“Shit out your eye!” is a popular Czech vulgarism used when something irritates you, annoys you, or won’t go your way. Its charm lies in its absurdity (or rather, physiological impossibility). The most common and de facto only possible reaction is repetition and confirmation. Shit it out, asshole! – or bitch, depending on who you have the honor to be dealing with. The exact origins of this popular expression combining one’s eye with defecation is a question best left to etymologists. If we browse the Dictionary of Czech Popular Sayings compiled by Jaroslav Zaorálek – the translator of Celine’s Journey to the End of the Night – we discover the phrase “black eye” to describe the human anus, though it is almost unknown in modern usage. In contemporary pornography, this part of the body is often referred to as “chocolate highway”. Be that as it may, transposing the functions of the head and anus has ancient roots in the cultural imagination, as Mikhail Bakhtin showed in his Rabelaisian studies, in particular his theory of the grotesque body.
As we watch Filip Turek’s videos from the Spoiled Joy series, the first thing we notice is surface – more precisely, what is printed on it. The mouths of pop-culture icons such as Miley Cyrus (the famous girl from the Hannah Montana television series) and Hello Kitty spew forth a thick mass that flows down or twists into decorative arabesques. We feel as if the camera has captured these children’s or adolescents’ idols in the midst of an unusual physical activity that should undoubtedly be performed in privacy, without witnesses. When our gaze breaks free from the action on the surface, we identify the object as the kind of cheap printed rubber ball that can be bought for a few crowns at any toy store. Again, the ball’s shape, combined with the matter being expelled from its innards, feels very physical. It brings to mind of a giant pierced eyeball. An eye from which, without squeezing, emanates a never-ending snake. For its part, the human body only squeezes forth similar matter from its “black eye”. The absurd transposition of bodily functions mentioned at the outset has engaged the human imagination since time immemorial, and I dare to claim that it is the true reason for the instinctual excitement that we experience when watching Turek’s video. The superficial pop-cultural blasphemy is just a shell, camouflage netting meant to deceive our senses.