28,524,323 HOT TUBS

Review, Sulphur Bathers #1 (1990) by Jeffrey C. Keith
Published in Room with a Review, a zine produced by the Critical Art Writing Ensemble II, The Banff Centre, 2016

The word jacuzzi is usually said with a wink. The one in your high school best friend’s parents’ back yard, the one at your local community pool, the one on the ski hill you sat in while it snowed. Whose toes are tickling whose thigh under the frothing, white surface? Who’s sidling up grossly to a brooding, bubbling jet?

In the FAQs of a private sex club in a major Canadian city, it is stated that people are allowed to have sex anywhere onsite, except in the hot tub.

Sulphur Bathers #1 by Jeffrey C. Keith depicts about 20 people in a hot, misty pool at night. This feels promotional in the context of my temporary bedroom in Banff, a small mountain town with hot springs of its own. Dumbly present in the foreground is a railing with a towel knotted to it, as if the photographer was too comfortable in his seat to snap from a clearer vantage. Like what my Dad would send, while on vacation, to my grandparents, just to say: this is what it looks like where we are.

Penelope Umbrico’s 28,524,323 Suns from Sunsets from Flicker (Partial) (2015) echoes, more deliberately, the banal ubiquity of the travel photo. Hundreds of 4” x 6” photos (glossy, not matte) of the sun, ripped from a quick search on the online photo-sharing site, crammed unframed in a floor to ceiling grid. The profundity of our private experiences, captured on camera, dissolving like my half-sucked breath mint in someone else’s mouth.

A quick document of regional pleasure. Sulphur Bathers #1 is all atmosphere, executed like a half-cut Dad after his buffet dinner.