Writings on the bathroom stall

go to link By By Marc Pellegrino, News Correspondent

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الخيارات الثنائية راتب تاجر The door to the bathroom stall slowly closes from behind, muting the music and chatter from outside. But as the latch is firmly locked, voices remain. They are inside this little room, shining from the walls and the ceiling. http://dinoprojektet.se/?kapitanse=r%C3%A4tt-att-arbeta-hemma&f09=3a Some voices are quietly glowing, others are shouting for recognition; big, bold letters and numbers, quips and mantras. source url ‘I want to take you away.’ source site ‘Beware of jobs that make you change your clothes, for you may also change your person.’ الخيارات الثنائية بوت الثروة ‘This is the Doug Roman home for dinosaurs with special needs.’ http://aitram.pt/?rybish=%D8%AA%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%88%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A8%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%B5%D9%87&3d6=ed تداول البورصه ‘Smoke weed clown.’ source ‘You’re emo.’ ‘My hand is steady when ready for yours.’
‘I just picked up all the pennies on the floor and made five whole cents.’
‘I have a crush on you but I’m too shy to say.’
These are the written voices of the bathroom-goers at Newbury Street’s Otherside Caf’eacute;:’ ‘ sharing a plate of nachos and listening to Weezer;’ the homeless man circling the tables for a buck; the young existentialist in the corner, sipping a pint of Dogfish Head.
But while these scrawlings are everyday occurrences, they have inspired an out-of-the-ordinary art form:’ Entire websites have been created and dedicated to bathroom graffiti observers and connoisseurs. Facebook groups have arisen for those who ‘Enjoy Reading Bathroom Graffiti!’ Photo documentaries have been crafted in an attempt at preserving this culture, formed by everyone through anonymity, people who pass by themselves every day. Students, professors, the rich, the homeless, all have something to say.
For the last 10 years, Mark Ferem, creator of the photo essay ‘Bathroom Graffiti,’ has documented what he called ‘this ancient form of dialoguing and communication.’
‘It’s in our DNA ‘hellip; It’s this ongoing dialogue with ourselves, the realization of self discovery,’ he said. ‘The people that are unwilling to investigate, they’re part of the fear, that suffocating wall.’
While visitors of public bathrooms worldwide are forced to observe these scrawlings, this culture is hiding. But are people recognizing it?
‘It’s liberating,’ Ferem said. ‘When you share something, and you write it, there’s a form of liberation tied to it. Conversely, there are people who fear the repercussion of writing of the wall, destroying property. There is this weird boundary that when people decide to break out of it, it lends itself to freedom.’

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source Latrinalia
Latrinalia is a term coined by folklorist and University of California at Berkeley professor Alan Dundes in the 1966 essay entitled ‘Here I Sit: A study of American Latrinalia.’
Taking the form of poetry, drawings, artwork and political statements, latrinalia encompasses the varying mediums found on the walls. ‘ ‘ ‘
Dundes breaks down his term into five groups:’ sexually explicit faux advertisements; requests, often concerning the mechanics of defecating or urinating; false or facetious instructions; commentaries, either by the establishment or by clients; and personal laments or introspective musings.
In his essay, Dundes speculated latrinalia came from ‘the various homosexual rendezvous requests with listings of dimensions and telephone numbers [that] are clearly the traditional in form and are surely worth studying as indicators of one of the obvious functions of men’s rooms in a culture which forbids homosexual activities.’ While one-time occurrences may become ‘traditional” the vast majority of non-traditional graffiti are ‘much too localized to diffuse easily,’ Dundes said.
Much of the one-time occurrences are what lead to form the culture tied to it. New England Conservatory student James Charrette recalls tagging a bathroom in University of California at Los Angeles.
‘I was in a local bar and I saw something written in pencil on the walls of this really clean bathroom. I added, ‘if you’re going to write something on the wall, at least make it permanent,” Charrette said.
Various university bathrooms show the perpetuated vulgarity still found, the taboo nature of writing anonymously.’ Al DeLuca, a middler business major at Northeastern, said he has encounters some of these forms.
‘I saw a lone writing that said ‘homosexuality is a sexual mental disease,” DeLuca said. ‘Being a gay guy, it brought an emotional response of repulsion that such a statement would be alone on that wall for the patrons to be influenced by ‘hellip; so I changed it to ‘homophobia is a sexual mental disease,’ because I felt like I couldn’t just sit and let such a statement exist without my alteration.’
While Dundes may not classify this one-time act as true latrinalia, the reflections on societal opinions and beliefs have taken his theory to a new extreme. Dundes concluded his essay by wondering why latrinalia really exists: ‘One day when we have more information about the writers of latrinalia ‘hellip; and when we have better cross-cultural data, we may be better able to confirm or revise the present attempt to answer the question.’

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source site Beyond the Stall
With the varying shades of intellectual stimulation that a bathroom wall provides, an online response has developed over the last decade as a source to archive these inscriptions also act as a virtual community for those who find interest in this anonymous culture.
Unity Stoakes founded the site Graffitiproject.com as ‘a collaborative arts initiative with the goal of inspiring people to share bathroom graffiti from around the world,’ according to the site’s homepage. Stoakes said he launched the recognized site in 1999 after people were beginning to move into the blogosphere. What once was an archive of bathroom graffiti pictures from around the world is now an online community that ‘sort of runs by itself.’
While Stoakes said he had visions of turning the Bathroom Graffiti Project (BGP) into a series of books, broken down by categories and locations, he has seen his project move ‘where the community wants it to go.’
However, providing a community with a source to expose such potentially intimate gestures can have an adverse reaction to the culture. While BGP gives the opportunity for people to share their experiences, they put a name on something that was intended to be nameless, for the limited audience of the one person who enters the stall at a given time.’
Jonathan Horak, founder of Writingsonthestall.com, said he is conscious of that fear. Writingsonthestall.com,’ Horak said, acts as a space where people can hear ‘the voice that people may not publicly use. There are so many things that we need to hear that people still believe and you’re not going to hear in a public space.’
‘[Bathroom graffiti] was never intended to go online in the first place,’ Horak says. ‘If it gets posted online, people would become less frank and people would lose the honesty.’
Horak said he faces the risk of too many people being aware of his site, starting as an archive of interesting quotes he came across while a student at the University of Texas, but the site has graduated into more of a political statement.
‘There’s really no place for us, in today’s society, where we can get out there and express ourselves.’ Horak said. ‘Everyone uses the restrooms. Combining the public space of the restroom and the Internet, you can, for a small fee, create a site. And combining those two freedoms of expression seemed like a very natural thing.’
While people will always find a need to share what they find shocking, witty, humorous or vulgar, latrinalia is a culture founded on anonymity, where the audience was never intended to be on a mass scale.
Dominic Mariano, manager at the Otherside Caf’eacute;, even has plans on having his walls painted over.
‘It’s pretty grody. I’d rather have a clean bathroom,’ he said.
Although customers leave remembering the infamous walls, regardless of how many coats of white paint cover the walls, ‘I’m not sure how long it’s going to last,’ Mariano said.
Dan Melia, folklorist and professor at University of California at Berkeley described latrinalia as ‘likened to oral tradition, that you find over and over again, it’s still anonymous. The tradition itself is anonymous.’
Traditions,’ Melia said, are perpetuated and maintained by ‘displaying creativity and joining the fad ‘hellip; most of the writings are impulsive, extending [the writers’] treaties.’
Ferem recalls a story of a woman he came across during the footage of his ‘Bathroom Graffiti’ documentary. ‘I was in South Carolina, in Charlotte, and my friends and I went to some little tavern downtown,’ he said. ‘This woman, in this average Joe tavern, comes out of the restroom. She’s well dressed for the bar and I just happened to ask her if she’d noticed anything in the restroom and her mouth took this perforated look.’ ‘ ‘ ‘
”Why do you ask?,’ she said. ‘I just wrote something for the first time in my life.’ I asked her if she could show me what she wrote and so she took me in the restroom,’ he said, always carrying a camera in case of events like this. ‘She pointed at what a woman wrote previously, ‘I am so alone.’ The well-dressed woman had written besides it, ‘We are all united by our existential isolation.”
That was pretty heady for a first time writer, Ferem said.
‘Her hope was that that she would return and see the response he said. It’s just amazing the things that move people.’

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