Architecture is particularly adept in producing waste. The skillful collection of waste at a domestic scale and its distribution within a vast network of undetectable conduits is relevant to contemporary circumstances, which prevent any meaningful reconciliation of the personal impulse to accumulate with the universal desire for equilibrium. Readymade goods play a significant disciplinary role in a culture that has completely abandoned resistance to commodification, instead favoring the spectacle and sensations produced by these objects. Dirty Business suggests a hypothesis that the integration of the readymade, which is the architectural antithesis of monumentality, is actually establishing a new monumentality in the age of the post-digital. This view is critical of Reyner Banham’s observation of readymades and mechanical systems’ integration into American architecture as avoiding monumentality altogether.
In architecture, readymades are essential building components (material) and superfluous construction debris (materiel). They are invisible utilitarian tools, engineered with metric precision (anti-matter) that simultaneously produce unintended decoration, eliminating the need for craft (proto-image).
Dirty Business retrofits a manufactured portable toilet with machine-extruded drainpipes. In this scenario, object becomes site and surface become object. These readymades are then reconfigured by the blatant image of their everyday operation. An alternative narrative unfolds with the introduction of new characters that have an inclination for the awkwardly upright: The Squatter, The Stiff, and the Hugger. Another reality emerges on the interior, one that magnifies and augments the complex of cavities and conduits that insure civil operation, confronting the nature of society’s contrived functional and cultural mechanisms.