Melissa Laing – Sea water and mud (17/05/2023 – 17/06/2023)

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Please join us to celebrate the opening of Sea water and mud, a new exhibition in which Melissa Laing presents a series of prototypes for navigational aids – floating sea marks to be sounded by wake and swell of Tāmakai Makaurau’s many inlets and estuaries.



I don’t know how you’re feeling at the moment, but I’m feeling a little lost, a tad disconnected, and definitely at sea.

And the sea is not still.

I can say that portentously. Like it’s profound. But it’s also a statement of fact. The sea is defined by its motion.

There’s a train of thought that I can almost keep track of, that starts in seeming stillness in 2021, sitting on the deck of my friend’s boat, on a still mid winter day, moored in the Tāmaki inlet. Serendipitously a boat motored by setting everything in motion. A clamour of ropes and wires straining under tension and a clatter of objects swinging against each other.

It felt like there was room for a metaphor there, an inherent elasticity in the moment. If I could just follow the thought, there would be a path from that moment to here – to a collection of protoype bell buoys.

But I keep losing track of that thought, like it is too elastic to hold.

So, without further comment, I’ve made a collection of floating objects that sound.



Opens: Wednesday 17 May, 5.30pm, with refreshments by Liberty Breweries and Decibel Wines
Hours: 12 – 4pm, Tuesday – Saturday
Closes: Saturday 17 June


Special event: Sea water and mud, a floating

We invite you to join us on Saturday 27 May for a floating of Melissa’s sculptures from 12 – 2pm.

Herne Bay Cruising Club, Marine Parade Reserve.
The reserve can be accessed off Marine Parade, Herne Bay, at the corners of Upton and Wolseley Avenue.
Outer Link buses run down Jervois Road.

An announcement regarding the weather will be made via the Audio Foundation Facebook and Instagram accounts by 9am on Saturday 27 May should the forecast require it.

Tea and coffee will be provided.

In the case of bad weather this event will take place on Saturday 10 June, 11.30am – 1.30pm.


Melissa Laing is an artist, a writer and curator who explores the creative spaces between art, ethics, place and politics. With a focus on how we encounter and understand the world her work creates opportunities for people to encounter familiar and proximate places and environments in alternate ways. Recently she has built a platform from which to observe the sea with accompanying audio guide for the ferry trip to Waiheke, taken people on ‘boat dates’ on the Whau river, run walking festivals across Auckland, written stories on riding the Western train line and building a boat for Pantograph Punch, and created a transmedia exploration of the history of the National Climate Laboratory in Palmerston North.

Over her career she has exhibited internationally including at Performance Space in Sydney, Mercer Union in Toronto, Canada, Kulturzentrum Schlachthof in Bremen, Germany, and the Museu de Arte Contemporãnea do Ceará in Fortaleza Ceará, Brazil. In New Zealand she has created projects for Sculpture on the Gulf on Waiheke, the Auckland Fringe Festival, Blue Oyster in Dunedin, Enjoy Public Art Gallery in Wellington, The Physics Room in Christchurch, as well as Rm, Te Tuhi and Te Uru in Auckland.

Melissa is currently the lead researcher for the Stable Spaces initiative and the Performance Ethics Working Group. She has a PhD from the University of Sydney and her writing has been published in magazines, academic journals, and exhibition and artist catalogues.


This work has been made possible by ongoing conversations with and production support from Robin Paulson, James Littlewood and Hank Snell.