In a city, you don't have many opportunities to do private things in a public environment, sometimes your only option is... public toilets... (especially I guess, when your home is not so private or when you actually don't have a home).
The in-between-ness team stroke again: as I was reading their call for participation, a scene from "Prick up your ears" came to mind... Or also, just yesterday, David described to me the state of the public toilets at the Gare du Nord, run by a company called ironically "Mister Clean", as they couldn't be dirtier, with a special touch: serynges all over.
A Public Inconvenience
The 3rd workshop in the in-between-ness series.
Subterranean, ceramic-tiled bathrooms, plastic temporary urinals or
compact, metallic washrooms in transit spaces; public toilets are an
often-overlooked space in our urban environment. Technologies designed
for the city often try to abstract away from the inconvenient
necessities which our bodies require; or, when they are designed
explicitly for public toilets, the focus is on supporting the cultural
values of hygiene and privacy. What do we miss by ignoring the fact
that public toilets are also the site for a variety of social
'A Public Inconvenience' will explore the experience and affect of
public toilets in an urban environment, in this case Amsterdam.
Through observation and engagement we will consider how public toilets
are shaped by, and themselves shape, cultural practices, values, and
attitudes. And further, how this essential part of the urban fabric
contributes to the everyday experience we have of our cities.
'A Public Inconvenience' is the third in a series of workshops
exploring in-between-ness in urban environments. That is, the places
and times that are often on the periphery of everyday life - the
journey to work or the time spent queuing in a shop.
To be considered for participation, researchers and practitioners are
invited to send us a compelling public toilet story (see The Stories
section of the website for inspiration), an optional toilet
photograph, a brief biography, and a short rationale outlining your
interest in the workshop. This document should not exceed two pages.
Send to karen.martin (at) ucl.ac.uk by 21st September 2007
Acceptance Notification is 28th September 2007
Place and Time:
26th & 27th October 2007
Waag Society, Amsterdam
Arianna Bassoli (The London School of Economics)
Johanna Brewer (University of California, Irvine)
Karen Martin (Bartlett School of Graduate Studies)
Valentina Nisi (Fattoria Mediale)
Martine Posthuma de Boer (Fattoria Mediale)