remove to dispense


the title of my new film . . . remove to dispense. based upon this image, this little scrap i found on the bathroom floor at MoMA. i remember picking it up in the spirit of Warhol. i remember thinking "this is art" and imagining that i would use it some day. i remember laughing a little, first, at my audacity, and, second, trying to envision the person who installs the toilet paper in the ladies' room at the MoMA (who must be insulted to think that someone saw a need for this message) or that "first user," that person who ostensbily needs to know that in order to "dispense" the product, you must remove it from its container, you must remove its constraints . . . and this reminds me of an image we saw in Germany (i took pictures of lots of generic signs there; many are quite charming) . . . an image i found imprinted upon a Japanese-made backhoe or some kind of massive earth-moving machine . . . it was an image of a human form being fairly demolished because of One False Move (in this case, walking in front of the machine while it's moving forward . . . getting pinned between the machine's many monstrously toothy parts). it's like being warned to keep your hands out of the garbage disposal or avoiding flames. i like text that sort of overstates the obvious in its most simplistic form. it forces us to be reflective . . . if we read beyond its simple message, and i like that. and this simplicity . . . this compulsion to reflect . . . both are enhanced when an artist or rhetor or toilet paper manufacturer trusts us to read the message both for its literal and its expansive meanings . . . (and yes, i also like to think of someone "drafting" the message "remove to dispense" and giggling or putting thumb-and-forefinger-to-chin as he imagines its multiple meanings).

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