Pseudomelanosis coli (2019) pigmented latex, senna pods, polyester fringe, steel rod. 1.3 x 0.8 x 1m. Shown in Matthew Verdon's Vestigial Traits and Evolutionary Spandrels at Kelder Projects
The below text contains descriptions of laxative abuse
Pseudomelanosis coli is a condition which occurs in the colon after prolonged abuse of athraquinone stimulant laxatives, often derived from plants. The areas of darkened tissue are caused by apoptosis, a form of cell death. Colonoscopy confirmed that when I was abusing laxatives, these areas of cell death were littered across my large intestine.
Senna is the most ubiquitous of the athraquinone laxatives. Plant derivatives are often turned into tablets, but the seed pods are also used. I incorporated these into the sheets of marbled latex, and their incorporation created halos of staining in the latex.
The use of senna has occurred since the 13th century, and purgative cures are littered across medieval and Enlightenment medicine. However, the Victorian era in Europe was marked by the creation of 'autointoxication', a fictitious belief that constipation would cause poisoning in the body. An entire, vast industry was created around the relief of constipation.
The welded steel crinoline was a reference to the disciplining of bodily functioning of this era, and its contribution to an ongoing cultural horror of bodily functions. Even talking about shitting is shrouded in so much shame, and I keep thinking about lines around propriety and bodily eruption.