Vanessa Daws is a visual artist and open water swimmer based in Dublin. Swimming and bodies of water form the core of her artistic enquiry, which manifests through live events and exhibitions. Vanessa Daws’ research relies on chance encounters with swimmers, field recordings, interviews and her first hand experience of swimming to gather material that informs the work. This process, Vanessa Daws has been describing as ‘Psychoswimography’. The word ‘swim’ added to Psychogeography to shift the meaning from a terrestrial drifting to a watery drifting and re-imagining of place.
Live Events include: Beyond Islands, 2019, Skerries. Beyond Islands took people on a nighttime journey, participants choosing whether to travel by land or water. Along the way the audience encountered performances, projections, illuminated sculptures and a commissioned song written by Ruth Clinton and sung by Landless out at sea; the swimmers listened while floating in the water, and the walkers listened from the shore.
The Magic of Water was a floating art installation and performance set in a mythical waterscape based on the legend of Hy-Brasil created by the young swimmers from the Sean Mc Dermott Street Swimming Pool as part of the Five Lamps Arts Festival 2019.
The South Wall Swim, 2017 was a group swim and installation around the South Wall in Ringsend that celebrated the aquatic traditions in the Docklands area of Dublin. Business to Arts, Docklands Award.
Residencies and awards include Fire Station Artist Studios Residency 2018/20, Arts Council Participation Bursary 2018, Arts Council Project Award 2017, Resort Revelations Fingal Arts 2016, UCD Art in Science 2015 and Create ‘Artist in the Community Award’ 2014.