«Fenster zum Klo / SCHWULES MUSEUM / Berlin»



“As far as the history of cottaging is concerned, remembering it always seems to be tinged with a great deal of pessimism. I do not wish to embellish the truth – neither do I claim to impose a positive image that would preclude other possible interpretations. Collected testimonies coupled with my own experience enticed me to shed a new light on the matter. My first emotions, my teenage pleasures, were after all no figments of the imagination. I owe them to the public lavatory standing on the main square of the small town I come from. And I’m proud of them! I even claim them as genuine founding acts. These places, where men were constantly coming and going, were instrumental in my sexuality, aroused my desires and quenched my curiosity. In there, I also had the most unlikely, unexpected encounters. “Cottages” (or: “Tearooms”) were no heaven, granted. But they were no hell either. Mischief in public toilets left more traces in vice squad logbooks than in high literature. Within the gay community, they remain more a source of shame than pride. And yet, these public aedicules, 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. Despite being disparaged as sleazy and dirty, they allowed for immediate, anonymous sexual contacts. They were a godsend to those who could not entertain at home and expose their sexual proclivities to the outside world. To its credit, the old urinal of yore had at least this one advantage…
The reproach of cowardice was often levelled at men who enjoyed cruising in public toilets, whose practices were considered squalid. Yet, have they not in their own way braved taboos? Have they not for well over a century dared experience forbidden pleasures? I wanted these men’s bravery to be acknowledged, and the heady sensuality of places that generated so much excitement to get due recognition.”

Public toilets, Private Affairs
17 november 2017 - 19 february 2018
Schwules Museum* Lützowstraße 73, 10785 Berlin

Heiner Schulze Projektmentor
Heiko Pollmeier Projektassistenz
Joël Hladynink Projektkoordinator in Paris
Volker Woltersdorff Projektkoordinator in Berlin
Ewald Erik Kentgens Ausstellungsgestaltung