Introduction to the Colon Arts


In her 2009 Essay, Gut Instinct: The body and learning, Robyn Barnacle notes that unlike our other organs which are enclosed in our bodies “the gut is actually an exterior passage through the body, allowing the outside world to literally pass right through us. The role of the gut in mediating between inside and outside parallels that of the psyche”. In this lecture-performance, I draw links between the psychosomatic experience of digestion as a form of knowing and urban gentrification’s effects, particularly on queer communities and spaces.

In a slideshow of collaged photos, videos, and drawings, I pull from anatomy, urban planning theory, art history, critical theory, and personal accounts to explore: a) the sensory, perceptual capabilities of the human digestive system as a way of knowing; b) examples of contemporary artworks dealing with digestion as it relates to medicalization, pain, or pleasure; c) the shifting modes of understanding urban spaces through digital networks, and; d) the relationship between visibility and gentrification; using Matta Clark’s 1975 Day’s End installation in a common hangout and refuge for gay and trans people on the westside waterfront as an example.