Thursday, November 13, 2008
Urinating as Art Experience
Urinating is like world wars.
Such a silly but vital act!
You may be pissed off by what I say.
But I repeat, pissing is like world wars.
World Wars divide history into ‘before and after’.
Duchamp divided the history of urinating into two-
‘Before and after 1917.’
Pissing was such an easy private act
With no help from external agencies.
You could call your golden stream,
‘A fountain or a shower or a wet curve in the air.’
Pissing was absolutely free of history,
Or in that case, free of art history.
But with Duchamp’s intervention in 1917
Pissing became so loaded with history.
When you piss into a urinal,
You actually connect yourself
With a conceptual work of art
With or without an authorial sign.
But if you are historically aware
You are pissing into a ‘Fountain’
Signed as ‘R.Mutt 1917’.
Washrooms have become
Small little museums
With stylized fittings of Fountains.
And state of the art lighting-
Airport washrooms are
Museums by default
And the pissers look
Exactly like museum visitors
Totally engrossed in the
Pleasure of urinating-
Oh sorry, pleasure of connecting
With a work of art.
Their faces almost show
The feel of Bernini’s ‘Ecstasy’.
Someone with alternative
Sexual identity checks out
Both your Duchamp and Mapplethorpe.
In local bars,
Fountains are treated
The way local galleries
Treat an un-saleable work of art.
They display it well,
Giving special accent with dim light
But never attended in detail.
Here you too become a casual viewer
Letting your stream of consciousness
Wander elsewhere while the stream
Of beer do the real talk with art.
Agency run public toilets are like
To see the work of art
You need to pay.
Real public toilets are the locations for public art
There along with Duchamp
You get Banksy and Basquiat for company.
There are permanent viewers out there
Like Gilbert and George
Standing like statues
Just to check out the size of your
Look at that…
It is the problem of art history
Even a simple but vital act
Cannot be viewed out of it.
But what about those
Who don’t know it is a work of art.
Milton has said, ‘They too serve
Who stand and stare.”
‘Follow this line’-
Like a museum instruction
You find a line up there above the Fountain.
Your trained fingers meanwhile
Unzip your fly and do whatever necessary,
The way an art history student takes down notes
While watching a work of art.
Then your eyes follow the line
And you find another statement-
‘Look, now you are peeing.’
And actually you do!
This is a performance piece of art
With audience participation guaranteed.
What about video art?
Yes, that is for the Queen’s rest rooms.
Hidden cameras do the job
While the innocent viewer
Is at her most unpretentious act.