Exploring the future at Govanhill Baths

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Govanhill Baths is here to stay — and so says the artist in residence working on a centenary project.

The colourful history of the Edwardian building meets the future next month as Ailie Rutherford presents Future Archive; works imagining life in Govanhill for the next 100 years.

Ailie told The Extra: “I’ve had a lot of discussions with local groups which have formed the Future Archive — a series of items dated over various points in the future.

“The conversations we had were about new technologies altering the way we live, and also about resources — our current state of overconsumption and how that will pan out.”

The launch takes place on March 19, 5.30-7.30pm — but with material from archivist Paula Larkin also on display, the eagle-eyed will have to work out where the past meets the future.

Ailie explained: “It’s subtle, embedded and integrated with the past and the present.

“It was important to me to use a format accessible to everyone who has taken part so they feel a sense of ownership, that the work belongs to them and to the baths.”

So what can we expect 50 or 100 years from now?

“One of the things I’m creating is a talking soap. The idea is that as we reach a point where our resource consumption has gotten too high, hot water will be regulated — so the baths might come back into use as a washhouse.

“The talking soap is digital, although it’s a take on the old pink carbolic soap, and can talk in over 100 languages — the idea being that at the moment, there are 52 languages spoken in Govanhill — so it will tell you to exit the shower when you’ve used your daily allowance.”

There are surprises in store — including input from a futuristic edition of The Extra and a local, fairer-for-all currency.

Ailie continued: “I’ve screenprinted a notes for the People’s Bank of Govanhill using a pool tile design, and people will be able to trade sterling for them at the launch event, with an exchange rate of one Govanhill banknote for 100th of your weekly income.”

The artist added: “The baths are a centre for activism, and I want to explore how that continues to manifest itself in the future.”