Aktion, Interventionistische Kunst, öffentlicher Raum, Interaktive Kunst, Medieninstallation, Performance
Wir gehen alle baden at Vienna‘s Amalienbad was based on the idea that sustainability can only be achieved by maintaining
and developing social infrastructures of everyday life. It draws on the research on social infrastructure by Eric Klinenberg,
the concept of “Alltagsökonomie” by Andreas Novy, Richard Bärnthaler and Basil Stadelmann as well as the historic research
on bathing and swimming culture by Renate Vergeiner and Ernst Gerhard Eder.
Social infrastructures, as mentioned, are not limited to water, gas, electricity or public transport. They also include communal
spaces of encounter and exchange like theatres, festivals, exhibitions, cinemas or public baths. Communal infrastructures
undetectably act as both material and immaterial resources for our well-being. Through the joint use of these resources, social
and cultural surplus is created day by day. By being easily accessible, used and needed by a broad variety of people, communal
infrastructures facilitate low-threshold encounters and exchange – and thus promote common goods.
“Amalienbad” with its landmark architecture has been built by the City of Vienna as a public bath more than 100 years ago.
Within the framework of the "Future Lectures" series, the Social Design studio uncovered socially sustainable effects of that
institution along formats which reached out to its diverse visitors during the usual opening hours.
An audio-feature – aired on wireless headphones – gathered voices of bathers, sauna guests, lifeguards, swimming clubs, scholars
and managers of Vienna’s public baths along topics like health, hygiene, social mixing, relaxation, empowerment and inclusion.
Bath towels were printed with quotations from the conversations (for example "we are swimming in drinking water" or "when
the clothes are gone, there are only people") and spread for free use. Synchronized swimmers from Schwimm-Union Wien surprised
with show acts, a time-lapse video documented the diverse uses of Amalienbad in the course of a week and the bath’s restaurant
served homemade fries.
The social sustainability of the impressive indoor pool was unveiled as a sometimes underestimated, yet complex and productive
resource, a strong effect on social cohesion which, in a neoliberal equation, is hardly taken into account.
Martin Färber, Herwig Turk, Alberta Sinani, Amelie Schlemmer, Fabian Marc Ritzi