Now that everyone’s adjusted to self-isolation and getting into virtual hangouts, and fine time for us to have some virtual sauna sessions.
We investigated some virtual sauna session ideas before, notably Lev Manovich’s IRC sauna chats in 1997, and experiments in multimedia virtual sauna linking by Tapio Makela and David Rockeby at Banff in the early 2000s. I don’t recall that anyone ever imagined this would be a practice of necessity to maintain our social bathing practices and interpersonal bonding during a pandemic, but here we are.
Most if not all of our crew has no access to a sauna on their own. Of course, it’s not the sauna that matters so much as the connection. We’re going to try a group hot candlelight bath on Zoom this sunday. Hopefully the bathroom environment doesn’t pose a problem for anyone’s gear, certainly there will be room for improvements. I’d love to see a video chat app with a remote heat-tolerant,waterproof camera/microphone that also shows your ambient temperature and humidity to the others in the chat. Maybe add some David Rockeby-style visual privacy filters (sadly I’m not about to turn tech-CEO to make that happen).
Big thanks to Rielle and Amy for organizing this new chapter of sauna sessions. We’ll see how it goes this Sunday and report back.