Within the gay community, sex in public toilets remain more a source of shame than pride. And yet these public places, which sheltered the escapades of so many gay men, transvestites, prostitutes, and libertines, were also sites of unbridled freedom. Within these atypical places of transience and sociability, social differences were blurred and otherwise separated cultures briefly mixed.
"Fenster zum Klo" (the show's title in German means "a window on toilets”), is an exhibition on display at the Schwules Museum Berlin until February 5. The show, which includes videos interviews from Bruce LaBruce and Florian Hetz, among others, shows archives from public toilets all over the map and Marc Martin’s erotic pictures, taken in old public toilets that have been closed for 30 years.
Martin says, “The reproach of cowardice was often leveled at men who enjoyed cruising in public toilets, whose practices were considered squalid. Yet have they not in their own way braved taboos? I wanted these men’s bravery to be acknowledged, and the heady sensuality of places that generated so much excitement to get due recognition.”
In addition, on January 13, Martin will open a complementary exhibition in the defunct underground toilet on Mehringdamm in Berlin.
Also accompanying the exhibit is an art book, 300 pages with Martin’s pictures, old photos and archives, and a booklet in English included.