Bathtopia: I Want to Swim in The River!

Ivan Illich shows the following: that heavy machines imply capitalist or despotic relations of production, involving the dependence, the exploitation, and the powerlessness of men reduced to the condition of consumers or servants. The collective ownership of the means of production does not alter anything in this state of affairs […] Accordingly, Illich puts forward the alternative of everyone’s right to make use of the means of production, in a “convivial society”, which is to say, a desiring and non Oedipal society. This would mean the most extensive utilization of machines by the greatest possible number of people, the proliferation of small machines and the adaptation of the large machines to small units [...] and the destruction of the specialization of knowledge and of the professional monopoly.
Félix Guattari, ca. 1975, Balance-Sheet for “Desiring-Machines”

Bathtopia is a river-art piece which was placed on the Guadalquivir River, in Sevilla, Spain, in March 2012. The goals of the project were to experiment with fab lab technologies in a cooperative environment, to produce a relevant aesthetic urban experience, and, eventually, to call public attention on the need to clean the River in order to allow people to use it as a swimming ground.

The piece was the result of an international collaborative design and fabrication process developed at the Digital Fabrication Laboratory of the University of Sevilla, Fab Lab Sevilla. Participants in the workshop included Spanish, Macedonian, French, Italian, Colombian and Albanian students and tutors, trying to explore non-hierarchical, bottom-up design methodologies, involving the use of manual and digital design, as well as manual and digital construction and fabrication techniques. It was produced during and intensive five days period.


Design and construction: Carlotta Chicco, Francisco Díaz, Maja Dimiskova, Saimir Hoxha, Filip Konevski, Makedonka Makarovska, José Pérez Fenoy, Biljana Stambolieva. Fab Lab Sevilla team: José Zuluaga, José Buzón, Juan Carlos Venegas, Juan Carlos Pérez. Tutors: Kolectivo 9 / Risto Avramovski, Marta Barrera, Ana Boranieva, Javier Caro, Miguel Gentil, Dejan Ivanovski, Alexander Juretzka, Charlotte Malterre-Barthes, José Pérez de Lama and Jasna Stefanovska.

The workshop was organized by the Higher Technical School of Architecture University of Sevilla, University of Saint Cyril and Methodius in Skopje, Baum Lab and Arhitektri. It was partially sponsored by Skopje City Council, Spanish Embassy in Skopje Government of Spain, Sodinur, Bortas, Junta de Andalucía Consejería de Medio Ambiente, Autoridad Portuaria de Sevilla, and J.P.M. S.L. Almacenes y Exposición Roca Macarena, Sevilla – Roca distributor in Sevilla.

Further information on the project:

Fablabbing the River International Workshop is the second episode of the Urban Landscape Operations workshop series organized by Kolectivo 9. Kolectivo 9 is an international urban research group based in Sevilla, Skopje, Ljubljana and Zürich. It was founded in 2010.