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Badezimmerstudien (Bathroom-studies)

At the invitation of the Emscherkunstweg, the artist Alina Schmuch has realized the short film »Badezimmerstudien. Episode 1. Die Besichtigung« (Bathroom Studies. Episode 1. the visit). The cooperation project of Urbane Künste Ruhr, Emschergenossenschaft and Regionalverband Ruhr thus presents the third contribution to its series »Emscherkunstweg Online«.

Alina Schmuch’s new film premiered on November 12 as part of the »Healing Complex: Summit« event organized by Urbane Künste Ruhr. The starting point is the artistic exploration of a highly technologized public water infrastructure, which, like an underground network, connects all buildings, and its relationship to the cultural and technical development of the private bathroom. In the context of the Emscherkunstweg, it thus also establishes references to the history and future of the Ruhr region.

Premiere of the new production »Badezimmerstudien« (Bathroom-studies) by Alina Schmuch as part of the film screening »Reinigungsrituale und andere Flüsse« (Purification Rituals and Other Flows) at the closing event of the »Healing Complex«.

Schmuch has already dealt with the Emschergenossenschaft’s image archive and the role of photography in wastewater systems for other projects. The archive documents, primarily in analog photographs, the construction and maintenance of the Emscher above-ground wastewater system. Meanwhile, imaging methods with inspection robots are being developed and used for the maintenance of the new underground »Emscher sewer.« This is where artist Alina Schmuch starts for the first episode of her series »Bathroom Studies« and brings together imaging procedures from different places and institutes in »The Inspection«.

Filmstill: »Badezimmerstudien. Episode 1. Die Besichtigung« by Alina Schmuch

It shows shots of maintenance entrances into a sewer, views from a mobile control room where an inspection robot equipped with numerous cameras is remotely controlled, and an experiment with a robot whose design is reminiscent of the shape of a dog. Complex image processes can be seen, in which the photographs and data created in the depths of the canal are analyzed on the computer.

She juxtaposes these technical sequences with scenes from two different bathrooms. First, the camera follows a performer in a modern hotel room where the bed and bathtub are one piece of furniture. The performer explores the architecture and texture of the tub and sink with her whole body, much like the robot scans the sewer. The second bathroom is in an old farmhouse, has two bathtubs side by side, and is filled with aviaries housing canaries.

The movie is constantly available here and on Vimeo.

The film appears in the series »Emscherkunstweg Online«, which aims to offer a digital artistic experience with reference to the real sculpture route along the Emscher. Young artists are invited by Urbane Künste Ruhr to deal with the Emscherkunstweg in their own way. The only condition: the contribution should be available in digital form.


»Badezimmerstudien. Episode 1: Die Besichtigung« (2022) 18 minutes, video 16:9, color, stereo, produced by Alina Schmuch


Starting from photography and its extension in the medium of film, Alina Schmuch (*1987) develops artist books and video installations. She studied media art at the HfG Karlsruhe and was part of the postgraduate program at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. Her work has been shown in exhibitions, screenings or lectures at ZKM Karlsruhe (2018) and Museum Folkwang Essen (2017), among others, and internationally at MAK Center Los Angeles (2017) or (together with Forensic Architecture) at the 15th Architecture Biennale (2016). In 2014, her artist’s book Script of Demolition was published by Spector Books, Leipzig.

In 2021 she received the 27th Videokunst Förderpreis Bremen and the scholarship Junge Szene of the Kunststiftung NRW.

From January to March 2022, Alina Schmuch was a resident in the program Zu Gast at Urbane Künste Ruhr in Essen. Until November 20, 2022, the work »Amphibian Paths« can be seen at the Museums Böttcherstraße in Bremen.