Imbroglio City (Unit 1)

Part of Next Wave Festival in Melbourne. This project was assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

The imbroglio city is the metropolis in its most confused, frustrating and harried mode. Some aspects include:

  • Onerous legislation that miraculously appears from nowhere in order to put a stop to activity that would otherwise function happily within the realms of common sense.
  • The maddening scramble of escalating rents.
  • The car as bully exceeded only by the lame-horse that is public transport.
  • The rolling green exclusionary niche-zone that is the golf course.

Imbroglio City (Unit 1) is a moveable bathing system that enables persons to immerse themselves in the time-honoured tradition of bathing for purposes other than cleanliness.

The unit can be deployed either by road, train, crane or helicopter and features a hexagonal tub with room for six bathers, as well as a wash-station, two change rooms, and an elevated deck and congregation area. Bathers disappear into the structure through a lowered fabric portal; their hunched bodies signaling their passage into a soaked sub-world.

On board Unit 1 is a computational data collection and assessment mechanism. Driven by inputs drawn from the unit's geographical location, this facility sensitively evaluates the reality that surrounds it, using the data in order to select the type of material suitable for the actual bath.

During Unit 1's first live-test, on the third level roof-top of Melbourne Central Shopping Mall, the bath reflected and complimented it's context by producing what seemed to be a thickened, silky curd.

As a system that is aimed at the muck of urban life Imbroglio City (Unit 1) allows persons to survive this confusing mess by actively bathing in it. In this specific case the liquid was the culmination of the clean tiled floors, escalators, air-conditioning, attractively pre-processed food and good taste window displays of the shopping mall. This is not a therapeutic embrace, instead it is a sobering saturation in an external and ever-advancing liquid reality.

Invaluable to both the design and construction of Unit 1 was the Charleston based member of Bababa International, Mr. Eric Harrod. As both an architect, builder and ingenious man of forms with over 40 years experience Mr. Harrod is forever interested in new challenges. If you are in possession of a challenge, he'll be more than happy to consider it: email him.

The unit is for sale, please refer to our brochure. Price on inquiry.

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