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The Belgian artist Wim Delvoye has created a machine that turns shit into art. He also tattoos pigs on a farm in China and sells the hides. Now he has tattooed me

By Ben Lewis   June 2005

In the past, artists created art from life; nowadays the most interesting ones create life from art. For centuries we have relied on the definition of art as a useless object, worth contemplating. Artists, we were told, stood aloof from society and the market—they could deal in ideas with no use-value. This idea of art reached its reductio ad absurdum with Duchamp’s readymades—useful objects transformed into useless vehicles for ideas by being presented in an art gallery. But sometime in the last 30 years, one artist (it is hard to say exactly who) had a further thought: why not exploit…

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