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The Gut
public sculpture, Schillerplatz Chemnitz
part of the project Gegenwarten | Presences
2020

The Gut is the organ that renders Marx's body in the city that holds the largest sculpture of Marx's head in the world - Karl-Marx-Monument. The actual head is over 7.1 meters tall, and in total the bust weighs 40 tons and stands over 13 meters high. The Gut represents Karl Marx's large intestine and is made in a size proportional to Marx's head.

Ontologically, the head is quite small compared to the gut. The gut is the last part of the gastrointestinal tract and is home to the biggest number of living entities in our body. This makes it the most prominent ecological symbiosis of human and nonhuman parts of the biosphere. It is the place of an intrinsic solidarity, which makes The Gut, in fact, a monument to the microbiome. Marx's microbiome surely had a great impact on his ideas (and, by extension, on how our world is today) and it certainly deserves a monument, just as much as his head does.

A new reading of the Karl Marx monument asks us to collectively throw ourselves into restoring the missing organ(ism)s in order to envisage a new (social, political, ecological, and metaphysical) body. Let's activate the vagus nerve and connect The Head with The Gut. The Head is the visual facade of a sharp-edged hyper-rationality. It is erect, vertical, and aspiring. The Gut makes the anarchic swarming more evident. It does not need a pedestal. It performs itself horizontally, lying on the ground. It is accessible, encompassing, and inclusive. Once we connect Marx's Gut to Marx's huge, chimerical body-city, Marx's Head becomes porous. It transcends the past. It breathes in the present and breathes out the future. The Head makes sense of its body, discerning its pulse, tuning to other presences and coupling with The Gut. The Gut makes sense of The Head, feeding it with essence while thinking, 'If your mind were only slightly more permeable, I'd drown you in meaning.' The "gut instinct" wants to access the brain more often, but the brain resists - a manifestation of the class antagonism and political tension in effect, one may say.

excerpt from The Head, The Gut, The Change