Monday, May 17, 2010

It has begun

Our friend Tom loves kids, it’s just the parents he can do without. He remarked to us one day that regardless of the sexuality, gender, or marital status of the parents, when two or more are gathered, poop happens. No, we’re not talking about scat or two parents one cup here, we’re talking about talking about poop. It’s inevitable, there’s no getting around it, and it’s as regular as, well, defecation.

Honestly, we can’t help it. The endless hours of watching SpongeBob and the Wiggles have left very little space in our sleep deprived brains for anything but talk of what goes on in and off the potty. It unites us, it’s like we’ve seen battle or done time, sure there may be differences in our experiences, but in the end, it’s all shit.

When I begin my Art History class, we start at the Renaissance, the “rebirth” of the world and the beginning of art for many Westerners. As we zoom through 500 years of art covered in the text, we come to what is going on now and I share with them modern/conceptual art, some of which is good, and some of which, is shit, literally. It amazes me that after 500 years of human achievement and luscious artwork we end up talking about Belgian artist Wim Delvoye and his amazing poop-machine Cloaca. And who can forget Piero Manzoni’s “Artist’s Shit” a collection of cans holding the artist’s shit, to be sold for the going price of gold.

For real.

To my delight and disgust, some of these cans in collections around the world have actually exploded. It makes me wonder if I am teaching the course backwards and should actually start with this shit and end with the good stuff.

And with that said, we’re starting to potty train Eli, or rather, he’s training us. He will actually say “Dee!” which I believe is short for pot-dee and point to the nearest can. Right now, the novelty of it is keeping him involved and eager to try this new-fangled thing in his life. He goes in, drops trou, and rips off his diaper like a Chippendale Dancer ripping off their stripper pants on stage. It’s all drama, but part of the process.

There will be bumps, there will be accidents. There will be tears and there will be much more discussion on this topic for sure.

For more on Wim and his machine, check out his great website: