The Sweat Oratory was an installation reviving a little known eighteenth century Irish spa tradition – a tradition associated not with luxury, but health, healing and social interaction. A cave-like forerunner to the modern sauna, sweathouses were thought to have religious significance and provided a means of keeping warm for those working in remote locations.
The artists took their visual inspiration from Kerry’s Gallarus Oratory, mapping the exterior of the monument with the latest 3D scanning technology. A small unmanned aircraft with a survey sensor captured a photo realistic copy of the facade, which was then reproduced to scale, forming the shell of the installation.
Located on a remote bay overlooking the town for the duration of the 2014 festival, The Sweat Oratory held up to four bathers at any one time. The project was commissioned by Marie as part of Kinsale Art Festival, realised with the support of ARUP and a successful crowdfunding campaign via Fund It.