Bodyworlds and Cloaca
This chapter compares two realist representations of the human body: Körperweltern (Bodyworlds), Gunther Von Hagens’s unprecedented public display of chemically preserved human corpses, and Cloaca, Belgian artist Wim Delvoye’s electromechanical replication of the functions of the human digestive system from ingestion to excretion. A comparison between these two displays points to the unexpected way in which the droll defecating machine creates more of a disturbance to the categories of true and false and human and inhuman than does the display which stages a confrontation between living spectators and dead human bodies. It contends that Cloaca’s realist approach may confront spectators with a potentially radically desubjectifying encounter.
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