Tuesday, August 10, 2010


We are intrigued with the Olympic swimming pool on top of Tapa Bibi Mahroo in Kabul. The amenity was built by the occupying Soviet forces in the 1980s, who were probably posted on the hill to watch out for Afghan mujahedin. It has never been officially used as a pool, because there was no way that even the Soviets could get water to travel uphill at such a steep angle. In the mid- 1990s the Taliban pushed blindfolded criminal offenders from the highest springboard to test whether they would survive, if not they were sometimes still not freed but shot. Today kids play in the cement construction, men bet on their fighting hens or dogs in it, and every now and then after heavy rain fall one can cool off in it. This site of shabby majesty has never seen much water or collective happiness. We would like to change that by organizing an international pool party. The project aims at putting a group of local and foreign artists, Kabul children, students and other representatives from the city together to clean and paint the pool and find a way to fill it with
water. (Maybe the water problems can be solved, by some Dutch water engineers?) If only for one day the place shall radiate with joy, music and splendor, and then remain as a colorful landmark to inspire new thoughts and creative use for local and international agents equally or collaboratively – be it as a swimming pool or not.

First we need to get in touch with the art and culture scene in Kabul, with the art school and the University, NGOs, municipal officials, construction companies, developers, international foundations, humanitarian aid workers to learn more about this landmark and to find some allies for this international project. Second we would need to go to Afghanistan in order to meet people, get acquainted with the site and figure out the practicalities and possible strategies. Back in Europe, we'd need to find the international collaborators and organize the financial means as well as logistics for this project. Right now Embassies around the world warn their citizens to not go to Afghanistan if not absolutely necessary; an exact schedule for this project can therefore not be given at this point in time. But it sure can be started now, and be assessed later in the year.

The team consists of Pier Taylor, researcher and graphic designer from Holland, and Lillian Fellmann, Swiss curator and journalist. It is possible that we would need to add co-workers later for translation, administration, organization, communication and documentation of this ambitious vision.

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