Capitalist Bathroom Experience / by Celeste Christie

We first heard about the Museum of Capitalism from our friends at FICTILUS, who we met when they won the The Bank Heist Contest at Southern Exposure. Our submission, a zine about stealing from your employer (if your employer happens to be a bank), was deemed not glamorous enough by the judges. FICTILUS' proposal was a brilliant scheme called Chase Pyramid.

We stayed in contact over the years, and when Tim first told us about their idea for a project called Museum of Capitalism, we knew they had struck paydirt, so to speak. It was one of those ideas we wished we had come up with. It took a few years for the project to be realized, but after receiving a sizeable grant, they were able to move forward with plans for an actual physical space.

We had several ideas for the Museum of Capitalism, and started developing a project for a display of items used by workers as "coping mechanisms." One of these coping mechanisms was using bathroom breaks to capture back some private time away from your employers and your work. We weren't sure how to represent this, Francois wanted to create a "bathroom simulation." We liked the idea, but not the planned execution, so after talking it out, came up with the idea of re-contextualizing the actual bathrooms as an exhibit. Due to building constraints, we weren't able to create exhibits in the actual restrooms, which were also used by Sunset employees. Initial ideas of audio/visual presentations had to be scrapped for an approach that would allow people to take the exhibit with them into the bathroom. Our experience making zines was a natural fit for this approach.

We identified areas of struggle in bathrooms - privacy, workplaces, segregation, graffiti, and sanitation, and then parceled out sections to available A4DS members. We compiled them into a 32-page zine (text to follow in a later blog entry). Furiously stapling and folding, we managed to get them into the Museum just in time for the opening.

If you're local, stop by to see the Museum - it's an amazing project containing incredible works by over 80 contributing artists, and it's completely free.

Stay tuned for the Capitalist Bathroom Experience zine in our A4DS store!