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'Waste' redefined through public art

There’s a large container sitting in the middle of Columbus Circle. Though chances are you’ve driven by it and didn’t think twice about what could be inside, it’s pubic art, sponsored by the Everson Museum and the city of Syracuse.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- There’s a large container sitting in the middle of Columbus Circle. Though chances are you’ve driven by it and didn’t think twice about what could be inside, it’s pubic art, sponsored by the Everson Museum and the city of Syracuse.

Though a container is clearly out of place in downtown Syracuse, people walking by hardly gave it a second glance, until NewsChannel 9 pointed out the odd toilet you see from the entranceway.

“Why’s the toilet so high up? It should be on the floor. Imagine being up there and riding and falling off,” said Scarlett Vorandnax, who was passing by the piece.

It’s a toilet with a unique inhabitant: a live tilapia, living in its own self-sustaining ecosystem, created by an artist with an important message.

The tilapia lives in the water. His waste travels to the tank that supplies nutrients to the plants. The plants in turn clean the water that cycles back to the fish. It's supposed to make you re-think what we consider to be "waste."

“This idea that when your pet fish dies, you throw it in the toilet, flush it and it just goes away...the reality is, Syracuse waste is treated and goes into Onondaga Lake. In other places it’s different, but it always goes somewhere. It doesn’t disappear,” said Artist Misha Rabinovich.

Rabinovich says we live in a “flush-away” culture, but he’s hoping to help people think differently.

Don't worry about the fish inside the container. It was donated from a science experiment where it was scheduled to be killed and great care is being taken to make sure it's comfortable and you're comfortable during this experience.

That piece is only one of many outdoor art projects sponsored by the Everson Museum now. There’s another installation at the Erie Canal Museum. Be on the lookout too for a traveling sauna that could be making a stop in your neighborhood.
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