|The Bath House
2009, HD single channel video, duration: 12.16min
The bath House Is a filmed a re-imagination of ‘The Bathhouse’, a 1930’s Constructivist play written by Vladimir Mayakovsky and directed by Vesevolod Meyerhold, Mayakovsky's "drama in six acts with a circus and fireworks" was a satire on state bureaucracy, featuring a time machine rather than a bathhouse. Meyerhold used the play to display whole gamut of styles of theatre, from naturalism through dance to agitprop. Each served as an attraction in itself, but as a sequence became a stinging challenge to critical / ideological / political complacency.
The Bath House video was commissioned by Collective Gallery and produced to mark a closure of the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh. The Commonwealth Pool, designed by Edinburgh architects RMJM in the 1960s, is a classic piece of Scottish modernist architecture. Halonen was struck by the similarity of the building's interior, particularly its platforms and diving boards, to the set used for The Bathhouse, staged in 1930.
The group mostly affected by the closure, the Edinburgh Diving Club’s Junior members perform as actors creating their demonstration against the closure. Half way through the original Maykovsky’s The Bathhouse the actors rebel and take control of the direction, this process is paralleled in this re-imagination.