An immersive oasis of calm, full of passionate connection to the ecosphere.
A pond talks dirty, stick insects hang out, pollen porn is projected on a wall, love abounds between fronds, a bird of paradise gets up close and personal and steamy reminiscences abound in a sauna... things are all a bit different in artist collective Pony Express’s Ecosexual Bathhouse.
Welcomed by cheerful attendant Alicia Osyka, all pre-conceptions are left firmly at the door as we receive our squirty, sprouty or restraining gear to interact with our bathhouse companions. Given protection, we get up close and personal with some orchids hanging in the corridor leading to the main venue, easing us into the concepts within. Four large spaces hold various interactive activities for participants to engage in as friendly bathhouse attendants wander through to help make the most of the experience.
Grabbing the attention as we step into the first chamber is a huge projection on the far wall, changing from a sequence of a human getting naked with pollen interspersed with video of excited bees on flowers, to a timelapse build up of storm clouds across vast expanses of sky. A comfy couch invites those who like to watch to sit and watch the images, or peruse magazines scattered across the side tables, full of photos of humans getting close to nature.
For those keen on hands on experiences, a bathtub covered in turf embraces with coolness, scent and the tactile sensation of covering hands and arms in mud, while listening to heavy breathing through headphones. In the next chamber is a pond, full of plants, with an old fashioned rotary handset next to a convenient chair. If you answer the phone when it rings, the pond speaks to you, urging you to get primeval together, to fill your senses with the water, plants and to return to a simpler, single-celled mode of existence. For a little less forceful interaction, a woodland dais at the other side of the room is attended by humans and a variety of stick insects, taking delicate steps onto selected limbs, taking their time together with you.
A door opens and exchanging places with other people in a sauna, those carrying UV lights find messages and pictures on the wood. The written words reflect recorded voices recalling their intense crushes or passionate moments with the natural world, life defining moments in creating their individual ecosexual selves. The time flows, and then a summons may appear at the door, as Jacinta Larcombe beckons you to follow her. It may be in a small group, or it may be yourself alone, but she pulls you into another chamber veiled with light fabrics... before beginning a dance. Each dance is different, using Larcombe’s current costume of bird, insect or beast, bringing you into direct interaction with a denizen of the wild world, on whatever scale.
Needing time out away from the movement, the last chamber has mattresses surrounded by greenery. Putting on the offered eyewear at the entrance makes you aware of the many tiny points of light in the room with disco balls and other subtle light sources, as they move into your vision as illuminated love hearts. Lying down, gentle sounds surround and time disappears... until you decide to move again and find a bathhouse attendant on the floor, human form outlined by potplants.
Going to leave, and the massage table is empty, surrounded by piles of rock salt. Lying on it, you may find that you are gently covered in piles of salt by fellow bathhouse patrons, or an attendant may approach to cover you in oil and salt. Either way, faces on rising are all relaxed, or wreathed in content smiles, ready to go.
Created by Loren Kronemyer and Ian Sinclair, produced by Sarah Rowbottam, the eco-erotic experience of the Ecosexual Bathhouse will vary with the inclinations and mood of each patron. A gently surreal experience, Pony Express urges us to find our love for all other beings that share this world with us, in whatever way appeals. With a revolving cast of regulars, Liam Colgan, James Daley, Amber Fresh, Jennifer Jamieson, Rex Monsoon, Tyrone Robinson and Zoe Hollyoak, there is assistance for any visitors who feel out of their comfort zones in such a novel environment. The bathhouse attendants are unobtrusive, there are no penalties for watching or participating, and the scene is set to be safe and calming, with a twist. A unique experience, a visit to the Ecosexual Bathhouse may not sound like your thing at first, but give it a chance and it may grow on you.
PICA & Pony Express as part of RECKLESS ACTS present
Venue: PICA Galleries | 51 James St, Perth Cultural Centre, Northbridge, WA
Dates: 24 – 28 Jan 2017
Part of FringeWorld Festival 2017