In an election year in Denmark where political activism has become more extreme, Rumpegalleriet examines what happens when politicians engage in debate while seated on toilets. Does the conversation become more humanised when the body takes over and the private sphere of pooing becomes public? The audience is the judge. “In recent years, political discussion in Denmark has become more extreme, aggressive and ego-driven. We need politics to be more grounded, closer to everyday life – and closer to people. That’s why we have invited politicians to let go of control – while seated on a toilet. We ask them to undo their belts and drop their pants – and just be people. We believe that when the body takes over then the political dialogue will become more direct, more honest and perhaps more level-headed,” says artist of the Poo Politics art happening at Rumpegalleriet, Kim Wyon.
Political happenings Gallery guests will be able to experience the three Poo Politics toilets from 1 May 2019 (14:00-17:00) and during the gallery’s regular opening hours throughout the year. Politicians, political youth organisations and other players are invited to hold debates in the street-level gallery in Ryesgade, Copenhagen.
The Poo Politics art happenings will take place during May in the run-up to the European elections on 26 May. Politicians, political youth organisations and other players will be invited to take part in the happenings. Here, they will sit discussing hot topics with a toilet roll in their hands – and will flush their toilet after the event. There will be an audience and an artist host. In some cases, the Poo Politics art happenings will be streamed online or released as pod casts. Later in the year, up to the national elections in Denmark, the gallery will apply the City of Copenhagen for permission to place the mobile toilets as temporary art happenings in the public space.
The three recycled toilets mounted on wooden boxes with plastic flush containers were donated by anonymous plumbing companies west of Copenhagen. If you live in Rødovre or other of Copenhagen’s western suburbs and have just refurbished your bathroom, chances are that you might recognise your old toilet.
Toilets in art One of the gallery’s direct sources of inspiration is a scene in the French Surrealist movie “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” (1972) by Luis Bunuel, where the gentry are solemnly seated on toilets around a dining table. Although intended as absurd theatre, taking a communal dump is historically no taboo, and until the mid 20th century it was common in the countryside in Denmark – and is still is in many countries around the world. Can Poo Politics help us rediscover the levelling and humanising spirit of the communal dump?