Inside Australia’s ‘poo machine’: The modern art exhibit helping to battle bowel cancer – and, yes, it replicates the smell
- Sitting in its own room in a Hobart art museum is the wacky Cloaca Professional
- The machine recreates human food processing from consumption to defecation
- But the weird device is as much useful as it is a humorous critique of modern art
- Recently the ‘poo machine’ used to show how easy it is to check for bowel cancer
Sitting deep inside a museum is an unique exhibit which both delights modern art lovers and helps scientists battle bowel cancer.
The Cloaca Professional, better known as the ‘poo machine’, has been enjoyed by visitors to the MONA museum in Hobart since it was first installed in 2010.
The unique coming-together of engineering and artwork replicates the gastro-intestinal process in the human body, consuming food daily at 11am and 4pm and excreting it at 2pm.
Sitting deep inside a modern art museum is an unique exhibit (pictured) known as the poo machine
Cloaca Professional replicates the gastro-intestinal process in the human body, consuming food daily at 11am and 4pm and excreting it at 2pm
The mechanical exhibit, designed by European artist Wim Delvoye, is more than simply a satire of the modern art world, however, and has been recently been used in bowel cancer testing education.
Tasmania-based pathologist Dan Owens put on a demonstration at the museum at the end of last year where he showed how waste product could be analysed to find extremely small blood particles.
Advertised under the hashtag #justpooit, the event was largely intended to encourage Australians over 50 to go for bowel cancer screenings.
He told the ABC: ‘Once people get their head around putting the stick in their poo they’ll realise it’s very simple and easy.’
Mr Delvoye has spared no details when it comes to his invention’s authenticity, and has even recreated the smell of human faeces.
Named Cloaca in a fitting translation from the Latin word for sewer, the machine is described as ‘fundamentally’ straightforward by senior research curator at the museum Jane Clark.
She said: ‘Food goes in at the mouth, is chewed (in Cloaca by an InSinkErator) and travels down a long tube where it is mixed with sodium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid and gastric enzymes.
‘It is then kept at just the right temperature of 37.2C, worked on by gut bacteria, somewhat dehydrated and finally excreted.’
Mr Delvoye created the Cloaca after eight years spent consulting with plumbers, computer technicians and gastroenterologists.
The wacky artist has devised a handful of versions of his iconic Clocoa machine, with the iteration at MONA being the first to appear in a museum’s permanent collection.
Wacky artist Wim Delavoye has devised a handful of versions of his iconic Clocoa machine, with the iteration at MONA (pictured) being the first to appear in a museum’s permanent collection