Elena Knox

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Portal Loo

2009 — ongoing installed intervention

A crowd favourite of the Visual Arts Hub of This Is Not Art 2009, Portal Loo is a Lewis-Carroll-like gateway to a trans/non/uni-gender public toilet, installed to highest technical standards. Mimicking exactly the natural architecture of each building/site in style, materials and signage, Portal Loo installs a third toilet door in relationship to (e.g. between) the existing male/female toilets. Depending on the scope of the project, this door can be fixed (yet tantalisingly tactile), or open onto a mirrorscape. It causes a conversational buzz and countless double/triple takes!

Portal Loo points to the many untold, underground stories of transgender and gender-ambiguous people in their constant negotiations with identity in public space — especially in these gender-segregated, non-negotiable, functionally intense public spaces. An optional full colour zine, Loo Paper (available to read on the loo!), contains interviews with transgender people around their real experiences with the categories male and female.

Portal Loo can be installed anywhere that has segregated public toilets; for instance foyers, courtyards, libraries, universities, cinemas or galleries. Portal Loo collaborates with existing sites, exhibitions and festivals. It remains in place for the duration of an event, with regular checks/documenting by the artist, and has the potential to become a permanent, enriching fixture of a space.