One of my favourite books is Cervantes Don Quixote. I read it at an age when I was just passing from the shelter of childhood dreams to grim reality. The concept of unrelenting desire not bound by almost certain failure has lingered with me.
It's also a key part of the final work of Bas Jan Ader, In Search of the Miraculous. He set sail in a 13 foot sailboat(the Ocean Wave) with the aim of crossing the Atlantic in 1975, blurring the borders between life and art. Three weeks into the voyage, radio contact was lost and the Ocean Wave was found after 10 months, floating partially submerged 150 miles West-Southwest of the Irish coast. Ader was never seen again; his body never recovered.
Born in Holland in 1942, Ader experimented with film, photography, installation, and performance. Read more about Ader and his work at the links below. I discovered Ader's work through MASS MoCA exhibition The Believers which features the work of upcoming interviewees Theo Jansen and The Icelandic Love Corporation.
As a sidenote, I think Ader would have appreciated this image from Jeff Widener:
Bas Jan Ader official site
Bas Jan Ader Wiki
InDepth Arts News