Huussi – Imagining the future history of sanitation
The Pavilion of Finland’s exhibition Huussi – Imagining the future history of sanitation critically re-examines the current sanitation infrastructure in the context of global freshwater shortages and broken nutrient flows, which cause serious ecosystem damage globally. To demonstrate the relationship between our waste and food production, the exhibition presents a contemporary dry toilet – huussi – which is a typical sanitation solution in remote locations and summer cottages in Finland.
By questioning the so far indisputable position of the current water-based sanitation system, this exhibition aims to inspire architects and other professionals to start looking for alternative solutions, to better serve the world we inhabit today. Adjusting our ways of living in the face of climate change and biodiversity loss is taking place now, not in the future.
Huussi – Imagining the future history of sanitation engages with the “Laboratory of the Future” theme set by curator Lesley Lokko by looking critically at unsustainable practices of water and fertilizer use. The exhibition, the accompanying publication Death to the flushing toilet, and planned workshops will seek to offer hope for the future. Alternative urban scale infrastructure solutions are already out there and ready to be developed further. Echoing the call to action issued by Lokko, the pavilion will invite the public and professionals to start envisioning new solutions to a global problem: the time for paradigm shift is now, we just need to start demanding it.
The exhibition uses the huussi as a domestic-scale starting point for conversations about the subject of how we treat our waste in the context of the climate crisis. In developed economies, 30% of domestic water use is used for flushing toilets. Wastewater processing accounts for 3.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 1.3% of CO2 emissions – comparable to the aviation industry. Globally 80% of wastewater is released into the environment without treatment, resulting in a public health hazard and ecosystem destruction.
The exhibition also highlights the carbon intense production of nitrogen fertilizers and the undemocratic and extractivist production of phosphorus fertilizers, both of which could be reduced if our waste was recycled efficiently. Nitrogen and phosphorus washed into watercourses through agriculture and wastewater processing have become pollutants that threaten the future of the planet. Both are identified as “high risk” by the Stockholm Resilience Centre’s nine planetary boundaries study.
CURATOR: Arja Renell
EXHIBITION DESIGN: The Dry Collective: Antero Jokinen, Emmi Keskisarja, Barbara Motta, Arja Renell, Eero Renell, Janne Teräsvirta
COMMISSIONER: Archinfo – Information Centre for Finnish Architecture
DIRECTOR: Katarina Siltavuori
PROJECT MANAGER: Sini Parikka
HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS: Miina Jutila
PROJECT COORDINATOR: Francesco Raccanelli
PROJECT ASSISTANTS: Linda Peltola, Anna Rusi
PAVILION TRAINEES: Remi Leskelä, Amanda Puerto-Lichtenberg, Johanna Salmela, Alex Salminen, Henna Salminen, Sanni Teräväinen, Tytti Tuomola, Emilia Utti, Stella Vahteristo
TRAINEE SUPERVISOR: Tamara Andruszkiewicz
FILM PRODUCTION: Pekka Hara (director), Henkka Hämäläinen (producer, Breakfast)
EXHIBITION PRODUCTION: Rebiennale, QStudio, Pro Av Saarikko
LOCAL COLLABORATOR: Veras Association
CONTRIBUTORS: Juha Helenius (University of Helsinki), Ben James (ING Media), Annika Johansson (Finnish Environment Institute), Taro Korhonen (writer), Virve Kuusi (City of Helsinki), Sari Laurila (Huussi Ry), Suvi Lehtoranta (Finnish Environment Institute), Jonathan Mander (copywriter), Katariina Mäenpää ( LAB Institute of Design and Fine Arts), Elina Nummi (City of Helsinki), Paula Pennanen-Rebeiro-Hargrave (UN-Habitat), Riku Ruotsalainen (Reaktor), Eeva-Liisa Viskari (Tampere University of Applied Sciences)