V. Proposals

Michael Parker


The goal is to vitalize the Schindler House through a series of programs organized around a bottom-entry sauna sculpture. These programs will serve to facilitate an experimental social space in conversation with the history of art and experimental living at the Schindler House. Schindler’s utopian vision built individual spaces for the intellectual and creative pursuits of residents, as well as central, non-blueprinted outdoor living areas. The now public-yet-domestic courtyards were designed for communal activities and are the ideal site for the proposed sculpture.

The sculpture is the second iteration of a patent-pending bottom-entry sauna, which for the past two winters has been used for weekly steams in my own communal live/work space. This new dry sauna, designed for the Schindler House, will be an architectural and sculptural documentary, and homage to communal activity. The sauna will function as a platform for Los Angeles artists and thinkers to engage in an intimate dialogue with Schindler’s utopian vision.

Proposal Elements

  • Build a bottom-entry dry sauna and place it in the Schindler courtyard.
  • Design with materials that respond to the existing architecture of this permanent campground as an historic temporary autonomous zone.
  • Organize weekly sweats over the duration of Schindler Lab with curated artists and cultural producers filling the role of DJ (curates the music), HerbJ (curates the herbs), SweatJ (curates the experience). These rotating weekly collaborators will co-host the sweats, representing different smells, sounds, and tastes.
  • During non-sweat times the sauna will be an acoustically-live sitting space, with visual apertures to the sky, house, and grounds.
  • Install four to eight herb-based sauna sculptures throughout the Schindler House’s interior spaces. Inspired by modern sculptural history, these forms are based on the microfiche blueprints of Los Angeles’ spas and bathhouses found in the Records Department archives.

Possible SweatJs

New Music for a New Age (NMNA)

This Los Angeles-based artist collective brings together experimental sound and experimental religion. Guru Rugu is the main contact.

Tori Wraanes

Norwegian performance artist and communal sweating enthusiast will create a site-specific performance that utilizes sculptural instruments and voice.

Llano del Rio Collective

Llano del Rio, which takes its name from the 1915–18 colony in Antelope Valley, CA, is an artist-run group that explores psychogeographical sites of political and social moments in Los Angeles. The sauna would be a site for Llano del Rio to host an event with boisterous discussion and group strengthening. Robby Herbst is the main contact.

Lucky Dragons

This Los Angeles-based musical duo recorded Shape Tape in the Steam Egg and has hosted two sweats at my studio. Their sweat would come in the form of a series of live collaborative musical performances using the Schindler House and the sauna as musical instruments.

Jen Smith and Leif Hedendal

Sauna enthusiasts and artist-chefs are on the cutting edge of the secret dinner and pop-up restaurant scene. They host dinner discussions with cultural producers and consumers. We will consume and sweat.

Public Fiction

Lauren Mackler’s storefront venue and quarterly publication in Highland Park has hosted a Valentine’s Day steam and is eager to continue collaborating.

Butchy Fuego

This Los Angeles-based musician (Pit-er-Pat & Boredoms) was the first “house” DJ and HerbJ. He and I are camping partners and have spent many nights camping in the mountains, deserts, and hot springs around Southern California. Our camping ethos and sound ethos are fully syncopated.

Rosten Woo

Rosten is a designer, writer, and educator who helps people understand complex systems and participate in group decision-making. He hosted an MLK day Spoken Word Steam.


After a travel grant studying intentional and accidental, blueprint and iconoclastic, enclave and womb-states of utopia—a word that literally means no place—I set out to build an architectural-documentary-sculpture questioning the viability of utopian space today. I wanted to build the smallest utopian structure I could imagine. Can a communal womb open a space for enhanced moments of insight and criticism?

The Steam Egg was conceived with an ethos toward temporal utopian concerns.

The inside is completely different from the outside. While walking around the ten-foot-tall, three-legged, mirror-crusted, egg-shaped steam sauna and sound space, the reflection is fractured, the present moment is unattainable, while the future and recent past are reflected clearly. You climb inside through a hole in the bottom of the egg; it is smooth mortar; there is an amplified resonant sound quality; your voice becomes louder; you start to sweat; you are bombarded with the present.

Like the Schindler House, my home is a shared live/work space with four practicing artists. For the past two winters the Steam Egg has created a platform for semi-public social interaction. We invite other artists to DJ/HerbJ/SteamJ the egg. Each steam has a different smell, sound, and installation–the unexpected is the norm. Over two seasons we have hosted 36 official steams, with about 80 participating co-hosts, and 15–50 guests each night.

To address the notion of the impossibility of the new in contemporary art, I applied (originally with humor) for a patent, but I am now the patent-pending inventor of the first Bottom Entry Sauna, Steam Room, Steam Egg. The mirror-crusted Steam Egg is the prototype for future bottom-entry sauna designs.

Michael Parker is a Los Angeles-based artist.

Back to Top