Duckumentary 44.7ºN, 178.1ºE
A film by Patrick Gofre & Marga Houtman, 2008, 42 mn 48s.
When, in 2003, visual artist Marga Houtman read a newspaper report about the fate of thousands of plastic toy ducks lost overboard in 1992 during a storm on the Pacific, she became both fascinated and compassionate.
In 2005 she created the Mother Duck, a gigantic plastic duck 2.5 metres in length, that sets out to find her children.
Patrick Gofre (visual artist and film maker) and Marga Houtman filmed the quest. Among other places, they landed in Cornwall where – just as along the Dutch coast – people expect that in the near future some of the plastic ducks that were shipwrecked in 1992 will come ashore.
The adventurous journey made by the little ducks over the world’s seas had also awakened the interest of oceanographers, since any ducks that might come ashore could help to map the ocean currents.
In addition to the search carried out on beaches and on the sea, the biggest duck race in the world was also visited, and a number of scientists had burning questions put to them, such as: what is the origin of the plastic duck as a bath time toy? Where do the warm feelings come from that a toy duck calls up in young and old?
It is not just Gofre and Houtman who are fascinated by the phenomenon of the plastic duck: the public was captivated everywhere the artists turned up with the mother duck.
And then you have the collectors. One of them said that the plastic ducks help him in the struggle against ageing and conformity.
This film demonstrates more than clearly that the plastic duck is not just a children’s toy.