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Related: coprophilia - scatology - bodily function

Feces in mainstream film: Pink Flamingos (1972) - The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989)

Key work of art: merda d'artista (1961) - Piero Manzoni

Gerrit Komrij's Kakafonie, Encyclopedie van de stront (2006)

Shit Rock (2001) - Odd Nerdrum
image sourced here.


Feces (also spelled faeces) is the excrement from the digestive tract expelled from the anus during defecation. In humans, defecation may occur (depending on the individual and the circumstances) from once every two or three days to three times a day. Prolonged interruption in the usual routine is called constipation.

Its distinctive odor is due to bacterial action. Bacteria produce compounds such as indole, skatole, and mercaptans, which are rich in sulphur, as well as the inorganic gas hydrogen sulfide. These are the same compounds that are responsible for the odor of flatulence.

The word feces comes from the Latin word faex which means "dregs".

Feces are also known as scat and scatology is the study of feces. Excrement is also another word for feces.

Feces are generally a taboo subject (see toilet humour). This is probably because of the need to keep feces well away from food, for health reasons. The word shit is a vulgar term for feces in English.

Coprophilia is a sexual attraction to feces. Coprophagia is the extremely hazardous practice of eating feces.

Meconium (also spelled merconium) is a newborn baby's first feces, and is normally passed post-partum. There is a danger that aspiration (inhalation) of meconium can occur if it is passed during labor and delivery. Inhaled meconium can cause a partial or complete blockage of the newborn's airways, and the severity depends on the amount of meconium the baby aspirates. Meconium aspiration affects around 20 percent of all newborn babies worldwide.

Fossilized feces are known as coprolites, and form an important class of objects studied in the field of paleontology. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feces [Sept 2004]

Evguenie Sokolov - Serge Gainsbourg

Evguenie Sokolov - Serge Gainsbourg, John Weightman, Doreen Weightman [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

"Serge Gainsbourg is one of the world's great eccentrics. His kinky obsessions, smothering fashion with tastelessness, have catapulted him into super-stardom in France." --John Zorn

Fiction. Music. This is the one and only novel by the 20th century provocateur of French pop music and film - the legendary Serge Gainsbourg. Evguenie Sokolov is a novel about an artist who uses his intestinal gases as the medium for his scandalous artwork. Translated by John and Doreen Weightman. --Product Description

Feces in film

  • Trainspotting (1996) - Danny Boyle [Amazon.com]
    With its hallucinatory visions of crawling dead babies and a grungy plunge into the filthiest toilet in Scotland, you might not think Trainspotting could have been one of the best movies of 1996, but Danny Boyle's film about unrepentant heroin addicts in Edinburgh is all that and more. That doesn't make it everybody's cup of tea (so unsuspecting viewers beware), but the film's blend of hyperkinetic humor and real-life horror is constantly fascinating, and the entire cast (led by Ewan McGregor and Full Monty star Robert Carlyle) bursts off of the screen in a supernova of outrageous energy. Adapted by John Hodge from the acclaimed novel by Irving Welsh, the film was a phenomenal hit in England, Scotland, and (to a lesser extent) the U.S. For all of its comedic vitality and invigorating filmmaking, the movie is no ode to heroin, nor is it a straight-laced cautionary tale. Trainspotting is just a very honest and well-made film about the nature of addiction, and it doesn't pull any punches when it is time to show the alternating pleasure and pain of substance abuse. --Jeff Shannon, amazon.com

    History of Shit (1978) - Dominique Laporte

    History of Shit (1978) - Dominique Laporte
    [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Via Dennis Cooper. I wonder in what way this product is similar to Gerrit Komrij's Kakafonie, Encyclopedie van de stront (2006), Cacafonia, encyclopedia of shit (2006), untranslated.

    Written in Paris after the heady days of student revolt in May 1968 and before the devastation of the AIDS epidemic, History of Shit is emblematic of a wild and adventurous strain of 1970s' theoretical writing that attempted to marry theory, politics, sexuality, pleasure, experimentation, and humor. Radically redefining dialectical thought and post-Marxist politics, it takes an important--and irreverent--position alongside the works of such postmodern thinkers as Foucault, Deleuze, Guattari, and Lyotard.

    Laporte's eccentric style and ironic sensibility combine in an inquiry that is provocative, humorous, and intellectually exhilarating. Debunking all humanist mythology about the grandeur of civilization, History of Shit suggests instead that the management of human waste is crucial to our identities as modern individuals--including the organization of the city, the rise of the nation-state, the development of capitalism, and the mandate for clean and proper language. Far from rising above the muck, Laporte argues, we are thoroughly mired in it, particularly when we appear our most clean and hygienic.

    Laporte's style of writing is itself an attack on our desire for "clean language." Littered with lengthy quotations and obscure allusions, and adamantly refusing to follow a linear argument, History of Shit breaks the rules and challenges the conventions of "proper" academic discourse.

    About the Author
    Dominique Laporte, who died in 1984 at the age of thirty-five, was a psychoanalyst and the coauthor of Français national: Politique et practiques de la langue nationale sous la Révolution Française.

    See also: feces - French philosophy - 1978

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