A pile of street cocaine mixed with gelatin is sculpted into a life-sized replica of a human skull in ‘Ecce Animal,’ a statement on humankind’s lingering tendency to lose control of ourselves. Artist Diddo created the piece as a private commission using street cocaine obtained the usual way – illegally – and declines to reveal the confidential details of the hows and whys.
Diddo had the cocaine tested at a laboratory before using it, and pharmacists and the unnamed facility discovered that mixed in with the pure cocaine was a number of other ingredients including “Phenacetin, Caffeine, Paracetamol, and a relative large percentage of sugars, most probably Mannitol or Inositol.”
The piece was initially released with no information other than a companion poem written by the artist, which reads in part, “It is frightening to look at the face of our animal side laid bare by comfortable excess; the spoils of aggression. But what exactly is it about this image that is so confronting?”
The artist reveals to Bullett that despite its initial appearance, Ecce Animal isn’t meant to be a statement on the destructiveness of addiction, but rather about our inherent nature as human beings. “We have temporarily outgrown the intended uses for our animal instincts. This leaves us in an uncomfortable conundrum. Where can we safely store them until we need them again?”