Artist Statement


My art practice explores place through swimming. Swimming as part of the research, process and live event. ‘Place’ being the watery space that is navigated and swam through, the littoral space surrounding and the social space created by this shared activity.

When passing a body of water, be it pond, fountain, lake, river or sea, it’s hard for me not to resist the urge to take a swim. My work investigates where this drive to swim, to immerse oneself in water comes from. Is this urge spiritual, escapism or social? Is it the sheer thrill of the unknown; to feel the water on our skin, the cold on our head, adapt our breathing and to feel we exist?

My work explores how swimming as part of art practice can allow us to develop new insights as to why we swim and questions ways in which we accept as normal our pursuits and chosen rituals and how through acclimatisation and adaption we can surprise ourselves and go beyond our expectations. Swimming is an activity that connects humans directly to water, my art practice investigates being ‘in’ this substance of immense power and unknown from a lived in, embodied experience. Can swimming allow for a deeper understanding of fluid spaces?

Swimming, journey, encounter, conversation are the starting points for my projects. I use video, sound recording, drawings, publications, made object and live events to create the work. This process I have 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.

In the past few years I have created art projects in watery spaces as diverse as the frozen Pirita River, Estonia; the Rideau Canal, Canada; The President’s Fountain, Bulgaria; the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara; the M50 Aqueduct, Dublin to the bogs of Ballycroy, Co Mayo.

C.V. Vanessa Daws CV 2017


“Beyond Islands” Article in Visual Artist Ireland News Sheet Jan/Feb 2020:

TRESPASS! – Group exhibition at Sheffield Institute of Art 2019. Review in ‘Our Favourite Places’ :

Fingal Independent article 2017 : Fingal Independent article

Visual Artist Newsletter article : Psychoswimography Santa Barbara



Blog :


I make books from my art projects, these are the same size as the Dublin Tide Timetable books and serve as a tangible afterglow of the work. Here are the PDF links to the books

“17 Bridges” 2018 17 Bridges

“What is a Lake?” 2016 What is a Lake?

“Psychoswimography: Sanata Barbara” 2015 Psychoswimography Santa Barbara

“Lambay Swim a collaborative journey” 2014 Lambay Swim – a collaborative Journey

This book I made of the 1st Lambay Swim before I realised that this was to become a trilogy of swims to about and around Lambay Island. This 1st swim was swam in a relay with the sea swimming community from Malahide.

“Swimming in Ballycroy” 2013  Swimming in Ballycroy

“The History of the Slippery Pole” 2013 The History of the Slippery Pole

“This is your normal” 2012  This is your normal

My books and drawings are for sale, if you are interested in anything do contact me.