Subject:      the acquisition of found art
From:         aj088@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Lynn Bry)
Organization: The National Capital FreeNet, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Date:         Sat, 1 Oct 1994 06:33:13 GMT
Newsgroup:    talk.bizarre

someone tossed the porcelain bowl plus stand and seating array of a toilet by the dumpster in our alley a few days ago.

when i first saw it i thought distantly of the exquisite havoc my friend tom williams wrecked by painting mannequins with psychedelic designs for a 'korova milk bar' installation in the basement of our dormitory.

I have the torso of a mannequin, a 60s-style mannequin with a chest that can be used as a lethal weapon in mortal combat. it's good for holding extra christmas lights too. i have thought of 50 different ways to embellish it, which means I have done nothing to it except drag it out every halloween to entice the local kids to our doorstep for the acquisition of enigmatic objects that do nothing in particular, and to taunt the nuns as they walk to convent every morning. but a toilet, oh, what *I* could do with a toilet..

i don't think of it as toilet though.
i think of it as a COMMODE, for COMMAND MODE.

first i dragged it to the other side of the alley and propped it against our building so the garbage men wouldn't take it. i still have this nagging stimga of sterility sitting atop three years of full awareness that neighborhoods not too far from mine are considered 'endemic' for hepatitis A.

Every day, for three days in a row, I put on blue funny smelling gloves and doused it with microquat and alcide. nothing now grows within a three foot radius of the COMMODE. i lifted the lid and looked inside. it had been scrubbed prior to its disposal, I could tell by the grainy white deposits of ajax left around the edges of the bowl, but it still had that distant scent of COMMODE one used.

i sprayed it liberally, this time with ammonia. the paint on the seat cover has begun to crackle. i may have to remove it with acetone.

I dragged it up the stairs of the emergency exit to our level and scrubbed it after first dousing it with chlorox. the iron railings and girders around the commode and on the level below have started rusting, but I stripped it of all potential odors. It now smells of chlorine and chemical erosion.

i dragged it back downstairs, risking asphyxiation in the process. i think it will be few days before I can approach the COMMODE again.

in the meantime I have considered what to do with COMMODE.

it's a very odd sensation to lift a toilet seat cover and peer into the inner depth of a toilet when standing outside in the open, or on a landing of an emergency staircase. I have this vision of getting my friend mort to stand and take a piss in the COMMODE, just so it can feel like its old self again, but he'd never agree to such. as per once said, all my friends are 'Short Hysterical Men,' and he might be driven to hysterics if I asked him.

but then, we always expect *white* when looking into a toilet, whether it's directly looking down or peering over one's shoulder, a distant white that leads to nowhere in particular, and is nothing more than a passing whim of consciousness that's part of the bathroom experience.

imagine a COMMODE, plain on the outside, simple elgant, boring and fully conventional.... but decorated unconventionally on the inside.

decorate it with what?

** (Gobble.Gobble) jaws rising out of the depths..
.... fish are out of the question.

** photographic montage, something from the nixon/kennedy years.

** bugs. ants, beetles and dragonflies swimming around the toilet bowl.

** Beautiful Colors. Ahh.. yes.. I want to paint it with Beautiful Colors in Infinite Array. I want somebody to open the cover and be so transfixed with the colors that they stick their head in the toilet bowl to get a closer look. then I want to hook up a small speaker at the bottom of the draining orifice that says something soothing, somthing like James Earl Jones proclaiming 'THIS IS CNN.'

alternatively, I could plug the drain pipe and use it as a punch bowl. though a full toilet with the tank would be better.. stick the punch in the bowl and have communal straws sticking out of the tank. however, even if I autoclaved it three or four times, i could never remove the disturbing images of watching my younger brother drink out of the toilet with the family dog, just so he could make her feel like one of the family.

then I have another vision, one of purchasing seven more COMMODES, except I have convinced my friend tom williams to decorate the exteriors with mesmerizing optical delusions. I invite eight naked men who have not shaved in three days, to dinner. They arrive, wearing nothing more than cravates and celluloid collars, and take their seats on the COMMODES placed around the table. I tell them dinner's in the oven and leave them to serve themselves while I watch TV in the adjoining room with my roomate and the people downstairs. Naturally, the din of eight naked men sitting on COMMODES serving themselves dinner percolates into our room while we watch the television.

.. then I have this horrid perception that my roomate is the first to the TV and has turned on 'Seinfeld.'


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