Inside Poolside – poolside memories

HMK is looking back to an amazing summer with Rik Dijkhuizen’s installation Inside Poolside and Project Space at7’s To That Special Someone, Part II.

With a text and photo works by artist Rik Dijkhuizen, the podcast On Access Riders, in collaboration with Staci Bu Shea and Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee and a video report of To That Special Someone, Part II by Studio Wolphi.

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‘Inside Poolside; diving in the world of water’, by Rik Dijkhuizen

Watch the full photo set here.

“Our relationship with water knows a long and rich history. We are surrounded by water and it is central to many of our needs, activities, customs, traditions and rituals. We grow up in water, we move on water, we take care of our bodies and landscapes with water, we come together through water, we ponder about water. The streams and rivers, the lakes, seas and oceans – water is the largest body on earth, it is always moving, it is both sublime and awe-inspiring, and it also manages to slowly seep through the smallest imaginable cracks. We learn about the unknown in its particles, we wonder about the mysteries on its surface, we long for miracles in its depths.

It is not surprising that many properties are attributed to water that transcend its materiality. We know that water takes care of us, that it purifies our body and mind, and we believe that it cleanses us from the mistakes we made, that it relieves us from the struggles we face. Water brings us pleasure and respite: we feel nurtured by taking a shower, we feel connected by immersing our body in a river, we overcome our fear of failure by taking a plunge – we can almost taste happiness in a glass of water.

Our bodies consist largely of water and with water we feel and are connected to each other and the world around us. The distinction between our body and the landscape is less static and isolated than we tend to think. We are all watery bodies that are part of a large hydrology; fluid, dynamic, porous – always in relation to-, everywhere close, never a being, always a becoming. Or, as Astrida Niemanis teaches us in her essay Hydrofeminism; Or, On Becoming a Body of Water: ‘I am a singular, dynamic whorl dissolving in a complex, fluid circulation.’

Water gives and takes. It pulsates and moves. The influences to which it is constantly exposed, from within and without, the positive and negative, are absorbed, housed, remembered and distributed like water, with water and by water – everywhere, always. They float with the current through our landscapes and bodies, it comes and goes like ebb and flow, like waves from deep water. It seeps in and out of tiny pores, on its way to new territories to grow or erode. Our watery body nourishes while it gets contaminated – it pollutes while it is being cared for.

Wellbeing moves like water, with water, through water. It is not localised but flows through our watery bodies, our watery landscapes, our watery communities. Our feelings and emotions, our fears, traumas and loneliness, but also our memories, desires and ambitions – they are constantly in motion; they are neither absolute nor absent; they come together in our bodies like temporary ponds or subterranean lakes. They keep quiet in the undertow, they create a ripple or a wave, they surface like a spring – before they move on with the stream that connects us all. Body and landscape; ‘me’ and ‘you’; wellbeing – everything is like water.

Tasting happiness in a glass of water
Drinking from a fountain
A boat journey to new shores
Gathering at swimming pools

Taking the plunge

We come together at the swimming pools of our lives to enjoy the water and being like water. We remember the pools from our youth and we think about the pools -dreamed or real- that we visit or want to visit in the future. Places where we are like water, with water, in water, as watery bodies, together, as watery communities. Places where we experience the joy of a cannonball’s splash, of diligent laps made by able bodies, of synchronized swimming, of melting ice creams, poolside parties and drunken karaoke – where we can relax, rehabilitate, recuperate and reflect; where we do not have to feel alone; where we leave our worries and fears behind. A sanctuary, for ourselves and together.

The nurturing water from our swimming pools flows like a river of poolside memories through our lives. As we move from pool to pool, we experience moments of (shared) happiness; we gather and enjoy; we become part of different communities and histories. Some pools have been there for many years, others are newly built. Some are from drifting, others are for diving. Some are filled with laughter, others are more quiet. We dip our feet in cold water, we go down a steep slide – splash, ahh, here we are – before we move on to other pools to discover.

Inside Poolside at Hotel Maria Kapel adds another pool to that history – where we come together in a time of social distancing, where we have fun in a time filled with worries, where we care while being cared for, where everyone is welcome to create and share new poolside memories. This pool is an oasis for happiness, wellbeing collective embodiment. Here, everyone is invited to put their feet in the water and think, talk, sing, dance and laugh by and with the water – and to be like water.

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To me, and hopefully to many more, Inside Poolside is a temporary escape from a world flooded with crises, viruses, inequality, discontent, deep individualism and the mental challenges that surface from it. Inside Poolside – part nostalgia, partly imagined – takes us (back) to moments of joy and thinks about community and care; where the good is shared and the bad can be overcome; where we are watery bodies, where we make new memories, where we build watery communities.”

– text by Rik Dijkhuizen

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Video report of Project Space at7’s event ‘To That Special Someone, Part II’, by Studio Wolphi

For this day of care and community at7 has invited two duos and a musician to intervene in Rik Dijkhuizen’s installation at HMK. Duos Clementine Edwards & Adam Patterson and Merve Kılıçer & Jake Caleb and musician Bhajan Bhoy fill the chapel with stories, questioning and cosmic guitar psych magic that reaches out to the stars. The day program also includes a workshop by Staci Bu Shea, a vegan linner and a formal unveiling of the HMK bar designed by Harriet Rose Morley.

This event is the culmination of at7’s residency at HMK. A process of coming together around Rik Dijkhuizen’s installation ‘Inside Poolside’ and thinking through notions of community, care and collaboration.

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‘On Access Riders’, by Stace Bu Shea, in collaboration with Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee

Access docs / access riders / care riders are used by artists living with disability to ensure that their needs are met when working with others. They help to cover important issues prior to beginning a working relationship, allowing both the organization’s team and artists to feel confident and comfortable in their interactions with each other.

For this report, artist Fabian Reichle joined the closing event of at7’s residency at Hotel Maria Kapel. Staci Bu Shea (CasCo Art Institute: Working for the Commons) hosted a workshop to develop a Care Rider. Inspired by “access docs,” a document that outlines the needs of a person living with disability, this tool facilitates conversations about what a collaborator needs in order to have equal access to work. The workshop explored planning-as-care, and found ways to foster informed consent and to invite greater accountability. Reichle attended the workshop and talked to Staci, Miriam Wistreich – art director of Hotel Maria Kapel, Bergur Anderson from at7 and participants of the workshop.

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Special thanks to Mondriaan FondsGemeente Hoorn, Cultuurmakersfonds, HMK’s team, partners, participating artists, dedicated volunteers and enthusiastic visits, who made this project into such a success!