Entering the belly of another involves more than finding out what was for dinner. First, you must choose to dissolve your own boundaries and shrink yourself. Or instead you might ask the other body to expand so outwardly that you are able to slip inside without sacrifice. There is no politeness in choosing the latter, an explicit request to inflate another body to almost bursting, so that you might remain the same. I want us both to be bigger, so I beg the other to indulge their stomach so that I might enter easily. Fleshy walls become a gallery of things that have been pushed outwards, delicious allegories of lovers’ bodies before the beginning of time. Skin is as archaic as stone, moulded gently over the longest time like a cliff edge shaped by lapping waves. Flesh rejects the chiselled sharpness demanded by sculptors and unsympathetic gods. Big Friendly Giants are etched into bisque fired clay to tell a story about the choice between morality and taste; he decides to swallow green disgust rather than immature flesh. Snozzcumbers make my stomach stir, with nostalgia rather than hunger, because that feeling that precedes a name always begins in the belly. The slates reveal their stories slowly, as pencil moves softly across unglazed ceramic and like fingernails dragged across a stranger’s back, their marks are tentative and searching. I listen closely, anticipating the rumbling of stomach acid but instead the atmosphere is velvet, a pool of music. I say this because it is flooding, with the sound of synthetic rain drops that usually induce sleep. Real thunder looms outside the porthole window, making an audible threat to interrupt this fabricated ecosystem. The soundtrack is a successful imitation and I am pulled down and underneath a booming voice that tells me I am cared for in the deep. But like the rain his love is fictional, a replica of something once huge that is shrinking. Gently hammered-out hills attempt to mask softness with steel illusion, my head sinks into pillowed aluminium like an inflatable sofa made solid, reflecting redness off its surface. Metal becomes a bulbous home to slippery angels, or another ceramic deception; tiny hands pull out from inorganic limbs formed by coding. These bodies are imagined in a sting of chemicals, a machine birth that still comes out wet. They dry without crying and take flight immediately, entering the throat before descending the oesophagus, hurtling towards the stomach where they loiter in fluttering embarrassment of the speed at which they arrived. But Milliput is hard to digest and I feel the rumbling sugestion that these angelic bodies won’t settle. Like the inside of a closed mouth, to speak would breach security, and so I try my best to inhale their silent delicacy without asking how they got here. A rumble becomes a gurgle, and again there is something that is pushing; only so many creatures can be stuffed inside another without bursting and my accommodating belly-host has done his best to squeeze me in. I give in to sleepy digestion, becoming the artificial light of his red insides, so that I might stay a little longer.
Megan Rudden is an artist and writer from Edinburgh, currently based in Glasgow. With a background in sculpture, Megan is currently interested in how written words can evoke physical sensation and materiality.
Jame St Findlay and Jonny Walker, Kiosk Gallery, Govanhill, October 2021