LB°24 Exhibitions

Pontusbadet, Luleå

Bothnian Sea Continues, (2022) Pontusbadet. Photographer Thomas Hämén.

With its large windows looking out and over Lulefjärden, Pontusbadet was built in 1957 as one of the most modern bathhouses in Sweden of its time.

It is a swimming and sports facility that can be used all year round due to its carefully regulated indoor temperature. Regulating temperature and the production of artificial cold through refrigerated storage and ice is central to our way of life, global economics and politics. Over the past years, melting ice has become one of the emblematic images of climate change. Ice and snow are very much part of Norrbotten where climate change is a tangible day-to-day reality.

Bothnian Sea Continues is a recording of a performance from the 2004 Luleå Winter Biennial by artist Georg Tiller at Pontusbadet. The original performance centred on a large piece of locally extracted ice that was placed in the swimming pool whilst the artist sat on the melting ice surrounded by swimmers.

The following instructions formed part of Georg Tiller’s proposal:
An ice plate of 1.5m diameter is cut out of the Bothnia Sea. It is transported to a public swimming pool. The process of melting starts. Spectators are welcome.

Witnesses to the original performance recall that it took less than an hour for the 1.5m diameter piece of ice in Pontusbadet to melt. Eighteen years later, due to the rise in global temperatures, the way we interpret and think of ice is also rapidly changing as it slowly but violently melts around us, with unpredictable consequences for life.