The Latrinalia Universe
You’re at university and need to go to the toilet – which is always an adventure. You open the door, take a look in the mirror and then check out where the cleanest available toilet is. When you have chosen one, you close the door and put the bolt across. Brightly-coloured graffiti of all shapes and sizes awaits you:
I’m planning to have an affair with another boy but I have a boyfriend. Should I tell him?
6986645 Call me! Answer: Have you tried Porntube?
Poetry transformed into graffiti expressing a whole range of opinions, mockery, jokes, distilled rebelliousness, love declarations, erotic fantasies… A jungle of words, definitely!
This “toilet art,” also known as Latrinalia, has been entertaining (or bothering) us for many years while we sit on the loo, but now, for the first time, some people are starting to take these inscriptions seriously.
Christina Cuonz had to convince her supervisor first that toilet graffiti is of academic value and a suitable topic to perform her sociolinguistics master’s research on. In the end her perseverance paid off: she collected more than 200 handwritten texts from university toilets in Norway and the United Kingdom and became one of the first linguistic researchers in this field.
During the interview she admits: “Visiting the men’s toilets was not an easy task!” She even had to put some posters on the toilet doors stating: “We are undertaking research here”, so that the men didn’t think that she was there on her own, but that there were several researchers.
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Article publicat a Europe&Me, en l’edició número 9 (2011).