Meditations on the Stall

 

you are only a moment.

i think i’m in love with an asshole.

fire + ice / sugar + spice, naughty no nice

teach me how to draw flowers

→ “go outside and look at flowers”

→ “look in the mirror”

 

The “female” and “male” iconography identifying each washroom at Emily Carr is manipulated on about every floor in the North Building: the male restrooms sporting the black triangle of half a skirt, and the female restroom’s triangle scratched out. This public gender statement is not unusual at an art school where open-mindedness and innovative techniques at rooting out the politically correct are commonplace. It’s only natural that the private innards of these gender-specific habitats would be even more compelling.

Within the four-walled confines of the ladies’ room stall, a lot of thoughts and emotions are present while the stall is occupied. Whether it’s about our humorous “Juan and only” or a hapless doodle, or even a complaint about the surrounding bathroom notes, the ladies of ECUAD have a story to tell -- so long as they have a Sharpie on hand. These private exhibitions provide the hush-hush confessions of love or hate or guilt or embarrassment that students can share without tacking their name on. Students get to view these for brief, private moments and can analyze and dissect the little art pieces as visual poetry and get a lot emotionally out by either viewing or adding to the washroom murals.

The individualized collections of bathroom graffiti form a testimony to the student form and her personal narrative at different levels in the Emily Carr program. Playful verses on the stall walls are an age-old way to anonymously connect with others in an intimate, unorthodox setting.

What exists is a strange dimension: a room where you can hear others murmuring or talking on their phone, or any assortment of wipes, makeup touchups, sanitary unfolding, and you are neatly organized into a raised box, naked ankles and shoes, private and solitary. The words and drawings on the walls around you aren’t illegible tags. These are the words of your peers in a light that no one else gets to see

Like Fight Club, no one talks about the bathroom graffiti. The poetry isn’t found solely in the words of the bathroom, but exists in the quasi-private atmosphere in which the viewer is literally seated. Depending on when the custodians last decided to give it a good scrub, an individual plopped down in the middle of a university’s present and past commentary is a strangely immersive way to familiarize yourself with your fellow classmates.

- Summer Skinner

 

 all text and snaps by Summer Skinner

all text and snaps by Summer Skinner