2 May 2012

disciplines, objects:

A toilet roll comes in countless, subtly different designs, but most often it is approximately the same standard size. It’s hard to live in Australia and not think about a toilet roll ever. Most toilet rolls are made from raw cardboard, but with the advent of more luxurious brands of toilet paper, some are now manufactured with a bleached white veneer and are scented.

You see a toilet roll most often when you finish a roll of toilet paper, or when they stack up next to the toilet - and this might happen at least once a week.

Toilet rolls are used in kids’ craft. Physically they’re great when constructing all manner of things like human forms, trees, robots, vehicles and all types of architecture. I heard it mentioned that toilet rolls have become less popular recently because of their perceived uncleanliness.

Toilet rolls are used in art, by artists. In some instances, they may be used in a clever material way, where the assumption of the form of a toilet roll might be challenged. Perhaps an artist might use a toilet roll simply for it’s form, because they enjoy it. Or they use it to simply say “this is a toilet roll”.

An artist might employ the use of a toilet roll and not think about it for more than a second. Their attitude might be casual, but not necessarily careless. They might be alluding to the idea that toilet rolls aren’t simply used, they also put us to use.

Things are, things exist, they are interdependent and autonomous.

For as long as there are toilet rolls and people encounter toilet rolls, their re-use and representation will be important.  Perhaps in the future there might not be a need for toilet rolls, because they are wasteful. Toilet rolls might be manufactured in countries with poor labour laws, by people who are not recompensed properly for their work. On some level a toilet roll may be symbolic of injustice, or class divide.

Sometimes when I think of Picasso’s cardboard constructions, I think that he’s made them with a few toilet rolls.