Masashi Mihotani

The Jouissance of the Insolent Mimizu Man, or The Luscious Odor of Social Poop

Yosuke Tsuji

Pure evil—that is what Masashi Mihotani is. You should never be fooled by his friendly appearance. Neither should you assume any honest poverty or sincerity from his worn-out T-shirt or dull appearance. This man is unscrupulous. Or, to say the least, he is a pervert. He is about to shamelessly release this monograph to the world, which is nothing but refreshing malice. Needless to say, Masashi Mihotani is an artist. And at the same time, he is a mimizu [earthworm] man.

Indeed, at first glance, his artworks are graphically sophisticated. They honestly are cool. The story behind the production of collecting materials (mostly garbage) found in everyday life also implies actor-network theory perspectives such as “ambiguity of objects” or “actuality of objects,” which may appear to be noble and timely themes. Or, if you look at the fact that many of the exposed objects are remnants of everyday commodities, you might even find the politics of "things" as oppressed minorities in a mass-production and mass-consumption society. Or, if one tried hard enough, it could even be possible to consider his work as a mimesis practice towards an umwelt [self-centered world] of futuristic others who aim at a post-apocalyptic imagination. But this man probably has no such sublime intention. Even if he mentions anything along these lines, it is only a mystification, by which one should never be fooled. Not to mention, this man probably does not have a commendable ecology-conscious mind toward recycling garbage through art.

I heard the title of this monograph would be Images are for illustration purposes. Basically, it is a joke. It would be a waste of time to take him seriously. I've had the pleasure of hanging out with Masashi Mihotani on a number of occasions, so I know the obscene ulterior motive behind the man's unreliable smile. I know the indecent greedy nature he has inside his skinny, mimizu-like figure. This man, Masashi Mihotani, is essentially a Homo Ludens (*1), or a mimizu man, who is drawn into unfaithful and immoral jouissance [enjoyment]. In other words, his works are all a game. Essentially, games have no objective. What they have instead is only a process. If so, what kind of process is this? In the case of Masashi Mihotani, it is a process of collecting, decomposing, and excreting.

Let's take another look at Mihotani’s works that are included in this book. Unidentifiable objects, painted in a poisonous blue color scheme characteristic of photograms (*2), are lined up in a disturbing manner. They look somewhat like nano-art, but they are not photographs of the minuscule world through an electron microscope. In some of the works, the objects used as materials are barely discernible, but often it is not clear what the objects really are. In either case, what can be said about the works as a whole is that there is no sign of life in them. Rather, the works of Masashi Mihotani remind us of a series of ideas related to death. All of his works have an affinity with death-like ideas; destruction rather than creation, decomposition rather than production, decay rather than persistence, illness rather than health, chaos rather than order, obscenity rather than innocence, and meaninglessness rather than meaningfulness. Yet, strangely, there is no sense of melancholy. Each work celebrates a certain light-heartedness, and if you look at them idly, you will even feel a strange sense of laughter. Perhaps the source of the laughter is the sheer nonsense of the images. It reminds me of what the philosopher Georges Bataille once wrote, that "people always laugh at death.” So it is black humor, and it is a joke. Or how Jacques Vacher, an individualistic poet who maintained an attitude of indifference to all things, defined humor as "a sense of the theatricality and emptiness of all things (*3).” From this perspective, Masashi Mihotani certainly has a sense of humor that allows him to smell the nonsense, or the stench of death, that drifts through everyday life. It is too naive to find purity in a child who makes a fuss about the king being naked in The Emperor’s New Clothes. Children are evil creatures, and as such, they are highly sensitive to nonsense. Masashi Mihotani is a full-fledged adult, but in his gaze, which can be seen in his works, we can sense a kind of regressive and vicious infantile nature. In short, he is nasty.

It is not only the disturbing appearance of Masashi Mihotani that gives the work such an impression. It is also due to the fact that all the materials used by Mihotani in the production of his works are as good as garbage. For example, he uses empty potato chip bags, frozen spaghetti bags, candy packages, and advertising flyers he finds on the street. Strictly speaking, it may be too soon to call these objects garbage, but in any case, they are all "dying" objects that have already deviated from the category of everyday usefulness. In the first place, garbage is a general term for materials that we arbitrarily judge to be "dead.” Fundamentally, there is no boundary between life and death in matter; it is simply in a dynamic process of constant circulation. But in reality, we always judge whether an object is garbage or not, that is, whether it is alive or dead. Of course, "dead" in this sense is a metaphor, meaning that the material is stripped of its previous social context and attributes, leading to unrelated and useless nonsense.

Mihotani collects these materials that have fallen into the garbage, or "dying" materials that have not yet been fully recognized as garbage but have low usefulness, at the edge of life, and using a unique photosensitive technology that Mihotani calls a "variant of a photogram," he further strips away the context and attributes the garbage still possesses, and transforms it into zero-degree nonsense. In other words, Mihotani regularly collects leftovers from the street, eats them, and excretes the lumps that have been decomposed in his own colon and have lost all their manifestations, as a work of art. The people who make a living by picking up and selling recyclable garbage in the slums of garbage dumps are called scavengers, and in this sense, Mihotani's work is similar to their scavenging. Scavenging also has another meaning, that of "carnivore.” In the past, our ancestors ate the rotting flesh of corpses, the leftovers of carnivorous animals, as their main source of nutrition (*4). What was going on here was also a process of collecting, decomposing, and excreting rotten things. The only difference between Mihotani and the scavengers is that the scavengers were more concerned with the profit and nutritional value of the garbage and carrion they collected, and less concerned with the whereabouts of the garbage and carrion, i.e. its decomposition and excretion, while Mihotani is preoccupied with and committed to the decomposition and excretion of the garbage he collects. Moreover, Mihotani does not perform the decomposition and excretion for the purpose of recycling the garbage. Nor does he have a productive intention to create new value from what has been discarded as garbage. The nonsense-permeating aspect of Mihotani's work tells us that his interest is solely dedicated to the process of collection, decomposition, and excretion itself. And perhaps there is a peculiar jouissance in that process. Here, I would like to call this peculiar enjoyment a "mimizu-jouissance," referring to the mimizu that has a body as an intestine directly connected to the mouth and anus (*5).

Mimizu, as they are widely known, are invertebrates that produce soil through decomposition and excretion. They feed mainly on rotting leaves and organic matter scattered in the soil, which they ingest orally, decompose with their sand sacs in their tubular bodies, and excrete as granular poop. As Charles Darwin wryly wrote, soil has passed through the bodies of mimizu many times (*6). The soil we tread on is, in a manner of speaking, a mass of poop of these mimizu. This is why mimizu are generally regarded as useful creatures, and it is said that the decomposition and excretion of soil by mimizu, in other words, their poop, transforms it into a state in which fertilizer components can be easily absorbed by plants. The filtration properties of mimizu have led to the recent popularity of mimizu composting in which they are used to grow soil fertilizer. Mimizu are also being promoted as an iconic organism for soil revitalization in soil conservation activities, where interest is rapidly growing. The days when mimizu were just creepy crawlies wriggling under flowerbeds are long gone. In the 21st century, known as the age of the environment, mimizu have been upgraded to an extremely important symbiotic species for human beings, and they are on the verge of transforming into lovable, even friendly, crawlies (*7).

But, of course, this is of no concern to mimizu. It is not because they want to preserve the soil that mimizu eat rotten leaves and garbage, decompose them, and release their poop. There is no need for narrow-minded notions such as "purpose.” The mimizu are merely indulging in the process of "living" by freely expanding and contracting their tubular, obscene bodies, feeding on and excreting plenty of decaying matter and microorganisms. It is true that the mimizu poop excreted in this way is extremely beneficial for the reproduction of plants, but its usefulness is only limited to the point of view of us humans, who believe in the reproduction of life and environmental preservation. It is a very human arrogance to regard and praise mimizu, which live and poop on their own, as if they are wonderful protectors of the natural environment. Mimizu are not hard workers who work tirelessly to preserve the soil, nor are they obedient proletarians who are used to make life more comfortable for humankind. Rather, they seem to be dancing around in a feast of carrion and decay. They are probably Epicureans who live and play in the midst of an overabundance of treats. And, their excrement, poop, is first and foremost the crystallization of the lascivious raw pleasures of mimizu, rather than the irreplaceable compost that creates sustainable earth. There is essentially no room for tactless judgment of usefulness or uselessness in the mimizu-like jouissance that consists of the aimless repetitive movements of collection, decomposition, and excretion.

The reason why I emphasize the hedonistic character of mimizu in this way is that I feel this series of work by Masashi Mihotani is also made of crystals created through the process of collecting, decomposing, and excreting. And that these artworks are, to put it another way, like poop leftover from this aimless jouissance. That is why I call Masashi Mihotani the mimizu man. In fact, at first glance, Mihotani's weak appearance is truly mimizu-like. When he is in the sun, his pale, hunchbacked appearance looks unavoidably vulnerable. This is also true for mimizu when they are exposed to sunlight and struggle against the threat of desiccation. In this situation, they bear no resemblance to the robust scavengers of the soil. However, things would be different if they were to go underground into a darkroom. In that darkroom, Mihotani probably lays out the garbage he has collected on the chopping board in a lively manner, immersing himself in the pleasure of decomposing it through light, as voracious a predator as a mimizu. Then he quickly excretes it. Let's imagine the expression on Mihotani's face as he does this. It must be the euphoric and demoralized expression of a baby of about one and a half years old standing there defecating in a diaper, staring at a point in the sky, and concentrating all the nerves of the brain on the jouissance rushing through the pleats of the anus.

Of course, I am not trying to demean Mihotani's work as worthless just because I use the metaphor of poop. This is my own praise, and its poop-like nature stems from the thoroughness of its "nothingness," or absolute nonsense of the images, which, as I wrote earlier, is the core of Mihotani's work. As it says, "Images are for illustration purposes." And these photographs are still images, which have yet to achieve any meaning or context. In this aspect of unconnectedness, uselessness, and inaction, I see the nature of poop. Like Mihotani's work, there are many artworks that use garbage, leftover scraps, and other useless materials, but it is not true to say that these works also qualify for the title of poop. What many of these works attempt to do is to rescue garbage that has been stripped of its social context and dumped on the edge of irrelevance, give them some form, reconnect them with society, and make them relevant. In other words, they are an attempt similar to "reproduction," and the production process is an action moving from ineffectual death to effectual life. On the other hand, Mihotani does not aim to recycle garbage. Rather, what he seems to aim for is the purification of garbage. Mihotani peels off all the contingent debris still attached to the garbage and decomposes it to a state where it is still in the process towards "nothing.” It is also a process of decomposition from life to death, or from a shallow death to deeper death. And, of course, this mimizu-like decomposition does not take place in the physical dimension as an actual mimizu does. What Mihotani is decomposing through the corrosive power of light are the social meanings, attributions, and contexts that have clung to the material. This is why Mihotani's works are poop, but not just any poop. It is what we should call "social poop.”

If you think back, you’d notice poop is the ultimate in nonsense. What is nonsense is also ridiculous. When I was a child, if I shouted "poop" out loud, I would get a lot of vulgar laughter. In a society dominated by usefulness and relatedness, poop, a symbol of uselessness and unrelatedness, has no place. Poop is still "nothing," and is an existence that reminds us not of life but of death. Therefore, poop must be flushed as soon as it is excreted. If poop were to intrude into our daily lives, it would be thoroughly avoided or laughed at. People always "laugh at death.” But in spite of how amusing it is, in some cases, poop is given a social role and escapes from nonsense. That is when it becomes compost and is put on the rails of reproduction. At such times, poop is no longer a crystallization of jouissance, but is excrement that is useful as manure (*8). Of course, I am not against the use of poop as compost for soil revitalization. If it were not for the mimizu poop being used as compost to cultivate the soil, the earth we tread on today would not even exist. However, we should not forget that the earth is not something that has been predetermined as an objective. It is simply a consequence of the full jouissance of life by mimizu and other soil degraders. As a matter of fact, I don’t think we ever poop for the purpose of fertilization. We always poop because we want to. As I wrote earlier about mimizu, it would be arrogant of me if I were to praise poop only as "wonderful compost" that contributes to the revitalization of soil and reproduction of life. There is a reason why I consider such a gaze problematic, and it is because I feel it is focused too much on productivity. No, the problem is not only that, but also that such a gaze alienates poop itself as a crystallization of jouissance, or the playfulness of collection, decomposition, and excretion.

If there is any element in Masashi Mihotani's play that can be called some kind of production practice, it is an attempt to move away from the supremacy of productivity that seems to dominate our society today, or from the social Darwinist value system that regards purposefulness as the true essence of nature, and to move towards a new form of play and regain the jouissance of collecting, decomposing, and excreting, that is, the mimizu-like jouissance and its crystallization, poop. The social poop that Mihotani is spreading to the world from his underground darkroom only emits a foul and brisk rotten smell and does not serve any purpose. The work does not throw out any useful message to society. Alternatively, it may result in some kind of compost, but even so, this social poop is not excreted with a specific purpose in mind. If there is something like a purpose, it is at most the immoral pleasure of bringing poop into a public place, which is secretly planned in a darkroom under the ground. In other words, Mihotani's works are not productive. Therefore, in today's society, they cannot escape the slander of immorality.

I know my words sound pretty bad, but that is fine. That is how it should be. The reason why I say so is that purpose can be a very tricky thing. No matter how unquestionably correct an idea may be, as soon as we extract a purpose from that idea and firmly establish it, the design and management of production in accordance with that purpose will immediately begin to be planned, and eventually will meet the obesity of the power that controls that design and management. For example, the idea of "living in harmony with nature" may be unquestionably correct. However, it is dangerous to overly prioritize that proposition and subordinate all actions to that purpose. It was under the Nazi regime that Germany became the first country in the world to enact a Nature Conservation Act. Under the slogan of "Blood and soil," the Nazis praised the soil where mimizu and poop grow, and extolled agriculture rooted in such soil as the foundation of the nation and its people. At the same time, however, the Nazi policy of nature conservation justified the exclusion of the Jews, who were mainly engaged in commerce and lived without roots in the soil. Of course, based on these historical reflections, it is undeniable that we are expected to take some action to preserve the environment in the face of today's global environmental catastrophe. However, it is still desirable that such actions occur as a result rather than as a purpose. Poop, as the crystallization of the jouissance of the aimless process of collecting, decomposing, and excreting itself, will eventually become compost that fertilizes the soil. And when the things nurtured in that fertile soil eventually die and decompose, they eventually become poop again through the process of collection, decomposition, and excretion. It is this order that is crucial. The circulation of the soil is also a result. And what causes this result is not the idea of a "recycling society" that has been set as an objective beforehand, but the aimless process of life of collecting, decomposing, and excreting, or the jouissance of the mimizu that indulge in this process.

In this respect, the nonsensical social poop, which Mihotani collected with the help of his olfactory perception and added the decomposing light of photograms and excreted with an insolent ecstasy, is like an invitation to those of us who impatiently live today tethered to a purpose to reincarnate as a "mimizu man." We should lower our gaze and consciousness, and indulge in the jouissance of process and the mischief of excretion. This is a vivid counter against the inverted political situation in which today's anti-establishment populace is eminently obedient to the stated ideals and objectives which seek top-down management and control. Or, to put it another way, it is an incitement to the "anarchism of poop.” Of course, Mihotani himself would never have intended to create such incitement in his work. This is also a result, not a purpose.

In his book, Jinrui taihika keikaku (Humanity's Composting Project), Chigaya Azuma, the leader of the satoyama [undeveloped woodland near a village] production group Tsuchi-Shiki, writes about his days in the satoyama, where he kills and eats different species. He says, "I just do my job as a human being, make a living, and eventually die and become food for others. It's a matter of course. There is only pleasure here.” Azuma, who praises the satoyama and criticizes the arrogance of the call for "satoyama conservation," is also a mimizu who arrived at the satoyama as a result of pursuing the jouissance of life, and indulges in the "greed," "immorality," and "corruption" that comes with living there. When I first saw Mihotani's works, I sensed obscenity, or more specifically, an eroticism, probably because Mihotani's production process is permeated with what Azuma calls "pleasure.” Laughing at death, Bataille defined eroticism as "assenting to life up to the point of death (*9).” Eros is also something that looks at the decay of death and nonsense at the end of the immediate pleasure of life. It follows then that the production process of collecting, decomposing, and excreting that Mihotani indulges in secretly in his underground darkroom could be said to be his own erotic activity. And now Mihotani wants to release the social poop residue of his private jouissance to the world as a monograph. What a refreshing malice this is.

By the way, poop which has fallen into a state of “nothingness” after being stripped of surplus material after decomposition and becoming utterly irrelevant already contains within it countless squirming microorganisms. In the depths of death, a fertile feast of life is constantly taking place, and the possibility of transforming from "nothing" to "something" is latent. It is only through this feast of microscopic things that poop can become compost. It would be fun to look at Mihotani's work as this kind of orgiastic feast and as a riot of countless latent possibilities. But that's another story. For now, it is time for us to accompany the mimizu man, Masashi Mihotani, and aimlessly play with the amusing social poop that is the crystallization of insolent mimizu-like jouissance. What should be celebrated is not the future use of social poop, but instead the refreshing malice, or rather, the rotten smell, that is now tickling our nostrils.

*1 Homo Ludens is a concept proposed by the Dutch historian Johan Huizinga in his book Homo Ludens, meaning "one who plays.” Huizinga saw in the act of "play" an essential function of humanity that preceded "culture," and he emphasized the importance of "play" by placing Homo Ludens opposite to Homo Faber, which means "creator.”

*2 Precisely speaking, Mihotani's photosensitive method is different from photograms. According to Mihotani, it is "a combination of photogram and negative print," and the process is closer to negative print. However, since the resulting image is rather similar to that of a photogram, and since the starting point of his own production career was photograms, Mihotani describes his own material approach as a "variant of a photogram.” In this essay, I followed Mihotani's words and used the term "photogram" for convenience when referring to his photosensitive method.

*3 Breton, André. 1940, 1947,1966. Anthology of Black Humor. Paris: Éditions du Sagittaire.

*4 As an aside, the polyphony researcher Joseph Jordania proposed in his book, Why Do People Sing? a hypothesis that the origin of art lies in the "carnivorous diet" that humans used to engage in. According to Jordania, hundreds of thousands of years ago, our ancestors discovered meat as a new source of nourishment (before that, they mainly ate fruit and bark) when they landed on the earth after a long period of living in trees due to food shortages caused by cold weather. However, it was extremely difficult for our ancestors, who did not yet have the tools to hunt, to kill live prey. So humans came up with the idea of looting carnivores of their prey. In the process of plundering, they painted their bodies, loudly sang, and danced on the ground, which series of acts could be considered as art in the broad sense of the word today.

*5 While the term "decomposition" is used frequently in this essay, what I had in mind was the argument developed by Tatsushi Fujihara in his book, Bunkai no tetsugaku (Philosophy of Decomposition). In the book, Fujihara describes decomposition as "the process of tasting and using something over and over again until its attributes and functions are all sucked up, its direction of movement is lost, and it disappears,” and argues that decomposition is a trump card in the fight against the supremacy of life, based on reproduction and purpose. The interpretation I suggested in this essay regarding Mihotani's works as "mimizu man" and "social poop" owes much to Fujihara's discussion.

*6 Darwin, Charles. 1881. The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms: With Observations on Their Habits. London: John Murray.

*7 In recent years, there has been a growing interest in intestinal flora as a means of promoting health, and the analogy with soil conservation can also be seen here. For example, The Hidden Half of Nature, co-authored by David R. Montgomery and Anne Biklé, is a good book that analogically explains the function of mimizu, microbes, and other decomposers that form soil, and the function of indigenous bacteria in the intestines that activate the decomposing ability of the intestines and improve the body's immune response. As I read these arguments, the visual similarities between mimizu and intestines, soil and poop, became more apparent. Such knowledge also helps to improve the status of mimizu as useful soil degraders for humanity.

*8 Needless to say, I intentionally, heavily used the informal and comical term "poop" instead of "feces" in this essay. There are many reasons for this, but to borrow a phrase from Yukio Mishima, who disliked the term "patriotism," I find the term "feces" to somehow connote a "government smell" which is imposed from above. On the other hand, the term "poop" has a sense of playful vitality of the people living on the land, which I find more desirable. Of course, this is just my own personal impression.

*9 Bataille, Georges. 1986. Erotism: Death and Sensuality. Translated by Mary Dalwood. San Francisco: City Lights Books.


辻 陽介



 作品集の表題は「Images are for illustration purposes」だと聞いた。「写真はイメージです」。基本的に悪ふざけなのである。大真面目に向き合うだけ無駄というものだろう。僕は三保谷将史と行きがかり上幾度か遊んだことがあるため、この男の頼りない笑顔が隠し持った猥褻な下心を知っている。ひょろひょろとした佇まいに宿したミミズのように淫らで貪婪な心性を知っている。根本的にこの三保谷将史という男は不埒で不徳な享楽に貫かれた不真面目なホモ・ルーデンス(※1)、ないしはミミズ人間なのである。つまり、これらは全て遊戯なのだ。そして、遊戯というものには本質的に目的というものがなく、ただプロセスしか存在しない。そのプロセスとはいかなるものだろうか。三保谷将史の場合、それは蒐集と分解と排泄のプロセスである。







 無論、三保谷の作品をうんちに喩えたからと言って、その作品が無価値であると貶めようとしているわけでは決してない。これは僕なりの賞賛であって、また三保谷作品のうんち的性質は、先にも書いたその徹底した「なにものでもなさ」、三保谷作品の骨子とも言うべき画像のナンセンスに由来するものである。額面通り「Images are for illustration purposes」、それらの写真はいまだイメージなのであって、いまだいかなる意味や文脈とも接続を果たしていない。その無縁、無用、無為の様相に、僕は他でもないうんち的性質を見取っているのだ。三保谷の作品と同様に、ゴミや廃材など無用になった素材を用いたアート作品は数多いが、それらの作品もまたうんちの称号を手にする資格を有しているかと言えば、そんなことはない。そうした作品の多くで試みられているのは、社会的な文脈を剥奪され無縁のほとりに打ち棄てられたたゴミを救済し、そこになんらかの形象を与え、再び社会と接続し、有縁化していくことである。これはすなわち「再生産」に類する試みであり、その制作工程は無為なる死から有為なる生へと向かっていくプロセスにある。一方、くどいようだが、三保谷はと言えば、そうしたゴミの再生利用には向かわない。むしろ、そこで目指されているであろうはゴミの純粋化である。三保谷の制作とは、ゴミにいまだ付着している有縁性のカスをことごとく剥離し、いまだ「なにものでもない」状態に至るまで分解していくプロセスのことであった。それはまた、生から死へ、あるいは浅い死からより深い死へと向かっていく腐敗のプロセスでもある。そしてもちろん、このミミズ的分解は実際のミミズが行うような物理的次元において行われるものではない。三保谷が光の腐蝕力によって分解しているのは、物質にまとわりついていた社会的な意味、属性、文脈である。だから、三保谷の作品はうんちはうんちでも、ただのうんちではない。それは言うなれば「社会的うんち」と呼ぶべきものである。







※1 ホモ・ルーデンスとはオランダの歴史家ヨアン・ホイジンガが著書『ホモ・ルーデンス』において提唱した概念であり、その意は「遊ぶ人」である。ホイジンガは「遊び」という行為に「文化」に先行する人類の本質的機能を見出し、「つくる人」を意味するホモ・ファーベルにこのホモ・ルーデンスを対置することで「遊び」の重要性を説いた。

※2 厳密には三保谷の感光手法はフォトグラムとは異なる。それは三保谷いわく「フォトグラムとネガプリントの合いの子」であり、プロセスとしてはネガプリントにより近いという。しかし、結果として出力されるイメージがむしろフォトグラムのそれに近似していること、また自身の制作キャリアの起点がフォトグラムであったことから、三保谷は「亜種的なフォトグラム」とも自身の手法を紹介している。本稿ではそうした三保谷の言に倣い、三保谷の感光手法について触れる際には便宜的に「フォトグラム」という語に統一している。

※3 参考文献『黒いユーモア選集2』(アンドレ・ブルトン著、山中散生、他、訳 河出書房新社)

※4 余談にはなるが、ポリフォニー研究者のジョーゼフ・ジョルダーニアは著書『人間はなぜ歌うのか?』において、かつて人類が行なっていたとされる「屍肉食」の中にこそ芸術の起源があるとする仮説を提示している。ジョルダーニアによれば、数十万年前、寒冷化による食糧難によって長く続いた樹上での生活を終え、地上に降り立った我々の祖先は、新たなる栄養源として「肉」を発見した(それ以前は主に果物や樹皮などを食べていた)。しかし、いまだ狩猟を行うための道具を持たなかった祖先たちにとって、生きた獲物を仕留めることは極めて困難だった。そこで人類が考えたのが肉食獣が仕留めた獲物を肉食獣から略奪することだった。その略奪において行われたのが、自らの身体を派手やかにペイントし、大声で歌い、大地を踏みならして踊る、という今日であれば広義の芸術に含まれる一連の行為であり、そして、そうした芸術的行為によって人類は肉食獣を威嚇し、屍肉を得ていたのではないかと、ジョルダーニアは言う。

※5 本稿では「分解」という用語を頻出させているが、その際、筆者の念頭にあったのは藤原辰史が著書『分解の哲学』で展開していた論考である。同書で藤原は「分解」というものを「ものの属性や機能が最終的にしゃぶりつくされ、動きの方向性が失われ、消え失せるまで、何度も味わわれ、用いられること」であるとした上、そのような「分解」を再生や有為を軸とする生命至上主義的な思想に抗する上での切り札として論じている。本稿で筆者が三保谷の作品を媒介に展開している「ミミズ人間」や「社会的うんち」をめぐる論考は、こうした藤原の考察に多くを負うものである。

※6 参考文献 「ミミズと土」(チャールズ・ダーウィン著、渡辺 弘之 訳 平凡社ライブラリー)

※7 あるいは近年、健康促進の一環として腸内フローラへの関心なども高まりを見せているが、ここにも土壌保全とのアナロジーが働いている。たとえばデイビット・モントゴメリーとアン・ビグレーによる共著『土と内臓』は、土壌を形成するミミズや微生物ら分解者の働きと、腸の分解能力を活性化し身体の免疫機能を向上させる腸内常在菌の働きとをアナロジカルに解説した良書であった。こうした論を読むにつけ、ミミズと腸、土とうんちの視覚的のみならぬ相似性が、より明白に立ち現れてくる。そして、そうした知見がまた人類にとって有用な土壌分解者としてのミミズの地位向上に一役買っているのである。

※8 言うまでもなく、筆者が本稿において「糞」ではなく「うんち」という非公式で滑稽な呼称を多く用いているのは、あえてである。その理由は様々あるが、「愛国心」という言葉を嫌った三島由紀夫の言を借りるならば、筆者は「糞」と言う呼称にどことなく、上から押し付けられたような「官製のにほひ」を嗅ぐのである。一方、「うんち」という呼称には、地を生きる民衆の遊戯的な暮らしの雰囲気があり、筆者にはより好ましく感じられる。もちろん、これは筆者の私的な印象論に過ぎないのではあるが。

※9 参考文献『エロティシズム』(ジョルジュ・バタイユ著、澁澤龍彦訳 二見書房)

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