WC sign is omnipresent and we are pretty familiar with it. The rigid figures seem almost self-explanatory, universal, and ahistorical. But it’s simply man-made invention based on conventional norms.
Power of Signs
Not only showing human-like figures, pictograms also create reality. For example, we use a loo following man/woman pictograms everyday. By doing so, the concept of two gender re-produces itself. It is this ongoing repetition of WC conventions that creates a brutal effect of naturalisation. Meantime, it makes the pictograms appear as given facts.
Reform of WC
All-gender restroom is a global trend. Public transports adopted the concept of one-unit-for-all as standard. More and more bars, clubs, and restaurants have unisex toilets as well as town halls, libraries, or universities.
The concept of one-unit-for-all is often articulated during the debates on gender identity or civil rights issues in politics. It enables us to think different from that of binary gender. This progress well reflects the liberal spirit of our times.
Ironically, the traditional pictograms are still being used. In response, there are now hybrid signs that consist of half a man and a half woman, signs of stylized loos or letterings such as “All-Gender Restroom.”
We cannot simply get rid of the old (gendered WC) norms. But you can play with them. With CO-WC, you will see the old pictograms in a wiggle image. The result is fantastic. The sign reflects the old norms, and at the same time challenges their long-established power. It invites us into a play with one’s own identity. In this way, CO-WC mirrors our reality and frees our image.
Building a Bridge
CO-WC is a bridge. A bridge between past and future, gender discourse and visual culture, and above all, among all the bodies living now. This sign enhances our daily experience with oneself and other selves: we are not over and done, but in the flow.