The work Antiapóleia manifests in three separate acts throughout the duration of RCA2020. Titled using the Greek lexemes anti meaning ‘against’ and apóleia meaning ‘loss, waste or ruin’, the work poses as a theatrical play of sorts, staging the life, death and reincarnation of the public swimming pool as we know it today.
ACT ONE; THE PROGRESSIONS OF SISTRUM STATE
Act One of Antiapóleia - 'The Progressions of Sistrum State' - emerges as a chronicled video recounting the life of the public swimming pool under rapidly evolving political and technological conditions; onto an eventual state of abandonment. Through excerpts of political speeches and music - using fragments of both homemade and popular culture footage - the video tracks the decades in a sickly nostalgic yet almost possessed manner. While we see the pool thrive in its early days, as a place of communal pleasure and well-being, a sudden shift towards new dreams of flight dominate mid-20th century. Moreover, under increasing economic pressures in the 1970s and '80s, through measures of austerity and funding cuts, the priorities of the state and those sectors invested in become increasingly murky. New systems of both personal and collective leisure distressingly adapt, labour perpetuates and privatisation flourishes. These models of public space seem to be becoming more troublesome than profitable and, even with amplified public calls for re-use and reform, the pools’ sentencing to decay by the state seems inevitable.
The second act of Antiapóleia speculates on a ‘rebirth’ of the public swimming pool in the near future, through architectural plans and conceptual diagrams. Proposing a utopian tower complex, resembling the model of Vladimir Tatlin’s 'Project for the Monument to the Third International', the design of Lacuna Tower imagines a new space of progressiveness, collectivity and societal synergy.
The diagonal structure comprises a cubic section at the base, designated as a space for public and legislative meetings, alongside hospitality and clubhouse areas. Above this, a pyramid section holds changing facilities and entry points to a diving board and various, ridiculously constructed waterslides; encouraging the production of culture, through human’s desire for ludicity and play. A cylindrical studio is on the next level, housing the Ideal Life Radio Show, for participatory, feel-good radio transmissions and other media-related operations; such as print, film and slogan workshops. At the very top, laser light projections of reformed cultural and political slogans come from the upper hemisphere, puncturing the skyline at night. The Lacuna Tower revels in a suspended state of inbetween-ness; manifesting as a space of simultaneous possibility and absurdity. Constructing a complex of the sort today is entirely economically and materially viable, however it is the strong absence of faith in the competence and management of the state that make it but a fantasy. Today, the powers of the state fused with the freed visions of artists/creatives seems scarcely imaginable; and so the abilities of these undervalued groups to dream up new and diverse possibilities for the future seems to be an ever-increasing urgency.