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My Stadionbad -
An exhibition with swimming pool

CityLab on the move in Stadionbad
9 May - 16 September 2012
First swimming attempts, great love or close circles of friends. Memories of summer experiences have always been associated with the Stadionbad. For almost 90 years, the pool has been an important place for many people in Frankfurt. The second exhibition of the participatory exhibition format "CityLab on the move" exposed the experiences and memories of swimming guests and told the long history of Frankfurt's oldest outdoor pool.

Exhibition
The exhibition was initiated by a small group of passionate early swimmers, the Freunde des Stadionbad e.V. (Friends of the Stadionbad). Over a period of about one and a half years, meetings were held to work together on the theme, content and organisation.

The CityLab participants took on different aspects of the open-air swimming pool, addressed the protected site of the swimming pool, which was opened in 1925 as part of the International Workers' Olympiads, and presented a chronology based on private and professional historical photographs. Personal memories and souvenirs were shown as well as interviews with contemporary witnesses from Frankfurt who had spent part of their youth in this swimming pool since the 1930s. This was juxtaposed with the facts of the swimming pool's operation, technical aspects and everyday working life.

The exhibition was shown in the Niederrad outdoor swimming pool, on 58,000 m² of grounds and in the swimming pools under water.
The participatory idea was to be implemented in this project, especially during the exhibition's duration in the 2012 bathing season: Some elements of participation were integrated, which encouraged the bathing and exhibition visitors to integrate their personal view and history into the exhibition directly and immediately, but also via the web. In other words, the exhibition itself invited the visitors to participate and let them become actors.

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For more information on the project and exhibition location, please unfold the text:

 

Exhibition

The exhibition was initiated by a small group of passionate early swimmers, the Freunde des Stadionbad e.V. (Friends of the Stadionbad). Over a period of about one and a half years, meetings were held to work together on the theme, content and organisation. The exhibition was shown in the Niederrad outdoor swimming pool, on 58,000 m² of grounds and in the swimming pools under water.
The participatory idea was to be implemented in this project, especially during the exhibition's duration in the 2012 bathing season: Some elements of participation were integrated, which encouraged the bathing and exhibition visitors to integrate their personal view and history into the exhibition directly and immediately, but also via the web. In other words, the exhibition itself invited the visitors to participate and let them become actors.

Content

The almost 90-year history of the public bath should be brought back to life. The long history of the place was made accessible to the visitors of the open air swimming pool in a chronology.
A collection campaign was organised to collect memorabilia such as free swimmer's cards and pictures. Film interviews with memories of the open air pool from the 1930s to 1980s completed the historical part.
The second focus of the exhibition was the work that is done behind the scenes of the open-air swimming pool every day. An exemplary daily routine focused on the work of the employees. For a whole day from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. the employees of the Stadionbad were accompanied in their work and their activities were documented. The effort and technology that are necessary to keep the open-air pool and the 52,900 m2 facility in service was demonstrated in an exemplary way. The cooperation with the employees of the Stadionbad became very close over the months, not least because the exhibition took place at their place of work.
Thirdly, the swimming guests themselves came to speak. We wanted to know what their habits and where their favourite places were. Based on small interviews taken in the summer of 2011, a "typology of swimmers" was created over time. A total of five types of swimming guests were introduced in the exhibition: Water rats, sun lovers, high jumpers, posers and early swimmers. In the 2012 swimming season we were also looking for other types of swimming guests.

Supporting programme

A various supporting program accompanied and complemented the exhibition, took up different aspects and extended them. The programme included guided tours on the history of the Stadionbad and walks through the technology under the pools; in addition, the interview station in the stadium boat on Wednesdays gave visitors the opportunity to experience the exhibition with all its perspectives. The sporty visitor did not even miss out: underwater photos and trial diving satisfied nearly all desires. It was equally important to capture the voices of those who are among the main users of the pool: Children and young people! In a project week with the JKWF in June 2012, new exhibition material was therefore developed and added to the exhibition.

Design principles

Students of the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, Department of Design under the direction of Prof. Ursula Gillmann worked on the design of the exhibition with great commitment over two semesters. A total of 16 prospective designers from the fields of graphic and product design worked on the exhibition. Special attention was paid to including the entire swimming pool area in the exhibition and to using existing resources. Thus, the waste bins became an eye-catcher or the diving platform became an exhibit. In addition, things that once existed should be made visible again. The safety conditions of the swimming pool and the protection of historical monuments were a particular challenge for the design, which is why the location and its users had to be handled with great care. The other exhibition elements also had to fit naturally into their surroundings and thereby provide a new view of the familiar.

Exhibition location

Freibad Stadion,
Mörfelder Landstr. 362,
60528 Frankfurt am Main