Constructing the shitting citizen: the promise of scatological art as environmental and social activism
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Art activism uses visual and performance art to promote social and environmental agendas. In this paper, I explore attempts to raise awareness of sanitation issues at the global, local and personal level using scatological art. I focus on the successes of the open-air public art exhibition set up in the Brisbane (Queensland, Australia) central business district to celebrate World Toilet Day in 2008. The art in this exhibition featured included one hundred toilets decorated to raise awareness of global sanitation issues and the distribution of promotional materials featuring scatological images including postcards and stickers. Given the subject matter and intent, the toilet art and promotional materials presented at the One Hundred Toilet exhibition can be seen as an example of scatological art employed for the purposes of social and environmental activism. Through the One Hundred Toilet exhibition, I consider the political aims and activist potential of using scatological art to progress social and environmental agendas and consider how this kind of 'shit on show' approach can contribute to the construction of the shitting citizen; one who is simultaneously responsible for and responsive to managing the waste that they produce and recognising and responding to broader sanitation issues.
Reconstruction: studies in contemporary culture
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Social and Cultural Geography