Laboratory!

– Interactive, Digital, Performance Art –

Future Defecations | Keenan Bennett

Future Defecations - Keenan Bennett

Tuesday, January 30th
5 – 8pm
Richmond Art Collective Gallery
228 W. Sprague Ave.

Join experimental architect Keenan Bennett as he leads a participatory community forum exploring public restrooms as a community resource, in which viewers are prompted to consider and design radically open, somewhat subversive—but overall playful—public park restrooms.

Casting a line from the redevelopment of Riverfront Park to histories of gay cruising, the project is largely informed by a city park proposal by queer, anarchist poet George Cecil Ives. He made the case (in 1880s London) for the social utility of state-sanctioned cruising zones, arguing that spontaneous romantic encounters were the key to unifying the classes and ending class warfare. (He sent these ideas to Karl Marx, too.) Like Ives’ proposal, Future Defecations explores the socio-politcal possibilities of queering and de-familiarizing our shared social spaces. The exhibition asks, “In an age where technology continues to exacerbate our sense of alienation, can reformatting our most intimate public spaces—public restrooms—move us toward restoring the social bond?”

The center of the exhibition is a large, interactive park model loaded with toilets (traditional and abstracted), moveable scenery, and meandering paths. Low to the ground, viewers are invited to sit around the model and design custom outdoor park restrooms at their hearts’ content. Documentation of the community-generated restrooms will be submitted to Spokane’s Parks and Recreation office for consideration. The interactive model is accompanied by several sculptural ‘sample’ restroom models designed by Bennett. Photographs are also on view, featuring the provisional toilet models and natural forms that define the aesthetic of the models. As an added perk for viewers at the reception, they will be offered to take home their own model toilets.

Keenan Bennett in an architect and landscape designer based in Philadelphia. He attended the School of Design at University of Pennsylvania, has served as a member of the William Way LGBT Community Center Art Gallery Committee of the Board of Directors, and was a graduate lecturer at the Institute of Contemporary Art.