Poo Machine by Wim Delvoye

May 14, 2012 8 comments

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.









  1. Wonder if it farts or gets diarrhoea?

    1. Farts are definitely possible, because they're physiological. Diarrhoea may take place when contaminated food is dropped in.

  2. What a total waste oftime, money and energy. It's no wonder arts people have to beg for donations.

    1. Why you and others cannot give this guy a break, took him 8 years to design this digestive system which must mean more than a guy that can churn out paintings or drawings in a day. Anyhow this is useful for science and inspiring for the contemporary art world, it is a unique piece of cool shit and not a wasteful shit at all. and the reason why those art people beg for donations is because their ideas are just not interesting or exciting enough, this is most truly a fascinating piece of art. you people need to explore more in the contemporary world.

  3. "What a total waste of time, money and energy. It's no wonder arts people have to beg for donations."

    oh the irony

  4. I love it.

    It references the fact that society (indeed the artist himself) has money that ultimately transmutes to "shit". The literal shit of this project is, of course, the figurative shit that becomes of having too much time and money. Buying a £3000 gold engagement ring? Really? People are starving in the world.

  5. Emits odors, costs a lot of time and money and produces waste. Doesn't remind some of you naysayers of other more self serving ongoing projects that are much more destructive to our environment? This piece not only holds a mirror, it's a metaphor for many other 'wastes of time and money' that ultimately serve the rich and their prestigious disciples. Pity it doesn't get through to them.


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