Syracuse NY is a city with long grey, cold, snowy winters. Between November 2010 and April 2011 Syracuse had 179 inches of snow fall. Come November, it is rare to exchange a smile with someone walking down the streets. Unless it is necessary to leave the house, people disappear into the darkest corners of the city; forlorn, depressed and huddling under blankets. Seasonal depression affects a majority of the population. However, this North American city has yet to discover the benefits of saunas. The DS Institute plans to build a mobile sauna which will deliver warmth and rejuvenation to the people of Syracuse and beyond.
The DS Institute is a group of artists who create contextual artwork that responds to their direct environment, but has larger implications and cultural applications. In addition to being experiential, the mobile sauna will also be an educational tool to aid the inspiration and the development of a Sauna community that will lure people out of the dark corners of Syracuse winters.
The oldest known saunas where pits dug in the ground and used as dwellings. Steam produced by water thrown on heated rocks helped people survive cold temperatures. In Syracuse it is also a matter of survival. Saunas have a rich history of varying uses and have been an important part of many cultures. Sauna-ing has been a daily activity for the families of Sweden for centuries. In Estonia and Finland they were once the place where woman would give birth, providing a sterile and warm environment for an infant to enter the world. Sauna’s have also been a place to refresh and rejuvenate the spirit when preparing the dead for burial. Russian Banyas are a place for conversation, and sometimes even heated debate.
The movie Steam of Life, based on Sauna culture http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_of_Life
We aim to create a Sauna which will provide an open and comfortable environment for warmth, rejuvenation and conversation. These are all things essential to a productive and healthy lifestyle and extremely difficult to come by during the winter months in Syracuse.
The Sauna will hold up to six people at a time with a two tiered seating area. It will include a small shower and changing room. We have a nine foot by twelve foot, two axle steel trailer, which we have already sanded and primed. We have a pristine cast iron wood stove. We need wood, steel, and additional hardware to finish a beautiful Sauna. We also need to purchase vehicle registration and insurance. For this we need your help!
We plan to bring the Sauna to art openings and cultural events throughout Syracuse, NY with potential visits to other cities. We hope to see you there!
We would like to thank the photographers and link to the sites that provided the images(1, 2, and 3).