I always kind of thought of it that way, but it wasn’t until Wim Delvoye’s talk about his famous series of feces producing machines at the hybrid art panel of Ars Electronica that I fully understood why.
The personal model (“Personal Cloaka”), which is part of the Cyberarts Exhibition at Ars Electronica 2007 is a weakling compared to the flagship of the series: Super Cloaka daily diet consits of 300kg of food that get digested into 80kg of shit. A whole team is permanently busy feeding it and wiping it’s ass.
The digestion process of Cloaka machines is endotherm meaning that it consumes energy rather than producing it. Of course one could count inspiration and amusement as some kind of energy. It produces plenty of both and so did Wim Delvoye talking about it.
Cloaka machines contain computers that control digestion. Delvoye claims that he can occasionally sends SMS to his machines to give them diarrhea, let’s say on the museum director’s birthday.
Delvoye describes himself as an entrepreneur who brings together the team for designing and constructing the machines, he does not think of himself as an engineer. Consequently he is seeking for ways of saving tax. Presently he is trying to establish Cloaka as church in the US and he is setting up an offshore shareholder company on the Virgin Islands for that reason. In order to install Cloaka in the business world in that way he has lawyers join the team of bio-scientists and plumbers. Nevertheless, he says, the product (feces) ensures that the company is not getting to become successful in the commercial sphere and thus he stays an artist. Also the quality of the product seems mediocre. Even an uneducated person is capable of producing feces of superior quality than any of the Cloaka machines.