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HUNGRY BOTTOM: ON CLOACAL THINKING (8/24/23-9/10/23) curated by A.C. Smith

Froggy, you’re allowed to be a misandrist
Mirena © IUD, flexible plastic, 52 mg of released levenorgestrel, uterine blood

I am a body of holes. Dripping, mucousy, bloody...

— Amelia Jones, “Holy Body,” 2006
flyer by Christina Huang

Feat. artists: C. Bain, Patty Chang, Caleb Craig, Dallas Havoc, Elizabeth Herring, stephanie mei huang, Annika Klein, White Male Artist AKA Cassils, and Zenaido Zamora.

“Inspired by the lesbians in my life with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), I propose a psycho-somatic curatorial study on queerness and the gut— where gastrointestinal maladies are a biological consequence of psychological experiences. The “gut,” in the case of this proposal, is defined by the digestive system and systems in which it shares a transactional relationship: the mouth, throat, stomach, large intestine, pelvic muscular structure (the perineum, urinary, genital, and lower intestinal tracts), and finally the colon and anus. I define the “gut” utilizing Shannon Sullivan’s “cloacal thinking” from The Physiology of Sexist and Racist Oppression (2015) which “treats the gut and pelvic floor as psychosomatically integrated” (19).

Approaching the gut, I expand on work from my 2021 MA Critical Studies Aesthetics & Politics thesis work that utilizes the colonoscopic procedure as a critical strategy to document and assess corporeal performance, function, and affect. In this approach, I make the argument that all anorectal (and therefore gastrointestinal) conditions are queer based on two primary properties: 1.) Every “body” has one, and 2.) They are non-reproductive.

Considering queerness and queer topics/theories on the gut, I am interested in embodied experiences of the LGBTQ+ community and their relationships with gastrointestinal maintenance; however, I also want to highlight the queer properties of the gut as a non-gendered (+ non-human) hole running through every “body”— queering heteronormative narratives of digestion and absorption— where the gut represents “the most significant place ‘inside’ the body with which the ‘outside’ world comes into contact.” (Sullivan, 65). My proposal highlights non-binary approaches to healthy and sick, sanitary and septic, biology and neurology, and boundaries between organs within/outside the body. Topics for example may include but are not limited to: excremental art and philosophy, gastrointestinal maladies and medicines (IBS, Crohn's Disease, etc.), the “bottoming” experience, oral fixations, etc...

Hungry Bottom is an effort to continue my post-graduate curatorial work focused on building out a “bottom theory”— employing the colonoscopy as a tool to gain a POV of/from the bottom. By opening up a bottom theory, my proposal aims to integrate queer corporealities into a new material gut feminism that reorients the gaze off of heteronormative functions of gut and onto queer relationships with our butts (ie. Sullivan does not address anal sex). Hungry Bottom fosters the “viewing” and “representation” of/from the bottom through exhibition, meals, and performance— promoting the production, consumption, and shitting of emerging and queer art, artists, and topics.”

A.C. Smith


Reef Building, Maker City, Los Angeles

les bow