Wir gehen alle baden

Social Design Studio*, Manuel Bachinger, in cooperation with Amalienbad, BMNT Bundesministerium Nachhaltigkeit und Tourismus, FORUM Umweltbildung, MA 44 – Wiener Bäder, Restaurant Amalienbad, Schwimm-Union-Wien, Siebdruckwerkstatt Angewandte

With the Viennese public baths, crucial facilities of “social infrastructure” have been created which continue to attract people from different worlds and classes – in other words, they provide social sustainability. This interactive event has been conceptualized in the framework of the “Future Lectures“, a series of events organized by the BMNT, carried out by the FORUM Umweltbildung in cooperation with the University of Applied Arts Vienna.

© Clara Hirschmanner

 

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 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.

The orga team of Wir gehen alle baden.
From the left: Herwig Turk, Martin Färber, Amelie Schlemmer, Fabian Ritzi, Alberta Sinani
© Clara Hirschmanner

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.

A glimpse to the interior of Amelienbad (built 1923-1926), one of the oldest Viennese public baths.
© Clara Hirschmanner

Within the framework of the "Future Lectures" series, the Social Design Studio uncovered the socially sustainable effects of that institution along with formats that 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 with 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.

Herwig Turk welcoming the crow at the Amalienbad Hall. © Clara Hirschmanner

Herwig Turk welcoming the crow at the Amalienbad Hall. © Clara Hirschmanner

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One of the screen-printed bathrobes realised for the occasion © Clara Hirschmanner

One of the screen-printed bathrobes realised for the occasion © Clara Hirschmanner

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Visitors of the event waiting for the performance to start © Clara Hirschmanner

Visitors of the event waiting for the performance to start © Clara Hirschmanner

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© Clara Hirschmanner

© Clara Hirschmanner

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The orga team of Wir gehen alle baden. From the left: Herwig Turk, Amelie Schlemmer, Fabian Ritzi, Alberta Sinani. Sitting: Martin Färber © Clara Hirschmanner

The orga team of Wir gehen alle baden. From the left: Herwig Turk, Amelie Schlemmer, Fabian Ritzi, Alberta Sinani. Sitting: Martin Färber © Clara Hirschmanner

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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.

Poster for the event.
Graphic design: Alessia Scuderi
Illustration: Martin Färber

 

Location
Amalienbad
10. Favoriten
Vienna
Team
Wir gehen alle baden is a project by Martin Färber
Fabian Ritzi
Amelie Schlemmer
Alberta Sinani
Herwig Turk within the Social Design Studio. Special thanks to all the other students who have supported the organization of the event and have supported during the event.
Links
https://www.futurelectures.at/rueckblick/future-lectures-2019/universitaet-fuer-angewandte-kunst.html