Accepted paper:

The wonder of cloacal creation from myth to MONA

Author:

Deborah Van Heekeren (Macquarie University)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper I focus on myths of origin that express—to follow Scott—the wonder of creation. I begin with Alan Dundes’ classic work on Native American earth-diver myths, and end with Wim Delvoye’s Cloaca Professional (2010) in MONA to consider the wonder of being.

Paper long abstract:

Michael Scott (2014) begins his discussion of wonder with Socrates' statement that 'wonder is the beginning of philosophy'. For some more recent philosophers '...what begins in wonder, even before philosophy developed, is myth-telling'. In this paper I focus on myths of origin that express—to follow Scott—the wonder of creation. I begin with Alan Dundes' (1962) classic work on Native American earth-diver myths, which are their creation myths. Dundes connects these to the Biblical stories of Genesis and Noah's Ark to argue the case for two Freudian insights; a cloacal theory of birth linked to childhood sexuality, and the idea that men would like to be able to produce or create valuable material from within their bodies as women do. Dundes also draws connections between creation myths and male initiation rites, and I will consider examples of both from Papua New Guinea. Finally I explore my own wonder at discovering artist Wim Delvoye's Cloaca Professional (2010) in the cavernous interior of the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart. It is hoped that in thinking about creation myths as wonder—the wonder of being—that we might find an alternative explanation for the origin of origin myths.

panel Rel01
The social formation of wonder