When a last-minute invite to spend the weekend in a sauna crops up in your inbox, what’s a girl to do?
In this case, book train tickets down to Leeds to join a handful of other artists for some R&D on the possibilities of the rather gorgeous horse-box converted into wood-fired sauna that is Bethany Wells‘ WARMTH.
Inspired by the traditional Finnish savusauna, WARMTH is a mobile wood-fired sauna, a dark, timber-lined and candle-lit space, designed to function as both a venue for experimental performance and impromptu gatherings, WARMTH creates a safe space to spend time, have conversations, and challenge preconceptions about the performance of the body in public.
Parked up in at Slung Low’s HUB & supported by Compass Live Art, we spent the Saturday experimenting with the sauna as a site for performance and inspiration for our individual work, testing it out on each other. Both meeting and working alongside Nick Cassenbaum, Alice Malseed, Chris Jenkins & Gen Doy for the first time was an intriguing whistle-stop tour of different live art interactions with text, narrative and storytelling.
On the Sunday morning we brought the five individual works-in-progress together in an experience that lasted about an hour and a half, prepared the yard at the HUB, and got our sauna on with the invited audience.
My particular contribution was The Sauna Experience, a site-specific intervention based on offerings of memories set in or inspired by saunas, written on logs to be burnt to fuel WARMTH. Read more about it and see some of the images of the logs here.