Urine matters and materials

Pis' Talk 3: Kamiel Rongen, Anne Vaandrager, Ruben Verwaal, Michelle Hammerton

24 sep 2015

After an evening on smart recycling of urine and another on public urination, the speakers of this third Pis' Talk focused on the materialism of the golden fluid: they highlighted how pee as a material was and still can be used to shape leather, carry out scientific research, create dreamlike audio-visual landscapes and nourish plants.

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Molded leather by Anne Vaandrager - With this Reality Tank project, traditional leather tanning has been approached in a new, innovative and unconventional way. Through the intuitive approach of Anne Vaandrager in combination with ECCO Leather’s expertise, it has been proved that traditional materials can be transformed in a new and experimental context. Droog Design

Anne Vaandrager

Historically, leather tanneries have used different kinds of substances that influenced the tanning process. Using her kitchen to pursue her research intuitively, Designer Anne Vaandrager manipulated this traditional process using an experimental approach for the project Reality Tank by Droog. Among other things she used urine as a material to see what it does to leather. Ever since, she has been expanding her research in using urine as an artistic material.

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Anne Vaandrager for Droog Design - With this Reality Tank project, traditional leather tanning has been approached in a new, innovative and unconventional way. Through the intuitive approach of Anne Vaandrager in combination with ECCO Leather’s expertise, it has been proved that traditional materials can be transformed in a new and experimental context. Anne Vaandrager, Droog Design


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Kamiel Rongen - Kamiel Rongen speaks on the third Pis'talk Margherita Soldati

Ruben Verwaal

Do you think we are the only ones obsessed with urine? Actually, pee has also been a hot topic and fundamental resource in the past within a large variety of fields, flowing from artisan craftsmanship to scientific investigation and vice versa. In each context the golden material was used for a different purpose and was given different meanings. Besides being a beauty lotion, a mordant essential to dyeing, and a cleanser for washing up clothes, this special bodily fluid played a relevant role in the development of science, especially medicine. Eager to know more? Ruben Verwaal from the University of Groningen is here to share his research about the concept of materiality, the historical background of pee and its fame among 18th century-chemists.

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A doctor examining urine - Oil by Trophîme Bigot, first half of the 17th century, now at the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford)


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Ruben Verwaal - Verwaal spoke on the pis'talk 3

And for those who missed this presentation, you can still listen to Ruben Verwaal here.

Kamiel Rongen

What do you think of the combination of pee and music? We are not talking about the music which is used to cover up the unpleasant sound of someone urinating, but pee that integrates into a mesmerizing video installation that, in turn, will make your pee-break a unique experience. Kamiel Rongen, artist and musician, will explain how the magic happens at Pis'Talk. For those of you guys that want to be involved, come to Biotoop for the opening of Dijkspark to relieve your bladders on Mediamatic's façade for the pee of a lifetime!

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Pure Gold (2015/'16) door Kamiel Rongen - Een microcosmos die ademt, groeit en danst. De interactieve video installatie Pure Gold van muzikant en kunstenaar Kamiel Rongen wordt getriggered door pis. Door zelf in de urinoirs aan de facade te plassen worden druiperige en dromerige beelden geactiveerd. Alles wat je ziet is echt! Er komt geen digitale manipulatie aan te pas. Kamiel gebruikt enkel vloeistoffen als pis, water en olie om zijn beelden te maken. De begeleidende soundscapes zijn ook door Kamiel ontworpen. Alle urine uit de…


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Still from a video installation by Kamiel Rongen - New video work created with urine, by Kamiel Rongen. Kamiel Rongen


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Anne Vaandrager - Vaandrager presenting at the third Pis'talk Margherita Soldati

Michelle Hammerton

Urine-based fertilizers may represent an efficient alternative to traditional fertilizers, considering that pee is an abundant resource available at almost no cost. Yet, it is necessary to understand what the nutritional capacity of this kind of fertilizer is and to what extent do the fertilized plants take up micro-pollutants. In June, during the second Pis' Talk, Michelle from Metabolic presented her research. She dealt with chemical, as well as health issues regarding the optimization of nutrient recovery from urine by struvite crystallization and adsorption using chemical components such as zeolite and biochar. During the summer she continued experimenting and she is now ready to reveal the results of her study. Will the tomatoes she grew in the greenhouse at Mediamatic be the springboard to more sustainable agricultural practices?

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Michelle Hammerton and Willem Velthoven - Michelle Hammerton and Willem Velthoven at the third pis'talk Margherita Soldati

Info

Pis’ Talk: Urine Matters and Materials
Thursday, September 24th
Drinks and food from 18:00, talk at 20:00
Biotoop Mediamatic, Dijksgracht 6, Amsterdam
Tickets: €8,50 (€3,50 for members) - food excluded

Students pay only €5! Fill in the discount code 'student' at the check-out. NB: we will ask you to show your student id at the ticket service.