STOMACH OF THE WORLD

EVA KOTATKOVA, 2017

Artist
Eva Kot’átková

Title
Stomach of the world

Date
2017

Medium

Video, 44’5O’’

Credit Line

Work commissioned by curator Nadja Argyropoulou for Polyeco Contemporary Art Initiative (PCAI), Greece

Object label

The film Stomach of the World functions as an allegory
of the world as a body, an organism, whose operation is
ensured by humans, anonymous people, working together.
The instances of arrhythmia in this process and the lack of
coordination or empathy create internal injuries, pointless
dissolution under the unstoppable release of gastric fluids,
or even malignancies, which lead to the eventual collapse
or temporary stasis in the life of the organism. In this
process, some ‘employees’ are responsible for the intake and
digestion of materials, others for their management, recycling
and disposal. Thus, the “stomach of the world” is portrayed
as a chaotic dumpsite, a ravenous ‘machine’ devouring
as a mindless creature the accursed share of the human
presence.
The film employs the techniques of animation, ‘black
theatre’ and puppeteering, all practices with a rich tradition
in the Czech Republic, Kot’átková’s country of origin. It is
based on live staged action featuring young children in a
structured moving collage of bodies that form another set of
vulnerable, consumable bodies and objects in conditions of
laboratory organization and soporific interaction of work-like
nature and knowledge overconsumption. We must waste but
we must not create waste: language itself is found guilty of
the body’s ailment.
The corrosive processes of education and compliance,
control and correction, as imposed by various systems
of power in the existing social structures, are elements
that pervade Kot’átková’s oeuvre. In this particular work,
centering around the concept of toxic waste, the artist
performs a sort of clinical anatomy and autopsy, employing
a highly critical and equivocal sense of humor to refer to the
concept of the body of the world as the latter has evolved
from ancient Greek thought (Ouroboros – the serpent
eating its own tail) to 16th-century literature (e.g. Rabelais’s
Gargantua and Pantagruel) and modern approaches to the
body politic and body social. Even the premise of playing a
game becomes, for the body modern, a kind of regulatory
pattern, a ventriloquism of sorts, while imagination and
initiative are rejected as useless ingredients, trash.

Nadja Argyropoulou, March 2017