American Standard

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Reece Terris
, American Standard, 2004

American Standard is an installation that featured fifteen functional urinals arranged in a pyramid formation on the wall of the men’s washroom in the Alexander Centre studio at Simon Fraser University.  Transforming the facility into a public indoor fountain, water overflowed from the uppermost urinal and splashed its way down through the formation creating a deluge of water flooding the sunken floor. Visitors enter the space via tiled stepping stones, providing access directly to the sink and preexisting toilet, leaving the facility fully functional and open to both sexes.
American Standard draws upon the ‘readymade’ and confronts its art-historical underpinnings (recalling Marcel Duchamp’s iconic Fountain), while imparting more than pure reference, as it extends beyond the object-oriented readymade into an architectural space. Rather than demonstrating how context produces meaning within objects, American Standard presents an environment in which objects re-contextualize their space, revealing architecture’s dependence on standardized form and socially assumed function within even the most private of public spaces.”

Nonfunctional Satellites

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Nonfunctional Satellites, by Trevor Paglen

“Developed in collaboration with aerospace engineers, the nonfunctional satellites are space-worthy sculptures designed as small, lightweight satellites that expand to become large, highly reflective structures. Placing one of these objects into low-earth orbit would create a visible “sculpture” in the night sky, visible from the earth below after sunset and before dawn as a bright, slowly moving, flickering star. The sculpture would remain in orbit for several weeks before burning up upon reentry through the atmosphere.
These designs are responses to the question of what aerospace engineering would look like if its methods were decoupled from the corporate and military interests underlying the industry. The nonfunctional satellite recasts the old question of “art for art’s sake” within a different context, asking whether we can imagine something like “aerospace engineering for aerospace engineering’s sake.”