Fluitō transforms the sport of swimming and para swimming into a public art installation this summer

An immersive public art installation called Fluitō is coming to Birmingham 2022 Festival this July.

Fluitō is an interactive, outdoor art installation inviting participants to explore different layers of aquatics through projection, soundscapes, mirrors, visuals and film.

Created by Birmingham based artist Georgia Tucker, Fluitō means ‘to overflow’ or ‘to float’. The experience aims to showcase not only the agility and speed of elite swimmers, but also the positive mental impact of swimming, water inequality within Commonwealth countries and the problem of ocean pollution.

The experience takes place outdoors, inside two scaffolding cubes, and will be based in Sandwell Valley Country Park between 23 July and 7 August 2022.

An immersive virtual reality art installation

Georgia conceptualised Fluitō after completing her MA at the Birmingham School of Art in 2021, and it aligns with her passion for raising awareness of protecting our planet. The artist is known for using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) alongside physical spaces to create alternative realities. Using large-scale art installations in public spaces, she creates interactive works that focus around the various challenges of climate change. Through these public artworks, she intends to inspire meaningful conversations.

“Climate anxiety can leave people feeling overwhelmed rather than inspired to change,” says Georgia. “The experience of Fluitō is playful and memorable and although people do need to alter their behaviours, I wanted to showcase that there is beauty in the future and a purpose to changing.”

The positive impact of swimming

In creating the project, Georgia wanted to represent a diverse sector of the swimming community. She examined the way swimming impacts people’s lives – professionally and competitively but also socially, as a way to connect with others.

The soundscape incorporates interviews with communities and individuals whose lives are positively impacted by swimming. Celebrating local talent is also an important part of the artwork as Georgia aims to reconnect audiences and highlight Birmingham as a cultural and sports hub. 

Georgia believes in the positive effect of water on our wellbeing – how entering water increases blood flow to the brain, which improves memory, mood, concentration and even nutrient supply. Through Fluitō, she wants to allow landlocked Birmingham residents to experience this escapist feeling of being near water.

A celebration of creativity in Birmingham

The Birmingham 2022 Festival is a celebration of creativity across the West Midlands and the Commonwealth. The six-month cultural programme began in March 2022. “Audacious, playful and inclusive,” according to the organisers, the festival will connect people in a programme designed to “entertain, engage and embrace audiences, whilst positively disrupting and inspiring lasting change.”

Fluitō runs 23 July – 7 August 2022 in Sandwell Valley Country Park, and is supported by Arts Council England and The National Heritage Lottery Fund. The experience lasts 30 minutes and can be booked for up to 20 people. It is accessible to all and free of charge. Participants from all 72 Commonwealth Countries are also able to participate in Fluitō online through an augmented reality (AR) experience. Find out more on the Birmingham 2022 Festival website. Sign up to the Outdoor Swimmer newsletter to hear more about cultural events relating to swimming.

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Jo is the Gear Editor for Outdoor Swimmer and also writes news and features for the website. A keen open water swimmer and long-distance walker, she loves seeking out lakes and lidos close to her home in the Mendip Hills, Somerset. She is the author of The Slow Traveller, editor and founder of independent magazine, Ernest, and has previously tested outdoor clothing and kit for BBC Countryfile Magazine, BBC Focus and Ernest Journal.