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Video of the installation, opening and concert. 

Once Upon a Time (Ship Totem) above left with the Ship of Tolerance above right

on Lake Zug just south of Zurich, Switzerland

    Once Upon A Time (Ship Totem)​

     Villette-Park Cham, just south of Zurich, Switzerland (September 10, 2016 through March 2017)

Size: 18 ft. x 18 ft. x 10 ft.

Materials:  eight locally sourced spruce poles, 480 8 inch acrylic and steel

convex full dome safety mirrors and assorted metal hardware

Once Upon A Time (Ship Totem)

Installed in the Villette-Park in Cham on Lake Zug, just south of Zurich, Switzerland. World renowned artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov asked Remec to create Once Upon A Time (Ship Totem) specifically for the Ship of Tolerance project, which is sponsored by the Kunsthaus Zug. Its title alludes to a familiar opening for children’s fairy tales. Remec observes that very similar versions of this opening language exist in almost all the major languages and cultures around the world and, equally common, the subsequent tale usually ends with a version of “and they lived happily ever after.” How can so many people, sharing such a common childhood fantasy, grow up with such divisive and intolerant beliefs?  The issue resonates with Remec, a first generation immigrant, whose parents were refugees from Slovenia after WWII.

The work consists of eight ten-foot-high wooden poles covered in almost five hundred eight-inch dome steel and acrylic mirrors. The wood poles are arranged in a circle about 16 feet across in a fairy tale like setting in a park off lake Zug at the foot of the Alps. Standing in the circle or near the work, one sees millions of different reflections of the Ship of Tolerance, themselves, the crowds around them and the overall surroundings. Reflections of hope and what might be?

The Ship of Tolerance 

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov's first realized the Ship of Tolerance project in the oasis town of Siwa in Egypt in 2005.  The Ship of Tolerance has appeared nine times since in such widely diverse locations as Venice, St Moritz, Havana, Miami, Moscow, New York and now Zug. The Kabakov's seek to bring people of different continents, cultures and identities together by actively involving them in the project.  Kunsthaus Zug and the internationally renowned artists are laying down a marker for tolerance and respect in the current, very difficult situation in world politics. The Ship of Tolerance is a strong symbolic metaphor which is accessible for everyone whatever the educational or cultural background.

​Mounted on a raft, the wooden ship is some 20 meters long, 5 1/2 meters wide with a mast 11 meters high and will circulate around Lake Zug. The sail is made up of 120 individually painted elements. Some 115 school classes from public and private schools ranging in age from kindergarten to upper school, as well as vocational schools and numerous social organizations participated. A key element of the project's concept is the exploration of the topic of tolerance in school classes in the year before the opening under the direction of the Kunsthaus Zug's museum education department. The children and teens visualize their personal messages on the theme and in June they painted sail pictures based on their ideas. Some one thousand sail pictures were produced, and not only bedeck the Ship of Tolerance but are also presented in public installations in the city of Zug.