The title, a variation of the Latin phrase Pecunia non olet (Money doesn't stink), refers to the Roman origin of Cologne. Immediate cause for the project is an extract from a book I found in the Historical Archive of the City of Cologne :
[...] "Until a few decades ago, the town of Cologne had a bad reputation with regard to sanitation. Chroniclers made no secret of the situation in the narrow alleys, in which refuse was piled up on both sides. At best, garbage was dumped on vacant lots or in the vicinity of the town wall, where it continued to give off a stench. Even the plague epidemic which raged in 1665-1666 within the town walls, claiming thousands of lives, hasn't changed the situation much. Numerous recorded complaints confirm a statement, once made by Englishmen visiting the town, that the name of the three most dirty cities of the world start with the letter C: Calcutta, Constantinopel and Cologne." [...]
(from: 'Die Assanierung der Städte in Einzeldarstellungen', 1. Band, 4. Heft: 'Die Assanierung von Köln' / page 159 a.f. (Ef 338) / Verlag Wilhelm Engelmann, 1906, Leipzig.)
This project consists of a walking tour straight across the city centre of Cologne. The route largely follows the old Roman road and runs parallel to the river Rhine which flows in the East.
The first part of the course, measuring 4711 steps, leads along 14 drugstores and perfumeries that sell 'Eau de Cologne'. In each shop I will buy a 25 ml. (0,8 fl.oz.) bottle of 'Echt Kölnisch Wasser' and carry it with me.
The first part starts in the south, in my studio at the Alteburger Wall 1, and runs through the Bonner Straße, Chlodwig Platz, through the Severinstor (the South gate of the medieval town centre) to the Severinstraße, along the Waidmarkt to the Hohe Pforte, the Hohe Straße and via Wallrafplatz, Unter Fettenhennen, Marzellenstraße and Eigelstein to the final destination of the warm up course: the Eigelsteintor (the North gate of the medieval town centre).
Pedometer display at the Eigelsteintor.
At the Eigelsteintor I will divide the purchased quantity of 'Echt Kölnisch Wasser' between two bottles, each containing a quantity of Real Cologne Tap water and mix the two fluids.
Some citizens use the Eigelsteintor and the Severinstor in case of distress as a public toilet. An impressive quantity of Real Cologne Bladder water must have run down their medieval walls over the years.
As a symbolic act, I will pour the mixture from the first bottle out over the urine drenched base of the Eigelsteintor, hoping that the interaction of these three Real Cologne Fluids will neutralize their aromatic effects. This way, I will give expression to the project's title.
After this ceremony, the journey back starts, leading in opposite direction from the Eigelsteintor through the Eigelstein and the Marzellenstraße, via Unter Fettenhennen to the Wallrafplatz, through the Hohe Straße and the Hohe Pforte along the Waidmarkt via the Severinstraße back to the Severinstor.
At the Severinstor, the ceremony, which was executed at the Eigelsteintor, will be repeated: the contents of the second bottle will be poured out over the stone foot of the Severinstor.
The final part of the walking tour runs over the Chlodwig Platz via the Bonner Straße to the start of the course at the Alteburger Wall 1. Now the work is done, I will take a shower in my studio apartment. With a bar of '4711' cream soap I will remove all possible body odour.
Arnold Schalks, pedestrian artist
October 28, 2001, Cologne