By Mark McConville
STUNNING pictures have revealed the intricate hand built houseboat that one photographer has sailed from Hamburg to Paris.
Incredible images show the exterior of the wooden houseboat as it floats along a river. Large glass windows offer views from inside while it also comes with a porch complete with a disco ball and a soap bubble machine.
Other shots show the various stages of building the boat, the spacious interior with enough room for a dinner party and the artist relaxing in bed and in a hammock.
Photographer and researcher Claudius Schulze (33), from Hamburg, Germany, built the “Eroberung des Unwahrscheinlichen” or “Conquest of the Improbable” as a floating photographic platform.
He was invited by the Hamburg Phototrinnial to be their ambassador at the photo fairs in Amsterdam and Paris and so he fitted the boat with an off-the-shelf outboard engine and embarked on a Tour-de-Europe via rivers, canals, and backwaters.
“Anyone can build a boat,” he claimed.
“The boat was built from scratch in Hamburg. It’s a catamaran with FRP floaters we built ourselves. Salvagedmaterial was used wherever possible, for example all the outside walls are built from scrap wood from the demolition of an old farm barn and all windows are obviously recycled as is the wood decking.
“Initially I wanted to also recycle wood for the inside construction but as most wood in construction was treated with heavily poisonous chemicals up to the late 90s, it proved impossible to find old wood with a provenance that guaranteed safe handling.
“The boat uses photovoltaic power; there are solar panels installed on the roof. Water is filtrated from the water the boat floats in and the toilet is a dry compost toilet.”
With no prior boat-building experience, the project seemed far-fetched when he began with the construction in March 2016, but with the clever use of recycled material and the help of skilled friends, six months and more than £6.5k later his vessel was shipshape.
As Schulze’s photographic work focuses on the state of nature and the societal changes caused by climate change and digitalisation, he sees the boat as a practical exploration of the topic, a space where he develops and tests new concepts and ideas that will eventually re-surface in his artistic work, he explains.
Schulze would like to see more affordable, undetermined spaces in Hamburg’s harbour to offer room for the city’s creative potential to unfold.
“What’s the point if an artist has a place to live but can’t afford a studio? Hamburg shouldn’t only be a residential city,” he added.
“When travelling, I sleep on the boat. It is fully equipped with a kitchen and a large bed and a sleeping couch. At home, the boat serves as my laboratory and artist studio where I work in day time.
“I built the boat while working on my work “State of Nature” (http://state-of-nature.eu/ ) about climate change, natural disasters and the extend landscape is changed to protect against them.
The boat “Conquest of the Improbable” is about the same themes: exploring alternative urbanity and radical sustainability in the age of global change.
“While my photography is built on extensive research and very concise in its execution and visuality, I follow a much more experimental approach with the boat: For me it is a laboratory to try out ideas and concepts but also the space I work in to develop and research my photography projects.”
For more information see http://claudiusschulze.com/