The twenty-sixth of August, 2011: its meanings are numerous and profound

I have been reading up on all things toilet-related as I prepare my forthcoming book on bog-roll history (of which more later).

Thanks to Dave Praeger’s eye-opening Poop Culture (Feral House, 2007), I now know more about human faeces – humanure, if you will – than I ever expected to. In particular, I know about Belgian artist Wim Delvoye‘s masterpiece, ‘Cloaca’: a machine that manufactures shit.

‘Cloaca’ provides Praeger’s book with one of the most arresting opening lines in modern literature:

With enviable ease, poop slid out of the mechanical anus and on to the conveyor belt below.

‘Cloaca’ is a thirty-foot-long reproduction of the human digestive system:

Food goes in, and turds come out – and you can buy one, hygienically vacuum-packed for long-lasting freshness, for just $1,000.


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