Gent Bad — research, installation — 2023
In the hot summer of 2020, the corona crisis and the resulting travel ban forced us into a staycation. On hot summer days, people looked for refreshment in the surrounding area, but cool swimming water turned out to be much scarcer than expected.

Until the 1960s, however, vacations at home were the norm rather than the exception. During those bygone vacation days close to home, one could easily take a refreshing dip in a nearby river or pond, or spend the afternoon on the sun-drenched sunbathing lawn of the public outdoor pool nearby. Over time, private swimming pools in one's own yard seem to have multiplied, while outdoor public swimming is becoming increasingly rare.

With Gent Bad I explore the vacation feeling close to home by imagining a bathing resort as a meeting place in my everyday environment: the urban, public space of Ghent.

This visual research results from a collection of diverse material: satellite images, photographs from city and museum archives and personal collections of inhabitants of Ghent, old building plans, my own visual material, film stills,... By cutting up these diverse images and combining them in a spatial composition, the former Ghent bathing resorts enter into dialogue with the current shortage of swimming water. Different layers of time come together and make us think about future possibilities.

With the support of FORMAT 2023, the coaching programme of  Z33: House for Contemporary Art, Design & Architecture in Hasselt