by Ben Yamiin on June 11th, 2009 3:11 PM

if there was a lincoln stereotype, it would be 'unstoppable'.

and 'nudity.'

(no subject)
posted by Goddess of Doom and Thievery on June 15th, 2009 5:22 AM

Lol Lincoln gets naked again.

That is a lot of boats. this is an epic task. you are win

Does anyone remember...
posted by rongo rongo on June 16th, 2009 6:42 PM

a praxis where several people launched a candle for every member of UoA? I can't remember the task or the taskers.

(no subject)
posted by Lincøln on June 16th, 2009 6:44 PM

I remember it well.

Your post made me think of this. +1
posted by teucer on June 16th, 2009 7:05 PM

Those cloudy skies...
The night was clear.
That Bach theme tune...
'Twas Mozart, dear

Ah yes - I remember it well.

(no subject)
posted by Dragon on July 8th, 2009 6:33 AM

that's so epic my face just fell off