Show me the way to the public sphere!





In Wiesbaden everything is in its place. There is order and harmony. Things that don´t go well together, never meet or even get in contact. Between the restricted small area of Schlachthof and the thriving city there is a big and wellkept green lawn.Everywhere in Wiesbaden construction work is going on. Houses are renovated, facades are being plastered. The town is keeping to its standards and all is in good order. In front of each buildingsite you can see at least one Dixi. Brown or blue. Everything istaken care of. On lampposts around town you can find black plastic bags forthe dogs´ excrement. Not even if you´re a dog, you have to leave dirt behind! Even the supposedly ”dirty” place, the Schlachthof, is quite clean. Inthe evenings the party is on and the biggest problem is to getmore walls for the kids to put graffiti on. The Head of Wiesbaden who called Schlachthof the asshole of the city must have very little experience of shit.

A curious thing is that from this clean and prospering city, there comes ugly fumes and odours. Through the lids to the sewer rises
steam that smells of metal and phosphorus. They say it´s healthy, from the Romans to the holy Kaisers and the SAS-hotel. But we don’t know. The smell and taste is nauseating, that´s for sure.

The order of everything, the cleanliness as well as the nauseating smells of the ”supposedly” healthy water, out of all this we wouldlike to make a magnificent sculpture of Dixis. As a salute to the pioneer Fluxus in Wiesbaden we would also like some action to go on in the sculpture.

We would also like to place the Kaiserpanorama, not at Schlachthof, which really isn’t a public space as people who go there actually are heading exactly for this place. In our eyes the Central Station is a public space. A very busy spot, that will get even more busy with the Liliencarre 26.000 square meter commercial project! We would therefore like to put our sculpture in the park in front of the station. Not as a typical Rheingau-view, but an extensive DIXI-landscapethat hopefully will cause discussion and annoyment!

The sculpture is built with 40, 48 or 56 Dixis. Our idea is to put the toilets in a circle with the entrance to the toilets facing inwards. Impossible to use or get into for  the public. We want to add one thing to each cabin. A peephole. The idea is to invite/hire persons to act/perform in our sculpture by going in and out of the toilets and of course to use them. Not every hour but with some continuity
during the day so that the public can hope to really see something.
36 toilet cabins; 18 spyholes in the rear walls of the cabins; use of the cabins (which are not accessible to the public) by rehearsed actors.

”In its famous paradox, the equation of money and excrement, psychoanalysis becomes the first science to state what common sense and the poets have long known – that the essence of money is in its absolute worthlessness.”
Norman O. Brown

There is a photograph showing ninety-eight English men and women kneeling on each other in a large circle in a sunny meadow in high summer. All of them have their arms upstretched. There are no chairs or other aids and in the background we can glimpse an old country house among the trees. It does not seem to be a vicious circle at all. The atmosphere seems to be good-natured and several of the participants are laughing proudly. It is probably no national accident that the Encyclopaedia Britannica needs five closely-written pages to fail to explain what ”humour” is. The mythological snake that bites its own tail, Ouroboros, describes instead a sado-masochistic circle, a both fierce and self-destructive embodiment of the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus´ observation that ”the beginning and end of the circle´s circumference are the same”; a statement of the same dignity as that desperately shouted out by Sweden´s largest daily in bold display type on a newsbill twenty years ago:”Nothing Has Happened”.

The fully closed circle presented by Peter Johansson/Barbro Westling at the Wiesbadener Kunstsommer 2006 was instead a mocking pipedream for a voyeuristic Peeping Tom. Their Kaiserpanorama consisted of thirty-six clinically blue public toilets, kindly loaned by the respectable company Sanirent. They were conveniences that could not be used as the doors faced inwards towards the centre of the circle. You could not even force your way in between the tightly ranked cabins, an obvious example of hygienically well-cleaned protectionism in the private sector, loo protectionism. The outer walls of the toilets did, however, have fisheye peepholes through which viewers could occasionally see actors doing various things inside the toilets, apart from what people usually do in such a private space. The total closure of the blue citadel resulted in a confusing paradox. The isolated and the whole changed places. The viewer, locked on the outside, questioned by others for his dubious behaviour in this public space, could only see a small part of the private community that might exist inside. Was there just one person in there? Perhaps there were thirty-six people! One for each toilet. Although the work happens to have the same title as a text by Walter Benjamin, it is, of course, mainly an homage to the city that became a legendary location for the first Fluxus concerts (Fluxus Internationale Festspiele Neuster Musik, Städtischen Museums) in september 1962 and  the art philosophers who were so entusiastic about all the mammals´ excremental excretions. George Maciunas, for example, once filled an edition with dried ”artefacts” from larvae, giraffes, gorillas, tigers and other animals in transparent plastic boxes while Yoko Ono displayed a transparent labyrinth that led to the most important thing, a transparent WC.
Understandably, the reactions of  the art-viewing public to Kaiserpanorama were mixed, while the work also raised several important, even moral questions: ”toilets are necessary but do they have to be located in such a central location on the beautiful lawn?”, ”it´s like  George Orwell´s ´Big Brother´. He is alone, he can only watch.”, ”It is public and good but like all art it is non-functional”, ”Although voyeurs are unpleasant, I think they are fairly harmless” or perhaps ”Scheiße!” But above all it makes you think how frustrating it must have been for someone standing outside the closed circle with his legs pressed together 

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