Hot tubs in Iceland are key social spaces where people come to relax, chat and even conduct business meetings. Almost every town, no matter how small, seems to have a hot tub. In the remote town of Skagaströnd in Northern Iceland, through my regular visits to the town’s hot tub, I plunged myself into the warm water and deeper into learning about the complex history and culture of this small town, as as discussed with various locals.
Central to the work is a text-based piece mapping the local knowledge I learnt about Skagaströnd through these conversations in the hot tub. The map links together various dominant themes of the discussions such as labour, economics and community with everything, both past and present, linking back to fish – or more specifically, the fishing industry.
The map reveals the wide range of conversations that are had in a small town hot tub from the light hearted jokes to the hardships of small town life and outlines deep, specific and subjective knowledge related to place. The map prioritises local knowledge, highlighting resident voices over any geographical landmarks and shows the hot tub as a place where people from different experiences and classes intermingle and unwind.
Commissioned by International Art Space (IAS) for spaced3: north by southwest through a residency at Nes, Skagaströnd, Iceland and exhibited at the Art Gallery of Western Australia.