Exploring Spaces

Posted in Uncategorized by ascheer on April 21, 2010

Blog #3

This video is a first look into how people inhabit space, and how spaces become queer.  I am choosing to focus this (very early stage) choreographic exploration on women’s bathrooms after experiencing numerous instances where I have been asked to leave the women’s room after being presumed to be male.  For my partner this happens almost every time she uses a public restroom.

There are two sections to this video so far: outside the bathroom and inside.  Right now I am thinking about the outside bathroom experience as what it means to be female.  What kinds of body language or gestures satisfy enough requirements to pass in the bathroom?  How do I prepare myself for this confrontation with gender norms, and how do I (or how could I) change my behaviors so that I can avoid having my presence questioned.   Inside the bathroom I am looking at mundane activities and whether or not they are queer, or how they become queer via proximity.

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4 Responses

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  1. kriegerdeslichts459 said, on April 23, 2010 at 3:42 pm


    I’m actually writing a paper for another class about the stigmas and and cultures surrounding public restrooms – they’re really interesting that way. Having changed into and out of drag in public men’s rooms, I know what it’s like to be asked “you sure you’re in the right bathroom?” and it’s frustrating.

    Restrooms are interestingly gendered spaces because they are both public and private at the same time. Given this, they are the easiest and slyest way to work discrimination into building designs and into our daily lives. That’s why I prefer the bathrooms in a place like Apex. I’ve been there countless times and I know they have two restrooms on the main floor. Do I have any idea which is supposed to be which? No, not really. They don’t enforce those rules there, so you’re free to use any bathroom available to you. This makes for shorter lines and wait times for people of all genders, which encourages people to buy more drinks. Good times had by all!

    Nice video – can’t wait to see more!

  2. anneabigail said, on April 28, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    I really enjoyed this video and thought it was refreshing that you created it yourself and put so much thought into each move and symbol that is represented. I would like to know more about the process of making the video for you, was it cathartic? What questions or difficulties did you have (if any) during its creation? DId you have different ideas at the beginning that sort of changed organically during filming? I think these questions are just important to be answered as watching the film itself. I wonder how a person would respond to the this video completely out of context, like if it was just put in front of them without a description or an introduction. Maybe you could do an experiment with this and see what kind of notions people draw from your movements, the setting, etc. I’m interested to know how dance and performing arts can help the homosexual community express themselves and gain the respect that they deserve, in a social and political arena.

  3. saimaanika said, on May 2, 2010 at 4:53 am

    This was a wonderful creation about space in public restrooms. Sometimes, I think of the complicacy involved when queer people use the public restrooms and which restroom they are “allowed” to go in to. The private aspect of public restrooms tantalizes other people, usually non-queer people, to coerce queer people out of the restroom because that person does not conform to the “ideal” profile of the gender that is “supposed” to use that restroom. I don’t think that one should prepare themselves and conform to rules and characteristics that society calibrated for who enters in to which restroom. The conventional sign of a stick figure in a dress verses a stick figure not in a dress should indicate the female and male gender. They do not and should not denote sexual orientation or preferences. Also, I think that the labels on the doors, “women” and “men,” should be changed to “female” and “male.” It boils down to the following fact: people who have female sex organs should enter the “female” restroom and people who have male sex organs should enter the “male” restroom. This evades confusion and humiliation and will possibly reduce, and eventually relegate, discrimination in the public restroom space.

    Or there should not be any enforcement of rules of who goes to which restroom, like the ones at Apex. Either option, everyone should respect each other’s space in the restrooms and no one should infringe on other people’s private space in the public restrooms. Since the public restroom is institutionalized, it will a little difficult to modify this new change, but as more and more institutes are allowing changes that accommodate queer people, the utter change is not that far away.

  4. sarah said, on May 3, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    I really enjoyed this video about how we inhabit space. It was really different from just reading about how we inhabit space and actually seeing the different ways we can fill up, cover up, hide and use space. You talked about what it means to be a female outside and inside of the bathroom and what kind of gestures you can do to make yourself feminine or masculine. I never thought in depth about how I perform these acts but it leads me to think of how society has socially constructed us to act in society. I think that we are always performing and monitoring ourselves because we know that other people are watching us and critiquing us. I also learned in my gender studies class that as we monitor ourselves, the kind of praise or reprimand we receive supports and affirms our gender norms.
    In the video, your friend is doing and undoing her hair. Even though it’s such a simple task, we all do it everyday. We look in the mirror, we judge our appearance and ask ourselves “Is this acceptable?” I believe we all ask that question every day. I think restrooms are especially interesting just because like someone else mentioned, they are both a public and private domain. Maybe that is why restrooms are so awkward. We perform very private matters(peeing and taking dumps) in a public realm. And even the way the bathrooms are designed are gender specific. I would not be able to use a men’s bathroom with urinals because I don’t have those parts! But what about someone who has both? Must they choose? Why do they have to?

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