I sit in a public restroom. I listen and wait. I wait for people to speak. I wait for people to accidentally come into contact with one another and become forced to have a conversation. I then pull down the roll of toilet paper, sometimes a few squares other times a lot more. I transfer these restroom conversations on to the paper and then neatly re-roll it.
I am attempting to have a conversation with stranger, while preserving a pre-existing restroom conversation. The toilet paper has one chance for it's viewer to see it, either it read and noticed or it is ignored. The text is vague and banal as restrooms conversation seem to be. The public restroom attempts to maintain a feeling of privacy. It is rare to hear people communicate with each other, they go in to do their business and leave. When we hear someone's cell phone ring or a child scream it is alarming. But small conversations do happen, hellos are occasionally given, thanks are provided.
The public restroom also has a history as a sex pickup place for gay men. Sex occurs in the restroom in private stalls (glory holes) or it is taken to people's cars and homes. These public spaces are used to express private emotions that can be not be expressed otherwise. Many of the restrooms I vististed had sexual messages, drawings, or people's phone numbers. (Public restrooms have been getting a lot of attention in the media with celebrity sex scandals, such as George Micheal and Senator Larry Craig).
Lastly there is still something dangerous about the restroom. They are often dark, isolated and are placed at the back of the stores. When I was in high school, a young pregnant woman who worked at the local Wall Mart was dragged to the men's restroom during her shift. She was stabbed and killed in the middle of the day and wasn't found for a couples hours.
This work is an attempt to reconsider the extensive history of this space. To question as well preserve its social disconnection. Do I expect people to verbally share their problems at the urinal? Probably not, but smile of acknowledgement would be a nice start.