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Art Lovers: Urine for An Unusual Sight

Art you can use…if you dare! The most interesting thing about this 2005 installation is that it was a fully functional facility, “open to both sexes.” Thanks to Brian Banks for alerting us to American Standard by Vancouver, Canada artist Reece Terris. (Matchmaking opportunity! Reece, there may be a perfect-fit project waiting for you in Toronto!)

From the artist’s website www.reeceterris.com,

American Standard is an installation that featured fifteen functional urinals arranged in a pyramid formation on the wall of the men’s washroom in the Alexander Centre studio at Simon Fraser University.  Transforming the facility into a public indoor fountain, water overflowed from the uppermost urinal and splashed its way down through the formation creating a deluge of water flooding the sunken floor. Visitors enter the space via tiled stepping stones, providing access directly to the sink and preexisting toilet, leaving the facility fully functional and open to both sexes.

At the same page, don’t miss the embedded video which includes the installation in action; this does the work far better justice than these still photos.)

Goon Idea for Canadian Toilet Reuse!

(Note: that’s not a typo!) A tweet this week from World Toilet Day (@worldtoiletday) sought some group-think ideas on toilet reuse. Not toilet-to-tap recycled water, but actual toilets!

And yes, I did have a suggestion: head-snapping, thought-provoking public artwork similar to this too-odd-to-describe installation in China! So, get ready, Toronto, and visionary Canadian artists, please step forward!

Photos are via www.halohalo.ph, self-described as “The Funniest Filipino Blog.” They live up to their description with this hysterical commentary on the sculpture:

Thousand of toilet sculpture in China. I’m not surprise when i saw this sculpture because everybody knows that Chinese people are goon on this.

Drought Mneumonic Monument

In the unlikey event that local citizens forget, a public sculpture was erected in Taebaek, Kangwon-Do, South Korea, as a reminder of the hardship and pain of drought and water shortages and the continuing need to conserve. From BaboMike on Flickr is this photo of the Taebaek Water Monument, which was

“…erected earlier this year as a reminder of last winters drought. We were on strict water rationing for a few months, allowed only 1 or 2 hours of water per day. The monument is created out of old plastic water bottles.”

Water Monument, Taebaek, Kangwon-Do, South Korea

Detail: Water Monument, Taebaek, Kangwon-Do, South Korea

Public Funding Well Spent…75 Years Ago.

From the stimulus program 75 years past…this WPA Poster (Water Supply #4) was created for the Federal Art Project series on the history of civic services in New York City…in 1936, when “an average of 930,000,000 gallons is consumed daily.” By the artist Vera Bock (see other works by this artist here.)

Via American Memory, http://memory.loc.gov and stored at the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C

Best of 2009: Clean Renewable Rubber Ducky Power

We’re taking it easy the last week of 2009 with reposts of some of our 2009 faves! In case you missed it: Our April 2009 post, Clean Renewable Rubber Ducky Power, in which an unusual public art installation inspires our visualization of a “million dollar idea” for tidal power generation!

—REPOSTED, Original Link Here

Some outside-the-tub thinking: I found this HUGE fella who’s cute, yellow, and chubby! The artist Florentijn Hofman, well known in his native Holland and throughout Europe, created an actual 100-foot long rubber ducky for ‘Loire Estuary 2007,’ an outdoor contemporary art exhibition in France.

OK, so here’s my million-dollar idea©: WHY can’t we put this guy in touch with a group working on tidal energy generation? How cool would it be to have have hundreds of these bobbing in the sea, generating clean renewable power while delighting the populace? How ’bout that, Earth Day celebrants?


Sustainable awesomeness. Just another reason why science and art should knock heads now and then!

But I digress. Here’s a charming description of the work from the artist’s website

A yellow spot on the horizon slowly approaches the coast. People have gatherd and watch in amazement as a giant yellow Rubber Duck approaches. The spectators are greeted by the duck, which slowly nods its head. The Rubber Duck knows no frontiers, it doesn’t discriminate people and doesn’t have a political connotation. The friendly, floating Rubber Duck has healing properties: it can relieve mondial tensions as well as define them. The rubber duck is soft, friendly and suitable for all ages!

via lickystickypicky.tumblr.com

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Questions

Via Elton J. Mello (@medindoagua on Twitter) we were directed to the incredible Flickr pool “Water…Oceans, Lakes, Rivers, Creeks” with 26,249 members and a visual feast of 360,000+ photos.

Including this mesmerizing shot by Gilderic, The Mystery City… a very different and more spiritual perspective on urban water and its place in a city’s “soul.” What lies beneath the surface is more elusive and mysterious than a mass of molecules, don’t you think? Just as we might strain to see into the building’s windows, we also keep trying to see below that shining, reflected surface.

The mysteries of the city are hidden.

Deep into its houses and buildings.

Deep into the reflections on the waters of the river.

Deep into the soul of its people.

Les mystères de la ville se dérobent.

A l’abri dans les maisons et des bâtiments.

Dans les reflets flottant à la surface du fleuve.

Dans le coeur et l’âme des ses habitants.

La Meuse, à Liège (the river Meuse, Liege)

I’m Holding My Breath for this New Museum

Jason deCaires Taylor (via www.underwatersculpture.com)

Jason deCaires Taylor (via www.underwatersculpture.com)

Soon, Cancun may be noted for something more than Spring break underage drinkers. A national park in Cancun will soon feature sculptures of human figures situated in the seabed, with the first four “going down” this month. These are the beginning of what will eventually be hundreds of figures in “the worlds largest underwater museum.” From BBC News on November 19th,

According to the park’s director Jaime Gonzalez, one of the aims is to reduce the pressure on the natural habitat in other areas of the park by luring tourists away from existing coral reef, which has suffered damage from hurricanes and human activity.

One of the sculptures is La Jardinera de la Esperanza (The Gardener of Hope). It features a young girl lying on a garden patio, surrounded by potted plants. When it is installed four meters below the surface, the work will include propagated coral in the empty pots. This well-established reef conservation technique will rescue damaged coral fragments by providing a suitable new substrate. The base incorporates habitat spaces for other marine creatures such as moray eels, small fish and lobsters.

“It all happens rather quickly – within two weeks, we will see green algae,” says artist Jason deCaires Taylor, who is in charge of the project. “Then within a few months, juvenile algae will appear and the project will progress from there.”

La Jardinera (photo: Dr. Jessie Voights, www.wanderingeducators.com)

La Jardinera de la Esperanza (photo: Dr. Jessie Voights, www.wanderingeducators.com)

The BBC article also included this observation from Dr. Paul Jepson, a lecturer in conservation at the UK’s University of Oxford, who applauded the idea of the museum.

“Conservationists need to find different ways of engaging with the world. Artists should get involved in environmental matters so it is not just scientists trying to get the message out there,” he said.

And I wholeheartedly applaud that. In fact, that why I write about “Water and Art” and exactly why it matters.

Vicissitudes by Jason deCaires Taylor, Grenada, West Indies

Vicissitudes by Jason deCaires Taylor, Grenada, West Indies

Detail, Vicissitudes by Jason deCaires Taylor, Grenada, West Indies

Detail, Vicissitudes by Jason deCaires Taylor, Grenada, West Indies (via trendhunter.com)

Word Up: The Photography of Shinichi Maruyama

Born in Japan and now working in New York, artist and photographer Shinichi Maruyama engineers the collision of water and black India ink and captures the moment that the two meet at 7,500th of a second. Recent advancements in strobe light technology enable these stunning abstract images, where the camera can record the extraordinary detail of physical events that occur faster than our eyes can perceive them.

The series Kusho, which means “writing in the sky,” is reminiscent of Japanese calligraphy but executed in the air rather than on the flat surface of paper, using a variety of techniques to achieve a range of effects. Maruyama observes, “Not knowing what you are going to get impresses me strongly. We do now know what we have until we look at the actual photography.”

View the gallery of Kusho images at Shinichi Maruyama’s website

Information on Shinichi Maruyama via Bruce Silverstein Gallery

Kusho Installation View, Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York, NY

Kusho Installation View, Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York, NY

Kusho Installation View, Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York

Kusho Installation View, Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York

Surveying our Vast Plastic Landscape

Is today’s tidal wave of plastics rooted in the actions of centuries past? Ellen Driscoll’s installation FASTFORWARDFOSSIL: Part 2 (at Brooklyn, NY Smack Mellon/Dumbo Arts Center) is composed of 2600 discarded #2 plastic bottles she has painstakingly cut up and reformed as a ghostly, translucent landscape. The installation was conceived to provoke a critical look at the environmental and human damage inflicted by the oil and water industries in the last two centuries on regions as diverse as Nigeria and the United States.

According to Driscoll,

This installation is a continuation of a multi-year series which explores the dynamics of resource harvesting and consumption. This part of the series focuses on oil and water. Rising at 5:30 AM, I harvest #2 plastic bottles from the recycling bags put out for collection on the streets of Brooklyn. For one hour, one day at a time, I immerse myself in the tidal wave of plastic that engulfs us by collecting as many bottles as I can carry.

A nineteenth century trestle bridge plays host to an eighteenth century water-powered mill which spills a twenty-first century flood from its structure. The flow contains North American, Middle Eastern, and African landmasses buoyed by a sea of plastic water molecules.

Exhibition dates are September 26 – November 8, 2009 at Smack Mellon/Dumbo Arts Center: Art Under the Bridge Festival 2009. Photos by See-ming Lee 李思明 on Flickr