The Viridian Design Movement

Key concepts:
odd things done with toilets
Attention Conservation Notice:
We Viridians don't normally dabble in bathroom humor, but these peculiar snippets were assembled by a curator we know who works for the Guggenheim Museum. This is more than toilet humor – this is, like, toilet art.

Jon Ippolito. He sent this stuff.

Subject: pee-green
Date: July 23, 2004 9:27:05 PM CDT
To: bruces*


"Google says you haven't written about these links yet, so I just had to forward them on. Maybe it's time to lighten up those Viridian Notes with a little bathroom humor?

"Nestled between the reviews of solar shingles and bamboo flooring on is a writeup on Waterless Urinals:

A Guide to the Most Efficient Things in the World

"These waterless urinals are plainly more efficient than the ones currently in use in most bathrooms nationwide.

"They can save up to 45,000 gallons of water and more per year per urinal.

"They also require less maintenance, and are less prone to plumbing problems. They have no moving parts. Urine is contained under a special biodegradable liquid called BlueSeal.

"According to the manufacturer, some high profile installations include Liberty Island, New York; Petronas Towers, Malaysia; and The Jimmy Carter Library, Georgia...

"I wonder if there's a special icon for these toilets in the 'pee-Pod?' I guess the 'audio information' doesn't include a flushing sound:

"Bringing relief with the pee-Pod To pee, or not to pee?


"The trauma of dirty loos could be a thing of the past for users of pPod, a guide to the best and worst of public toilets for iPod owners.

"The possibility of unpleasant odours, a lack of soap or paper, graffiti and absent attendants have the power to strike fear into the hearts of all but the sturdiest of visitors to public toilets.

"The question of whether to hold on until a familiar, clean facility is reached, or to bite the bullet and gain immediate relief, is one which faces everyone at some point.

"A possible solution is now being offered to iPod users, who could soon have the power to choose their loos with confidence.

"A free interactive guide to public conveniences, appropriately called pPod, offers audio and text information on their whereabouts, opening hours, facilities and cleanliness....

"Not to be outdone, the US military has brought efficiency full-circle:

"Army rations rehydrated by urine

Link: 19:00 21 July 04

"Would you eat food cooked in your own urine? Food scientists working for the US military have developed a dried food ration that troops can hydrate by adding the filthiest of muddy swamp water or even peeing on it.

"The ration comes in a pouch containing a filter that removes 99.9 per cent of bacteria and most toxic chemicals from the water used to rehydrate it, according to the Combat Feeding Directorate, part of the US Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Massachusetts. This is the same organisation that created the 'indestructible sandwich' that will stay fresh for three years (New Scientist print edition, 10 April 2002).

"The aim is to reduce the amount of water soldiers need to carry. One day's food supply of three meals, weighs 3.5 kilograms but that can be reduced to about 0.4 kilograms with the dehydrated pouches, says spokeswoman Diane Wood.

"The pouch – containing chicken and rice initially – relies on osmosis to filter the water or urine. When two solutions of different concentrations are separated by a semipermeable membrane, with gaps that allow only water molecules to pass through, the water is drawn to the more concentrated side...."

Jon Ippolito remarks: "Either I've stumbled upon the meme du jour or I've been spending too much time around my pre-schooler children."


"See-Through Loo

"Claim: Photographs show a public toilet made with reflective glass walls. "Status: True.
"Example [Collected on the Internet, 2004]

"Here's a picture of a public toilet in Switzerland that's made entirely out of one-way glass. No one can see you in there, but when you are inside, it looks like you're sitting in a clear glass box.

"Origins: Although our mores regarding the display of the human body and bodily functions have changed a good deal over the years (for example, the notion that a woman might breast-feed her child in a public place was almost completely unthinkable just a few decades ago), most of us still hold very strong taboos against anyone other than intimates seeing us in certain circumstances, such as when we're unclothed, when we're engaged in execretory activities, and when we're engaged in sexual activities. Our squeamishness in these regards is such that we're often quite uncomfortable when others are present during these circumstances, even if they cannot see us. (Many people feel quite embarrassed about disrobing when a member of the opposite sex is present in the room, even if that other person keeps his or her eyes tightly closed.)

"On the other hand, we may not be so fussy about stripping down in a locker room or using a public bathroom in the presence of others – it somehow seems more acceptable for us to do these things in front of other people when those others are engaged in the same activity.

"The concept of how we react to 'seeing but not being seen' was put to the test by 38-year-old architectural artist Monica Bonvicini in December 2003, when her work entitled 'Don't Miss A Sec' was installed at a construction site (the future home of the Chelsea College of Art and Design) across the road from London's Tate Britain museum (not in Switzerland, as claimed in the text quoted above)."

Link:<BR> Monica Bonvicini, feminist German art gal

"Bonvicini's creation is a public toilet enclosed within reflective glass walls that allow the user to see out but prevent those outside from seeing in, an exhibit that challenges whether we can adapt to the idea of being able to view others passing in close proximity to us while we engage in an activity which we don't want them to view – even when we know full well that they can't possibly see us. As a spokesman for Ms. Bonvicini explained:

"'It will arouse curiosity because people can come and just use it, although there is a question of whether people will feel comfortable doing so.

"'They may be wary of desecrating a work of art or may be uneasy that because they can see out, other people can see in.

"'There could be this feeling that there is some form of switch to change it and let people see in, but of course there isn't.'

"Jeff Boloten, who works at the Tate Britain, noted:

"'Playing with the idea of the most private bodily function and having to sit on a street corner is just bizarre.

"'The construction site makes it interesting because portable toilets are at construction sites all the time, but, the Tate Britain's a respected institution; the juxtaposition makes it more unique.'

"The title of the work refers to Ms. Bonvicini's observation that attendees at art openings were afraid to leave the room for fear of missing a key entrance or comment, hence her 'Don't Miss A Sec' exhibit 'reflects peoples' reluctance to leave the spectacle, and allows the art-goer to remain in the action, even while on the toilet.' Her use of a stainless steel toilet and sink unit was inspired by the fact that the 'Don't Miss A Sec' exhibition site once housed Millbank Penitentiary, a 19th century prison facility.

"Last updated: 14 July 2004 Urban Legends Reference Pages (c) 1995-2004 by Barbara and David P. Mikkelson This material may not be reproduced without permission.

Carlile, Jennifer . "A New Way to View London: From a Toilet." 5 March 2004.

Rubinstein, Raphael. "A Tale of Two Toilets." Art in America. February 2004.

BBC News. "Art's Glass Toilet Tests Courage." 3 December 2003.

"Be well!"

Jon Ippolito

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