An homage to world wellness
Maybe you have heard this before: When you have a hammer in your hand, the whole world looks like a nail. Nowadays, everything I look at is related to sweat bathing and Perfect Sweat, the documentary series I am working on. This summer, for example, when I walked up to SALT, a nomadic art project on the Oslo harbor, and saw its giant fish drying rack, instead of seeing salted cod hanging from the rafters, I saw sweaty towels from bathers all over the world fluttering in the wind. Call me crazy. Christo dreams fences, I dream towels.
Erlend Mogård-Larsen, SALT's charismatic founder and leader, got what I was suggesting right away. "The fish rack is available in January," he said. "Can you organize 1000 towels by then?" "Of course!" I said. Right there, in his office, we signed a towel, dated it, and snapped a photo to document the sealed deal. And then it hit me: we have a lot of work to do. Gather dirty towels from all over the world and ship them to the far north. Like I said, I am crazy.
So far so good. We started at Burning Man in the Nevada desert and collected nearly 100 signed sweaty towels. (Thank you Teresa Yung, Cassandra Jabola, and Rebecca Taggart for your hard work on this.) Our global sweat tribe is also hard at work collecting towels in England, Finland, Norway, Russia, Turkey, the US Midwest, and San Francisco. (Thank you Miki Tokairin, Lasse Eriksen, Risto Elomaa, Belgin Aksoy, Federika Adam, Glenn Auerbach, Anna Artemyeva, Abhishek Vaidya, and Kimmo Raitio.)
We can use all the help we can get so... if you want to contribute a signed and dated sweaty towel that will sit on a fish drying rack next to the Oslo harbor for the most part of 2020 let me know! (We welcome a variety of sizes and colors, and even though it is not necessary to send an embroidered towel, feel free to personalize the towel beyond your sweat, name, and date.) I will arrange a pick up or coordinate a drop-off. Or you can just send your sweaty towel (please dry it first!) to this address in Oslo by December 21, 2019:
Erlend Mogård-Larsen Havferd AS
Perfect Sweat Towel Installation
An homage to world wellness
Date of installation:
January 2020 -October 2020
Artist and organizer:
Mikkel Aaland is a photographer, artist, and film maker who has published over 16 books and exhibited in multiple locations around the world. His first book, Sweat: The Illustrated History and Description of the Finnish Sauna, Russian Bania, Islamic Hammam, Japanese Mushi-Buro, Mexican Temescal, and American Indian & Eskimo Sweatlodge is the inspiration behind Perfect Sweat, a ten-part documentary series to be released in the fall of 2020.
SALT is a nomadic art project, currently located on the Oslo, Norway harbor. The project brings together art, music, food and architecture in several spectacular wooden constructions. The Arctic Pyramid, the proposed location for the Perfect Sweat Towel installation, is a majestic 70-meter long fish rack, towering like an open tunnel over the seaside promenade between the Opera house and Vippetangen. SALT's badstue features one of the world's largest public sweat houses and has a capacity for over 80 people.
Bray's Run Productions, producer of the Perfect Sweat series, is a Seattle-based independent film production company founded by Greg Moga that specializes in exploring culture, history and travel through the prism of charismatic people across the globe.
We are still on track to release the 10 episodes of the first season of Perfect Sweat in the fall of 2020.