Calliope - or how a public square can fit into a public urinal

or how a public square can fit into a public urinal
A site specific installation on urban landscape effects
in Das Klohäuschen Munich.

Omonoia Square is the oldest and most central square of Athens. Former ‘Othon Square’, it took the name Omonoia (Concord) in 1862, after the overthrow of the king. Omonoia Square is an exemplary case of interference with public space and its social aspects. In a collective conscience Omonoia Square has been recorded as an urban landscape under construction, as a no man's land. What is worth noticing in the constant temporalities[1]
of the square is the succession of local and international paradigms as issues of an ongoing discourse on public space.
In 1934, the look of the square comprised eight big sculptural constructions, which were placed on it in order to cover the holes of the ventilation system of the underground station. Each construction featured the statue of a sitting muse. These were called ‘the muses of Omonoia’. Even though according to the ancient tradition the muses were nine, only eight of them were placed on the square for reasons of symmetry. Calliope, the ninth muse, was placed underground, just next to the public urinals. Since then the name Calliope has been identified in collective conscience with the toilet, a metonymy very commonly used in the slang of the Greek army. After a few years the muses were withdrawn and Omonoia Square underwent a series of aesthetic and architectural modifications, which have made it a typical case of unfortunate urban planning in public space. The whereabouts of the statue of Calliope are today unknown.
Campus Novel call on Calliope as an allegoric persona non grata, in order to refer to issues of collective memory and the role of art and architecture in the formation of national identity and modern history. Furthermore, we are interested in investigating on the one hand the forms of collective repression of the present towards social, ethical and aesthetic issues and on the other hand the pressure and the trauma of the dictates for cultural supremacy. The symbolic location of Calliope in a former public urinal is suggested as a tracing of an urban legend, but mostly as a means of mending the relationship between the archeological past and the current concept of urban experience. The approach is an inventive interpretation of reality. The term "reality" is used in the lacanian way of seeking the hidden meaning of things and places as part of everyday life, in the same way that A. Badiou distinguishes it from a formal incident[2].
Calliope is a two-level site-specific installation based on the one hand on archival material and on the other on an invention of the imaginary persona of Calliope.

[1] Saskia Sassen, “Juxtaposed Temporalities: Producing a new Zone”, Anytime Magazine, New York 1999
[2] Alain Badiou, Being and Event, New York: Continuum, 2005