TURNING A PUBLIC TOILET INTO A SPA
George Orwell Square, located in the medieval quarter of Barcelona, offers an exemplary case study for the analysis of certain phenomena related to tourism, urban reformulation and the privatization of public space.
Considered for decades one of the neuralgic points of the counterculture in the city, during the first years of the 21st century a process of radical change began to take place there.
As a revealing anecdote, this square was one of the first spots where local authorities installed surveillance cameras, which is ironic since the square is named after the author of “1984”, the famous fiction that settled the blueprint for most contemporary dystopic narratives of extreme control.
The square was a meeting point for anti-globalization movements, a melting pot of precarious coexistence between long time residents and migrant populations, and an epicenter of nightlife increasingly oriented towards tourists. A process of urban recapitalization, marketing of the city in terms of brand and a gradual expulsion of the popular classes began to develop around it.
In this context and responding to the aforementioned changes, I, who at that time had been living in the area for years, carried out the project "Turning a public toilet into a Spa".
I clandestinely hacked into a structure erected in the square by the city government, a public toilet.There I installed an operational shower equipped with hydromassage. This also included hygiene products such as soap and shampoo made by hand by myself, as well as towels that were periodically replaced by others, dry and clean.
These elements were used extensively, but a few days after the installation of they were destroyed by a group of drunk tourists.