Happiness Lake [Jezioro Szczęścia]

Jezioro Szczęścia [Happiness Lake] (2015)
Medium: Video (color, sound)
Duration: 4:19 min.
Jezioro Szczęścia [Happiness Lake] looped video with sound displayed on CRT TV with headphones in Ośrodek Inflancka swimming pool lobby as a part of The Social Swimming Pool art intervention.
Jezioro Szczęścia [Happiness Lake] video still.

A fictional music video by Maciej Ratajski and Agnieszka Szostakiewicz for a song by Bajm, part of The Urban Resort Warsaw: The Social Swimming Pool, a site-specific art intervention at Ośrodek Inflancka swimming pool for the finale of Warsaw Transkaukazja festival. Inspired by the research on Ośrodek Inflancka's audiosphere and its oral history, the video was partly recorded at the facility. The sound was recorded at the swimming pool, with Bajm's song travelling through the air-supported dome to the opposite side of the structure.

While exploring the facility's soundscape, interviewing its employees and researching its history (Ośrodek Inflancka was established in 1967 as an outdoor swimming pool but ten years later covered with a temporary-turned-permanent air-supported dome and converted into a sports and leisure centre in the 1980s and 1990s with the dome being cut to pieces at one moment and then reassembled) we came across a story about an unnamed female pop-rock celebrity filming her music videos at Ośrodek Inflancka swimming pool in the 80s or 90s. The details were unclear, so we decided to consider the story an urban legend, a nostalgic memory of the facility’s glorious and colourful past and a part of its imaginary soundscape.

We filmed a fictional music video for Jezioro Szczęścia [Happiness Lake] by Bajm and Beata Kozidrak partly at the facility and partly using projected footage of exotic landscapes (arousing associations with health resorts, tropical journeys and tourist destinations) and nostalgic references to the late 80s and early 90s aesthetics, all to strengthen the effect of affectation, artificiality, dreaminess and unrealness.

During our work on the sound, we experimented with playing the original Bajm song on the swimming pool sound system. It was hardly audible at the pool itself, but the sound travelled through the balloon dome structure to the opposite end, where we recorded it along ambient sounds. This recording became the final soundtrack of the video.

The video was displayed on a small CRT TV in Ośrodek Inflancka’s lobby next to a deck chair and an exotic plant. After a few days, one of the centre’s employees approached us to tell us that he enjoyed our installation, especially since he remembers Beata Kozidrak filming her music video at the facility. We asked him if he was sure that it was Beata Kozidrak and he replied that he had even taken part in the shooting of the original video. He confirmed that the music video filmed at Ośrodek Inflancka was Płomień z Nieba by Bajm.

Our video also inspired a rumour that spread among the swimming pool employees about the alleged queer identity of the performer, the blonde wig and underarm hair being read as signs of cross-dressing or being trans, reinforcing the idea of gender being an act or performance. We were happy to learn that some of the aesthetic choices we made in our interpretation of Jezioro Szczęścia later found their way to a beautiful performance by Filipka Rutkowska at Dragana Bar in Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej Zamek Ujazdowski in 2018.

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