BOB, an inflatable cloud above a public bathroom and forum, officially opens June 1 on the Morningside campus of Columbia University, between Avery and Fayerweather Halls.
The pavilion is the result of a pedagogical experiment involving graduate art and architecture students at Columbia University. Supported by the Bridge Grant for the Art and Architecture, professors Galia Solomonoff (Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation), Nathan Carter (GSAPP), and Liam Gillick (Visual Arts Program, School of the Arts) advised and provoked a joint team from GSAPP and the School of the Arts.
The pavilion will be open through July 25, and it features a public restroom installation, projection screen, 12 student-designed seats and a bar beneath an inflatable canopy. The public restroom, which includes a composting toilet, is enclosed by a screen for the projection of ideas. Reconsidering the idea of graffiti and public anonymity, images and shadows are cast upon a translucent scrim. Privacy is preserved, but information is not restricted by solid walls. The pneumatic roof, conceptually re-pressurized via the toilet's exhaust, suggests the bathroom's sphere of influence. The inclusion of a composting restroom facility is integral to the concept of the installation, and emerged from the studio mantra that "a society that does not provide public restrooms does not deserve public art."* The bathroom intentionally forces a correlation between public space and a societal responsibility to provide and ensure basic necessities.
Over the summer, BOB will host a number of parties and public film screenings. When the pavilion is dismantled in August, the composting toilet will be donated to the New York Restoration Project, to be installed in the Cooper Street Community Garden in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The inflatable canopy and seats are also available to be donated for public use.
School of the Arts Student Collaborators on the project are Miga Eirini Aspasia ('12SOA), Sebastian Black ('12SOA), Alexander Carver ('11SOA), Ernst Fischer ('11SOA), Nadja Frank ('11SOA), Jesse A Greenberg ('11SOA), Yve Laris Cohen ('11SOA), Alexandra Lerman ('12SOA), R Lyon ('12SOA), Pooneh Maghazehe ('11SOA), Tracy Molis ('11SOA), Nick Paparone ('11SOA), Rory Parks ('11SOA), Sandy Smith ('12SOA), and Francisco Vidal ('11SOA).
* This statement is a reinterpretation of a quote by artist Carl Andre, in which he states, “A society that does not provide attended public facilities does not deserve public art.”