I was just watching a program about the Belgian conceptual artist Wim Delvoye. It got me thinking about what art really is. It’s a question that is asked so much that it can become boring even thinking about it. But his Cloaca machine forced me to ask myself what art is again.
It’s a machine that mimics the human digestive system, from the mouth to the bottom hole. Delvoye feeds Cloaca normal human food and shit comes out the other end. The end product is wrapped in plastic and sold to adoring art collectors.
There have been several versions of his cloaca machine, with the latest being a vertical system that works more like a person.
According to the website dedicated to his shit making machine, they have all sold out, with one hundred pieces being kept for “future capitalization”.
He isn’t the first artist to use feces to create art either, as the Italian artist Piero Manzoni became famous for canning his own waste and calling his works “Artist’s Shit”. The MoMA has one.
I can’t imagine owning any of the works, but it does make one think about art and the people that buy it.