The Poo Machine

Tasmanian devil David Walsh’s delight in shock and playfulness are epitomized in the clinically neat and strangely compelling conceptual work Cloaca Professional, affectionately referred to as ‘the poo machine.’

Cloaca Professional, 2010

Many of the works in his privately owned Museum of New and Old Art (MONA) are characterized by Walsh’s preoccupation with sex and death, but one commission was intended to celebrate a different bodily function.  The most recent in a series by mad scientist Wim Delvoye, this digitally-controlled mechanical piece simulates the human digestive system.  Fed  from the right side (above) with chopped up food, and injected with a series of enzymes and chemicals, a neat series of glass reactor vessels progressively breakdown the nutrients.

Cloaca Professional, 2010

Evoking images of the laboratory, if not lavatory, the installation isn’t exactly beautiful, but it obviously was designed and built with a sense of aesthetics.  The gleaming glass and stainless steel spotlights the milkshake-colored slurry, accented by bright red plastic trim.  The individual vessels, each containing a different color and consistency of partially digested liquid, are vaguely evocative of udders and milking machines.The unpleasant smell is a bonus not offered by all works of art.

Cloaca Professional, 2010

In a triumph of regularity, artificial turds are emitted precisely at 2pm every afternoon (one can only imagine the eager crowd collecting at ‘reverse feeding’ time to experience the excitement of excrement).

For those who feel that modern and conceptual art is BS, Delvoye’s creation is a must see.

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