Today it was the fifth consecutive time we invited participants to join us for some hours in the public bath of Warsaw.
It started to become a ritual and over the day the smell of chlorine tended to persist in my nose. Is that pleasurable? I will say no.
However we committed to our duty of investigating the notion of pleasure in polish context and in an art related field. As usual, we met in front of the pool and welcome our workers of pleasure (each participant receive a participation salary of 60 sloty). After the first formalities, presentations, ticketing and undressing we found ourself in less than 15 minutes half naked in front of complete strangers in the whirlpool. In this warm water, our eight bodies were floating and the smell of chloride became even more intense. The strong stream of bubbles brought each of us in motion.
Gathered in circle the situation became on this moment even more intimate. My lips were now less than 15 centimetres away from the one of my direct neighbour.
Out of a sudden a question went out abruptly and loud to cover the noise of the bubbling machine, “So, what do you do for pleasure?”. The firsts to answer felt in the trap of banality. Those words were hurting from their simplicity. Various stories of wood walk, bike tour and cat were from their naiveness difficult to welcome in this context.
A certain productiveness was expected, this is an European art/research project lead by two institutions. It should be given something. Those fantasy for concrete material were graspable in one of the participant thoughts whose intention was to perform in a flash mob action briefly resumed as a water ballet. But no, nothing to expect for the moment, nothing to say more than the practical necessary. We will meet for few hours inside the hot tube to investigate the notion of pleasure.
In the first moment those discussions in the pool did not seem to sustain any particular general interest. After few rounds of discussion some people had already left the bath for the slide. In the difficulty to sustain a personal interest they seek further for an individual satisfaction in a physical activity.
The one left in the whirlpool however persisted on what would be to work on a deeper connective tissue. They crafted collectively to build on complexity, to escape the banal and labour collectively for a pleasurable conversation. Arguments, examples and further opinions would be exchange with the continuous deafening sound of the bubbling machine as a background. However after few minutes we would all come back to a point of exhaustion, an unpleasant state which would lead toward the common agreement of leaving the whirlpool to pursue further our investigation.
We would then recover individual time and go for a swim, a slide, a pee break, a shower. We would establish however the next meeting spot within a similar setting of conversation, the sauna.
After three to four hours of conservations and physical sensations, the bodies got slower, relaxed and for some even tackling the point of tiredness. Each participants were rewarding of their venue. And after brief thanks and last goodbye everyone took his way back home.
We would from our side pursued individually or collectively, at breakfast next morning, this research process and recall back moments of discussion among participants or attitudes toward the research. This was the materials we would play then continuously along the day to bring in conversation with our theme of research on pleasure and the activity of the performance group Komuna// Warszawa.