The project

The basic idea behind this project is to interweave two seemingly opposed environments, in order to tell a new story. The starting point is often a view of the inside of a public swimming pool, which is usually a physically enclosed space. The idea is, as users and staff do, to bring the outside world into the pool and vice versa.

Relaxation and/or fatigue, “good” fatigue, the change in sensation, the impression of flying (don’t astronauts train for weightlessness by doing exercises in the water?) bring these dreamlike possibilities within reach of almost everyone. The bath can also be a privileged moment when we look back on ourselves, our sensations and our state.

This external world can be real or imaginary, inspired or not by a work of art. Moving around in the water allows you to exercise, but the aquatic environment is also conducive to daydreaming. The body in water loses its usual bearings. The real and the imaginary, the exterior and the interior, the aquatic and the non-aquatic blend in this “fusion” of two worlds where ambiguity reigns.

Dive fully clothed into the unsettling exhibition by the MokA duo, made up of graphic designer Olivier Maitre, lifeguard, musician and photographer Karim Adjali and, since 2022, graphic designer Stéphanie Regerat.

Enjoy your immersion!

MokA Lignes à découvert

Countering the prejudice that public swimming pools are cold, aseptic and interchangeable places, the MokA duo reveal the rich artistic potential of urban infrastructures that foster both social and generational diversity. With photographs that blend classical and pop culture – from Shakespeare’s Ophelia and Rimbaud to the goddess Shiva, bowlers and a bistro owner behind his counter – Karim Adjali and Olivier Maitre’s poetic, humorous compositions take a mischievously whimsical look at swimming pools and the people who use them.

Before plunging into the pool, we leave our worries in the checkroom, ready to free not only our bodies but also our minds: as we swim laps or take aquagym classes, our imagination works just as hard as our muscles. The history of cinema, from Jacques Tourneur (Cat People/La Féline) to Ron Howard (Cocoon), shows just how fertile a reservoir pools are for the imaginary and even the fantastic. With MokA, we are invited to the Mulinghausen pool in Les Lilas to witness a space mission. Elsewhere, a building facade transformed into a swimming corridor prompts us to question our perception of verticality and horizontality.

Anne-Sophie GOMEZ