Open House at WePress
Saturday, June 18th, 2016 from 1 to 6 pm
WePressVancouver [at] gmail.com
Join us for a fun afternoon at the WePress Community Makerspace where you can create books with Karen Ward, try our letterpress, and view Women’s Washroom, an art installation by Cara Seccafien. Snacks and drinks provided. Everyone welcome!
by Cara Seccafien
Women’s Washroom is an installation that looks like a public washroom with stalls. This familiar utilitarian space is re-fabricated as a series of non-functional art objects depicted using diverse visual languages. The obviously handmade objects and components work together to create an illusion of a room.
Like my washroom, actual women’s washrooms are designed for unrealistic bodies. These unrealistic bodies literally must fit into small boxes (stalls) and also able to carry out their bodily needs gracefully, quietly, and quickly. They must not soil the white porcelain, use the equipment in the way it is designed, fit into dichotomous gender identity, and be comfortable viewing themselves in the mirror (and engaging in self-reflection).
The washroom I have created is non-functional, meaning the toilets do not work and sinks do not run. What remains is its social purpose: to divide the genders, to police the body, to subvert the “Other”. Dichotomous identity markers such as gender are fostered and policed in spaces that hinge between the private and public, such as a washroom. Its power to police our bodies is held together by our collective false consciousness, which I attempt to disrupt with this installation. Some viewers might recognize the washroom as a safe space for self-reflection, vulnerability, or congregation amongst exclusive binary genders. However this safety is afforded only to some. Viewers with bodily privilege might begin to question their comfort in a space that they typically consider safe or mundane.
This event is funded by a Vancouver Foundation Neighbourhood Small Grant.