Mobile Sauna — Making the Public Intimate

Our DS Institute Mobile Sauna offered free sauna sessions and a sweat powered cell phone charging station.

During its neighborhood tour, the sauna was parked in over a dozen driveways in upstate New York and invitations to sauna were extended to everyone living in the respective neighborhoods and we went door to door with flyers inviting people to participate. Additionally, Mobile Sauna sessions were held on site at the New Museum’s Ideas City Festival in Manhattan, the CAC Woodside in Troy NY, the Gandee Gallery in Fabius NY, the Everson Museum in Syracuse NY, and 601 Tully in Syracuse NY.

On an individual level the sauna cleanses people of physical toxins and releases stress. Surrendering to this act of cleansing in the presence of others creates a unique social bond. The public becomes intimate. The DS Institute’s sauna was built on a trailer in order to enter into a culture that is becoming increasingly privatized and to remind us of the importance of shared experiences in fostering healthy lifestyles. Communities often form in times of need and the sauna and sweat battery provide an opportunity to form positive bonds without experiencing a loss.

The Mobile Sauna provides the possibility for people to enter a Temporary Autonomous Zone where everyone is equal. Time slows down in the sauna. No matter where the sauna is parked, it is always the same warm and rejuvenating environment inside.

The Mobile Sauna is built on a trailer and constructed using locally sourced materials including salvaged century-old Hemlock and Tamarack wood, recycled materials from individuals and groups (e.g. the ReStore of Habitat For Humanity) and features a hand-prepped untreated wooden interior. The interior is 6’ x 11’ and seats 7 people comfortably. It houses an efficient wood-fired sauna stove hand-built by a Finnish American family. The Mobile Sauna was built with the support of many donors resulting from a Kickstarter campaign. Here’s our Kickstarter video:

Thank you to all the Mobile Sauna donors!

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