Public Toilet Show

Public Toilet Show

Performance on September 12, 2014 at Råshusplass, Oslo
For Kulturnatt Oslo with Performance Art Oslo.

Ritter Sport is arguably Germany’s favorite chocolate and is marketed with the slogan “Quadratisch, Praktisch, Gut” (Square, Practical, Good). My song of the same name links my difficulties with romance whilst living in Germany with Ritter Sport chocolate. Why is it that Germans want chocolate that is square, practical and good when in most other cultures chocolate is fun, sexy and little bit naughty?

Many of the popular public spaces in Oslo feature neon blue cubes which are actually ultra modern and efficient public toilets. They clean automatically after every use and through a system of touch sensors enable the user to never have to touch any surfaces. The toilets cost only 5 Kroner, but this fee can only be paid by Visa or Mastercard. So what appears to be an egalitarian public service is in fact highly discriminatory and effective in monitoring public behavior. Many people don’t have credit cards (such as the poor, Roma people, illegal prostitutes) and it is also possible that the toilets may record the data of who uses the toilet and can therefore police any illegal operations which could take place there.

In the performance, I waited outside dressed in a short black coat, bare legs and platform stripper shoes. I invited passersby to come in for a public show, however, I didn’t have a credit card and asked potential audience members to pay the entrance fee with their own credit cards. Inside I performed “Quadratisch, Praktisch, Gut” linking German functionality and efficiency with Scandinavian culture. Both cultures value the “quadratisch” and “praktisch”, but is it always “good”.

Listen to the instrumental track and read the lyrics for “Quadratisch, Praktisch, Gut” here: