Melissa Laing, A Platform from which to look at the sea, 2022
MP3 audio 25 min. Tawa, pine, decking oil. 700 x 2000 x 3000mm.
In this artwork comprising two parts, Melissa Laing reinscribes the ordinary act of transit across the Waitematā Harbour as one of wayfinding through a landscape of ideas and experiences, many of them overshadowed or neglected among the multiple enterprises which animate the thoroughfare of the gulf daily.
An audio accompaniment to the ferry journey can be activated at the mainland terminal. The track weaves personal and civic histories, conceptual provocations, and ambient sound effects, all synced with the sensory experience of the passage, to give an expanded and embodied account of the Hauraki Gulf and the politics and poetics of its use and misuse.
The second component of the artwork is a platform on the headland carved to look like the ocean surface. Laing offers this part of the work as an opportunity for visitors to stand looking back to the city and reflect on the tapestry of social ecologies knitted together by this body of water as it wraps around the Auckland isthmus.