In night swimming, I explore the psychological and emotional aspects of swimming and being submerged underwater. The installation consists of two halves. The first is a dimly lit space with a single locker room bench facing a woman’s bathing suit hanging on the wall. The second is an enclosed space with translucent walls of blue nylon, resembling a pool of water poised impossibly above ground level. I am interested in the transition and contrast from one space to the other: moving from the cold and empty to the calm and eerie.
I grew up swimming and have many memories of being underwater in pools and lakes. I also remember how swimming after dark was a unique experience. There was something both calming and unsettling about swimming at night. Somehow the darkness is magnified as the water conforms to the contours of your body. When submerged, there is a sense of being alone even while in the presence others. Not only is one’s sense of hearing muffled by the water, the resistance of the water slows the body and skews the line of sight. Being submerged makes us consider our bodies in new ways and affects how we navigate through space.
night swimming nylon, mixed media, nylon pool: 16x16x8', 2009, Photos Larry Gawel