1/07/2008

Australia on Collins: In Praise of Direct Action

One of the more curious cultural differences to strike me on arrival in Australia was the 'two-flush' toilet system. I had never experienced severe water shortages before and was surprised and amused at the division of the flusher into small and large flush options. Initially it seemed to make sense, but there was something rather out of joint about the whole thing. The unspoken categorisations of the system (small flush for urine, large for faeces) leave a set of taxonomical conundrums (what to do with vomit, and other forms of organic detritus?) and autocratically dictate a forced toilet etiquette that may often not be logical. Small amounts of faecal matter, requiring only the small flush, will be given the large regardless, because to abandon the division of fluids would be obscene.




A solution might include an appeal not to flush the large option unless absolutely necessary (as is attempted in the sign above) but in order to be truly effective, and to override the auto-categorisation of the flusher, it would require a discussion of, or at the least a clear allusion to, shit, and so it is unlikely in a conservative country of Anglo-Saxon anal dismissive character.


Another solution is the reintroduction of a monistic flusher, only with half the amount of water. Anything requiring more flushing could be given a second dose, and anything hanging around longer than that would necessitate brush intervention whatever the system. Not only this, but it would help to roll back a fairly puritanical piece of bodily repression and a further atomisation in an already obsessively sub-divided social structure. This is the preferable option but it could prove difficult to execute, after all once a taxonomic structure has been introduced it is often hard to dismantle it.


Joyous news then, that the Second Option (note capitals) that has been directly imposed on the toilets in the Australia on Collins mall on Collins street, which can be viewed below.




It is an excellent nugget of socio-ecological liberation. I call for the universalisation of the Second Option and more direct toilet action!

1 comment:

Vondra said...

Good for people to know.