Bath house Sargfabrik Vienna | 2018
People like you frequent bathing establishments. They watch the colourful bathing life and enjoy it as if it were another institution of the entertainment industry. One evening in the cold, wet month of November, you are invited into a warm parallel world. Once you are inside the show bath becomes a bubble bath and reality blurs with artificial bathing romance.
Dressed in swimming costume you wander through a performance and water landscape and find yourself in a bubbling lake. Like all humans, you are looking for rest and relaxation, but imagine doing so in an environment that seems incredibly inhospitable. The shore of the salt lake is unkempt and marked by run-down industrial architecture. Chemicals flow into the water through huge pipes and form unappetising islands of foam.
On the everyday stage of the baths, your imaginary images meet the projection surface of the swimming pool. In the historically grown abundance of Viennese baths, the semi-public bathing house in the former coffin factory Maschner & Söhne in Vienna’s 14th district opens up to all for a spot of swimming. Steps lead down to a hidden place, in green-blue not far from the urban noise.
Your mobile phone is a pool. Hold it horizontally, the reflective surface is there to be dipped into.
The performance plays with moving alone in the midst of many through social places, somme filled with water, and exposes the audience to the contradiction of feelings of security and uncanniness. In the show, which encompasses the entire bathroom, Elena Carr, with and through her performers, questions the necessity of single-cabin architecture and wellness offerings.
“First impression: Ok. I can manage. Should I approach the blue-haired masked woman? I don’t because I have no idea what to say. The mobile phones flying into the pool in a high arc: Is that true? Are you going that far? Is that my phone in there now? A brief pause: No, I’m sure you don’t go that far. But you have lured me out of my reserve. I do care about my phone, especially because of all the pictures I don’t want to lose. Obviously I need a phone as a visual aid. The next experience: I don’t find athlete’s foot disgusting, in fact I find very little disgusting at all, and there’s no head cinema going on. Nevertheless, I find the situation on the massage divan with swinging feet unpleasant. I don’t really know what to say and decide to flee forward. Afterwards I would have preferred to say less, especially because the camera is rolling. Attack on my privacy successful, but different from what I thought. Quite different in the sauna. Sweaty skin rubbing against sweaty skin in an oversized T-shirt: I don’t mind at all, I even find it pleasant. Erotic feelings do not arise, which I am quite happy about. I would have hated to expose myself to that. The webbed latex gloves remind me of bloodied hands – without a concrete image in my mind’s eye. In any case, I don’t feel like a fish in primordial soup. And then there’s the brutal curiosity: the story about the Berlin restaurant with the aquarium and the bathing mermaids is new to me, a nice story to tell. But I realise that I have something to gain from the nakedness of others, so the bathing establishment becomes a show aquarium for me, and I’m right in the middle of it. So that’s how it is.”
Concept & artistic direction Elena Carr
Direction and production assistance Franziska Schindler
Performer Anna Sophie Adelt, Kitti Asztalos, Elena Carr, Christa Durun, Daniela Fessl, Aurelia van Kempen, Kilian Klapper, Johannes Krenner, Caroline Schindler, Franziska Schindler, Lea Wilsdorf
Choreography synchronised swimming Adél Horvath
Synchronised swimmers Jonas Beutlhauser, Elena Carr, Aurelia van Kempen, Johannes Krenner, Franziska Schindler
Costume & Stage design Elena Carr with Franziska Schindler, Lea Wilsdorf
Tailors Anna Sophie Adelt, Conny Laaber, Theresia Schindler
Off-Voice Franziska Schindler
Sound editing Oskar Kozeluh
Video message Stefanie Sargnagel
Cinematography & Editing minthe Produktion
Photography Klemens Kohlweis, Daniel Rajcsanyi
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