GEOG 4900 Public Space Summer 2012 Class 2 ... - York University

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Oct 28, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)

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GEOG 4900 3.0 | Public Space

Department of Geography

Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies

York University

Summer 2012

Class 2

Scenes from a Washroom:
What is Public Space?

Class 2

10 May 2012

1

GEOG 4900 | Public Space

Copyright
©
Amy Lavender Harris

Boundary Crossings at the Public/Private Divide


Legal distinctions rely on categories and absolutes; e.g., division between
public and private (spatial) spheres.


Property (public or private) as part of the material expression of power.


“The spatially defined environments we move in

the homes, workplaces,
streets, neighborhood shops and so on

can serve to reflect and reinforce
legal relations of power through complex and layered spatial processes
and practices.” (283)


Boundaries as spaces that communicate (and reinforce) legal meanings
[“law provides hegemonic categories through which social life is ordered.”]


but which also open up ‘space’ for resisting,
renengotiating
, redefining
(or at least transgressing) such norms.


Function of visible markers: fences, hedges, signs, etc.


and legal
implications re: adverse possession.


Lived experiences of place, however, suggest these boundaries are fluid,
flexible and mutable.



Class 2

10 May 2012

GEOG 4900 | Public Space

Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris

2

... Cont’d.


History of public/private re: land and territory


two classes: private
landowners and the state.


But considerable overlap, as well as rupture, between these classes.


Sleeping in public places; homelessness; graffiti; prostitution; religious
practice (
eruv

example)


reveal that such boundaries are illusory, perhaps
ideological.


Legal notion of encroachment (e.g., Kensington Market stalls); public
gardens “
encroachment gardens”)


Class 2

10 May 2012

GEOG 4900 | Public Space

Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris

3

Class 2

10 May 2012

GEOG 4900 | Public Space

Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris

4

Class 2

10 May 2012

GEOG 4900 | Public Space

Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris

5

Class 2

10 May 2012

GEOG 4900 | Public Space

Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris

6

Class 2

10 May 2012

GEOG 4900 | Public Space

Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris

7

(Disturbing) The Dialects of the Public Toilet


How do washrooms influence (or are influenced by) gender norms; e.g.,
gender as binary (m/f) and/or continuum?


Judith Butler on
performativity

and the gendered subject (‘performance’
vs. ‘
performativity
’)


To be a subject is also to be subjugated (Butler)


Butler: “gender is a practice of improvisation within a scene of constraint.”


Judith
Halberstam

on gender policing / surveillance.


Notions of gender transparency (e.g., urinals; make
-
up counters)


The washroom as a metaphorical closet with respect to discursive taboos


a closet that marks a threshold between public/private (‘privy’) space
but also between (among?) genders.


A (liminal) space where gender norms are simultaneously reinforced and
opened up to challenge.

Class 2

10 May 2012

GEOG 4900 | Public Space

Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris

8

Scenes from a Washroom


Artists performing poetry from behind a closed washroom stall door


what it means to speak (to perform) in such a space.


‘Toilet Door Poetry’ project (2004); ‘The Water Closet’ (2006)


art as
graffiti as art (see Booker’s “Scratch”)


Boys Don’t Cry
(film; 1999)


Scene from
The Pursuit of
Happyness

(film; 2006) and
T
rainspotting

(film;
1996).


Washroom etiquette


Class 2

10 May 2012

GEOG 4900 | Public Space

Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris

9

Image Sources


Kohler toilet: http://www.us.kohler.com/onlinecatalog/detail.jsp?item=9765102&section=2&category=13


Toilet paper: http://www.newspapergrl.com/seo
-
company
-
introduces
-
toilet
-
paper
-
rationing


Woman / man image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aiga_toilets_inv.svg


Toilet kitten: http://www.toiletology.com/justfun.shtml




Week 2

10 January 2012

GEOG 4900 | Public Space

Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris

10


Week 2

10 January 2012

GEOG 4900 | Public Space

Copyright © Amy Lavender Harris

11