Living oN Water

What we are doing:
We are at the beginning of a multi-year project about/around/with people who choose to live aboard boats in Auckland, with a focus on the Waitematā Harbour. Part sociological and ecological investigation and part creative and aesthetic exploration through the project we will consider the social, environmental, physical, political and emotional aspects of choosing to live part or all of your life on the water. We are both concerned with the specificity of living on the water and how this enables us to reflect on the wider world. 

This project will happen in a number of stages, of which this the first one – the scoping phase. Where we work out with other people what form this intellectual, visual and social inquiry might take, what methods it might use and where the words, films, actions and activities arising from it might be shared.

We are taking a transmedia approach to the project. This includes a focus on non-linear story telling and presentation across multiple platforms and mediums which means there are multiple pathways through a subject for an audience

Possible mediums we might use include: 

Film and/or video – This can range from creating a documentary film to screened in cinemas, online to creating the cinema itself – a DIY boat cinema in the harbour
Print based material – texts written by the collective, photos and pre existing documents
Co-created social exchanges, performances, and/or on water actions
Website containing multi media (films, text, image, audio)
2d and/or 3d creations shown in gallery 
Things we haven’t yet thought of 
All of the above

Our commitments to you for Stage One, background and planning:

We won’t predetermine the outcome and creation methods of the project in stage one, we will brainstorm with you to imagine what they could be. 
We will keep you up to date with the project over its development, unless you opt out of updates.
Anything you tell us will be treated as confidential* unless you give us permission to use it.
With your permission, we will acknowledge your contribution to the project. 
If you no longer want to be involved we will respect your choice.

* The exception to this is if breaking confidentiality is necessary to avert a serious threat to someone’s health or safety. We won’t do this lightly and our disclosure will be to the most appropriate person who can do something about the threat.

Who we are:  

Melissa Laing is an artist based in West Auckland. In 2013 she built a row boat from a book and has been hanging out on the water in it since then. She’s also a researcher, curator and producer working in community arts and urbanism. You can find out about her here:

Robin Paulson lives on a boat. He trained as an engineer before realising that humans are more interesting than pieces of steel and timber, prompting a complete re-evaluation of his life and taking the decision to study sociology. He has since extricated himself as much as possible from the dominant capitalist/property system, although this is a work in progress. He currently uses a community workshop Hackland to repair and improve his living situation and occasionally makes what one might generously term artworks, in the form of timber sculptures.

This project is currently being created independently of any institution, however it has received support from Creative NZ for Stage One. Over the course of the project we will likely partner with galleries, museums, film festivals and community organisations to develop and present parts of the final project. Some of these organisations will be government or local government funded. 

How to contact us.
The best person to contact with questions or changes to your participation is Melissa
You can contact her on or 0211829451.

version 1.01 published 29 July 2020