A R E N A  F O R  T H O U G H T


Interview Alexandra Stevens

It’s a symbol of death. Or life, depending on perspective. It represents both the mind and the body; sometimes it serves as a warning, other times as a reflection of mortality. From the Skulls of Jericho to the skulls of Damien Hurst and C. Allan Gilbert, the human skull has been used for centuries as an emblematic artistic vehicle. And just when we thought we had already seen every rendition imaginable, Dutch artist Diddo brings us skull art in its latest reincarnation. Ecce Animal is a sculpture of the human skull, lifelike in shape and size, molded entirely out of cocaine and gelatin. After spending months collecting from street dealers for the commissioned art piece, the accumulated powder was tested for purity and content. A full summary of the lab report is available on Diddo’s website, along with pictures of beakers full of chemicals, weirdly outdated desktop computers, and faceless figures in lab coats.


When images of Ecce Animal first hit the internet, a lot of people were pretty pissed about it even being called art. Apparently for some, the concept of sculpture as a fine art just goes out the window as soon as drugs are involved. Fans of Diddo’s previous works were hardly be surprised by his latest endeavor, having already seen designer gas masks, Cartier weaponry, and a 1979 bottle of Dom Pérignon morphed into an extinguisher. Unlike his past pieces, however, Ecce Animal differs in that it only exists, for most people at least, on the internet. As a privately commissioned piece, the identity of the skull’s owner Read more Arena For Thought No.12