Edinburgh artist to swim the city
- Josie Balfour
- 18 June 2008
Edinburgh artist Tim Taylor takes inspiration from John Cheever book and film starring Burt Lancaster, in adapting a famous swimming journey for Edinburgh.
Edinburgh based artist Tim Taylor is to take the plunge this Friday with a swim down the city's secret river.
In his first piece of performance art, Taylor will swim his way from Gracemount to Portobello via all 14 public baths in town. The event is to commemorate the memory of his mother who was named after the river Isla and raise funds for MS Society Scotland.
Taylor takes inspiration from the famous John Cheever short story The Swimmer, where the main character, Ned Merrill, decides to swim home via the ‘river’ made up of his neighbours’ swimming pools. The book was adapted for a 1960s film featuring an iconic performance from Burt Lancaster and of note being one of Joan Rivers' only film roles.
The swimathon will culminate at Portobello beach on Friday evening, where Taylor will dip his toes in the water and gaze pensively toward the horizon.
He says 'I have been a happy swimmer since a young age. Over the years though, this became an activity largely confined to holidays and the occasional visit to a public pool. Since teaching myself the front crawl five years ago I rediscovered the joys of regular swimming.'
Taylor will swim one length of each pool before walking to the next in his swimming trunks and towelling robe, taking 12 hours to complete the task. His journey day will be fully documented. Nine of the pools are council owned and run by the city's fitness management organisation Edinburgh Leisure, the remaining five are run by private gyms in the city.
Lindsey Renwick, Head of Operations for Edinburgh Leisure is enthusiastic about Taylor's challenge; "Tim's amphibious adventure is as worthwhile as it is unusual - but it's also a reminder of how much fun swimming can be. We were only too happy to offer our support and wish Tim all the best on Friday."
This is Taylor's second foray into swimming pool art, his first work being a collection of photographs of the tiled floor in Warrender Park's changing rooms titled "Sole Wear, Soul Restitution".
Specializing in making the the stuff of mundane public life a little more magical he has also tackled commuting with a collection of 240 discarded LRT bus tickets, captured and mounted in butterfly display cases called 'Bird in Hand'. And created a clubbing friendly hammock, made from two hand towel dispensers.
More information at: www.timgtaylor.com
The route can be viewed here: http://maps.google.co.uk
You can become a sponsor at: www.justgiving.com/swimmingthecity