The Light that Glistens so Darkly
Objectspace Exhibition —
Concept Design —
Toro Whakaara Exhibition —
Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland
An exhibition as part of the exhibition Toro Whakaara: Responses to our Built Environment held at Objectspace in Auckland 2021-22. This work explores the public toilet as a site and the ways in which it can be viewed as a spatial typology of exclusionary architecture.
Using four public toilets that currently stand or once existed in locations across the central business district of Tāmaki Makaurau as case studies, the work investigates through the dissemination of histories, atmospheres and specific architectonics how the typology of the public toilet is emblematic of the wider forces and players that have controlled our cities.
The makeup —
Through research into each site, by way of drawing, extrapolating site atmospheres, identification and formal exploration of architectural elements, a series of speculative spaces has been created, identifying the specific architectural language in each space that has enabled exclusionary tactics. Such spaces reveal how the typology of the toilet is emblematic of a wider societal conversation as to who controls the urban realm and how architecture influences a forced behaviourology. The project aims to bring to light the significance of the public toilet as a form of hostile architecture and how it has allowed specific groups of people to become active participants in the city.
- Spaces Explored
- Durhan Street Toilets
- Karangahape Road Toilets
- Wellesly Street West Toilets
- Three Lamps Toilets
The design —
The work manifests as a series of large-scale light boxes, floating within a material curtain. The rigidity of the perimeter frame of the light box acts as a threshold to a speculative space, with the material curtain blurring the boundary of the frame, questioning notions of public and private space. It aims to capture the historical and current narratives of the four sites, revealing the significance of the public toilet in the socio-political of the urban realm and capturing moments that are tender and intimate, sometimes celebratory and at times deeply threatening.
The result —
The work mediates boundaries between art and architecture to reveal how public space within the urban environment has greater meaning. By exposing the tension of societal norms, the work challenges modern urban conditions through visual aesthetics and articulates transformative and transgressive concepts in large-scale lightboxes.