Blood Mountain: 221A, Vancouver, 2013

Curated on behalf of Blood Mountain Foundation

Bathroom entrance | Dennis Ha, 2013

The project consists of a 115 square-foot (10.6 square metre) bathroom redevelopment in Chinatown, which is one of the last frontiers for inner-city development in Vancouver. In the past the location has served as a restroom for a parking lot, factory, retail store, residential accommodation and since 2010, as the location of 221A’s 23 artist-studio spaces.


The project’s purpose is to examine the role of renovation as a form of cultural remembrance, healing and transformation. In the context of Vancouver’s rapid redevelopment as a vertical, high-density urban environment where existing older buildings and multi-cultural histories are often eradicated under the banner of urban regeneration, the renovation consciously deliberates taking the position of a pseudo-historical shrine, interpreting existing space and collective memory.

Pre-renovation bathroom at 221A | © 221A, 2013
Pre-renovation bathroom at 221A | © Blood Mountain, 2013
Bathroom renovation in progress | © Blood Mountain, 2013

In drawing a parallel between renovation and translation, Walter Benjamin noted: “It is the task of the translator to release in his own language that pure language that is under the spell of another, to liberate the language imprisoned in a work in his re-creation of that work.”  – Illuminations: Essays and reflections, 1923

The renovation is led by Tom Sloan, industrial designer and Blood Mountain co-founder and director. It is a continuation of Blood Mountain’s ongoing research and production-based project, Renovating the New World, which launched in Australia with a bathroom renovation in August 2013.

Bathroom Makeover or Post Socialist Pre-Displacement Pseudo-Historical Shrine is part of the exhibition and public programme, Blood Mountain at 221A (03 December 2013 – 18 January 2014).