10 Jun 2012

Digestive art – swallowing your pride?

Two graphic design students turned themselves inside out for a photography project by swallowing 35mm film and examining the end results. Literally.

Joshua Lake and Luke Evans decided the best – and possibly the safest – way to view their internal organs (without an X-ray or a doctor) was to swallow punctured capsules to let acids and enzymes seep onto the film and make its way through their digestive tracts. The end products, so to speak, were then washed and examined under a microscope before they were enlarged into prints.

While medics don’t recommend swallowing foreign objects, the Kingston University students decided to push the boundaries of photography in a world where every mobile phone has a camera.

“When it is actually inside, your mind plays trick about how you feel about it,” Luke Evans told Channel 4 News. “You think, ‘Oh it’s in there.’ You can feel it but it is just that you have been trained not to injest things like this,”

Internal mapping

Paul Jenkins, of the faculty of art, design and architecture at Kingston University, compared their art to maps, calling the results a “sense of clear landscapes we haven’t seen before”.

The experiment was not photography in the traditional sense as the film was not processed, but instead examined under the microscope.

Medical experts warn that the risks involved include perforating a colon and obstruction, but Mr Lake and Mr Evans confirm they were fine. But don’t try to repeat the experiment at home.

Anyone interested can view the results at east London’s Hoxton Gallery on 12 and 13 June.