An exhibition themed around public urinals — in Brussels, not New Albania.


Among the innovations witnessed at Poperinge’s triennial pop-up Beer and Hop Festival beer hall in 2014 was the notion of charging a one-time “piss pass” fee for using temporary loos (Euro 1.20), with heavy-duty plastic, open-air pissoirs helpfully available for the gents.

The installation pictured here was festooned with a campaign poster for one of three competing hop queen triads. They’re humorously reclined amid hops, and it should be pointed out that their team placed it there for a reason — to reach the “swing” voter.

Verily, it was all in good fun. Seeing creative teenage hop queen candidates advertising with professionally printed posters on outdoor urinating stations was precisely the sort of thing to remind us that we no longer were experiencing a New Albany state of mind.

And, as this timely article reminds us, the development of the public urinal not only goes back almost 200 years, but references social developments ranging quite far removed from the simple need to relieve oneself while following the path to the next whiskey bar.

Standing room only: Brussels exhibition tells story of public urinals, by Richard Harris (The Bulletin)

In further proof that Brussels’ cultural scene is nothing but varied, an exhibition themed around public urinals is coming to the city later this month.

After runs in Berlin and Paris, LaVallée in Molenbeek presents the exhibition Cottages: Public Toilets, Private Affairs by French photographer/videographer Marc Martin, who describes himself as “one who explores the visibility of sexual minorities and claims a freedom to express – explicit or not – a diversity of practices”.

“By confronting the notions of beauty and repulsion, of good and bad taste, I readjust the level of tolerance, including of the LGBTQI community,” he says.