Wim Delvoye is a Belgian artist known for his inventive and often shocking and repulsive projects.
Cloaca, also known as the “poo-machine”, is probably Wim Delvoye’s most famous art installation. In 2000, he put together a complex machinery at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp, Belgium, that mimics the action of the human digestive system and converts food in feces. Real food is dropped down a funnel into a meat grinder (simulating the teeth) twice a day. Then, viewers can follow the food as it makes its way through a series of glass containers containing human digestive juices and enzymes, which represent the various stages of digestion. At the end of the tract, the machine produces feces which are then vacuum-packed and sold in translucent boxes. It is told that the smell is so powerful that not many visitors can take it.
It took Wim Delvoye eight years of consultation with experts in fields ranging from plumbing to gastroenterology to construct the poo machine. When asked about his inspiration, Delvoye stated that everything in modern life is pointless. The most useless object he could create was a machine that serves no purpose at all, besides the reduction of food to waste.