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Knob

With Excavating History Collective

With the Excavating History collective sited at the Museum of Surgical Science, I chose to work in the bathroom. I had been noting instances, particularly in gas station bathrooms, where people refused to touch doorknobs. Our physical anxiety of germ theory has become a fear of public toilet door knobs. Some people use the underside of their shirt, a turned out pocket, a paper towel or really anything to avoid touching the doorknob. I began to see the doorknob as a transitional object, one that in the next 20-year or so will become an object for a museum.

Porcelain in bathrooms runs parallel with the scientific discovery of microscopic agents of contagion.  Working in the museum collection and library, I harvested words related to the history of contagion and wrote them in raw porcelain on the bathroom walls. Additionally, from a variety of doorknobs I had been collecting, I made worry stones, small impressions of fired and glazed porcelain door knobs. Everyone was free to take a worry stone.

The International Museum of Surgical Science — Chicago, IL — 2011