Mare Liberum is a freeform boatbuilding and waterfront art collective, based in Brooklyn, NY. For our next project, in partnership with the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, New York we will spend two weeks on the Saint Lawrence River building a human powered watercraft inspired by the museum’s collection. We are raising money to fund public activities during our residency at the museum, and to allow us to bring audiences from the communities on the St. Lawrence and NYC to participate in the fun.
For the past five years, we have designed beautiful, quick and low cost boats to make it easy for people to get out on the water.
The project is rooted in centuries-old stories of urban water squatters and haphazard boat builders, Mare Liberum is a collaborative exploration of what it takes to make viable aquatic crafts as an alternative to life on land. We draw from sources as diverse as ocean-crossing raft assemblages, improvised refugee boats, and modern stitch-and-ply construction methods which make complex, classic boat designs approachable by novice builders.
Since 2008, we have built plywood boats based on the design of the historic Banks Dory, rafts out of found building materials and kayaks out of bamboo and canvas. We have published instructional guides to building these watercraft which we distribute to the public. We have shown our boats and broadsheets at galleries and museums including the Neuberger Art Museum, EFA Project Space, the Gowanus Studio Space, and MASSMoCA.
Our boats have a way of becoming a part of other artist’s water-based projects, such as:
- SeaWorthy NYC: Various Venues in New York City, NY- In New York City, the challenge was to bring a public beyond the water’s edge, to revisit the history of maritime New York City and look toward the future when climate change threatens to redefine the city’s shoreline. SeaWorthy NYC was a multi-venue curatorial project which brought together over three-dozen artists and provided support and public programming which enabled artists to produce projects for and on the city’s waterways. Mare Liberum created new work for this project, and, with Flux Factory, the Gowanus Studio Space and the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, provided the curatorial framework for the exhibition and series of programs.
- The Boatel: Far Rockaway, NY: As part of SeaWorthy NYC, we also provided two of our dories to Connie Hockaday’s summer-long project at Marina 59 where abandoned pleasure craft were converted into “hotel rooms.” Guests were treated to uncommon access to the water and a schedule of cultural events every weekend on the dock and the water. Our boats were free for the guests to use to explore the marina located on the Jamaica Bay, and boy were they used!
In conjunction with the Antique Boat Museum’s current exhibition of maritime-inspired contemporary art practices, Mare Liberum has been invited to spend two weeks in residency at the museum, to draw on the museum’s collection and resources to build a boat, run a series of public workshops and events and take part in the boating culture of the area.
We are raising money to fund public activities and bring audiences from the communities on the St. Lawrence and NYC to participate in the fun.
Please support us, and if you can, come and be a part of the project.
Stephan, Ben, Dylan, Jean and Meg
Of Mare Liberum
[Special thanks to Elizabeth Weinberg, Julie Platner and Susannah Tantemsapya for images of the project!]
- (26 days)