Swim City at S AM Basel provides an overview of the contemporary practice of swimming in urban rivers. This practice in Europe has its historical origins in Switzerland, where today it is a popular and widely practiced urban leisure activity. People from all over the world admire the culture of urban river swimming in Switzerland as a valuable opportunity to create more public space and as a vital forum in which the public claim their right to the city.
Since urban river swimming is rather uncommon outside Switzerland – often it is even legally forbidden – architects and urban activists are currently planning urban river pools in various cities all over Europe and beyond. The exhibition aims to showcase both the Swiss culture of urban river swimming and the various initiatives currently underway to create urban river pools in European cities. It aims to introduce the actors behind the projects and outline their strategies in creating the opportunity to swim in urban rivers, which are currently used predominantly as vehicles for urban infrastructure and logistics schemes. In so doing, swim city will introduce the practice of urban river swimming as an act of emerging popular culture that exploits the public space rivers afford. The exhibition will make use of models, drawings, design objects and videos to render a sensual yet tangibly concrete experience of urban river swimming.