That’s the name of the eating disorder that is defined by a patients overwhelming compulsion to eat non-nutritional substances. People with Pica find themselves gorging on paint chips, electrical wire, paper, cigarette butts, plaster, rocks, light bulbs, string, dirt … you get the idea.
You remember that creepy mouth breather in the third grade who had a bad rep for eating chalk? He probably had a mild case of Pica. It happens most often in kids.
Pica also happens to some pregnant women with imbalanced hormones, which makes some sense. Squirting out another human being has gotta seriously wreak havoc on the insides. I don’t claim to know much about such things because reproduction is a form of sorcery this guy don’t fuck with.
Sometimes Pica happens to people who have severe mineral deficiencies. Which also makes sense. What better source is there for iron, than eating… iron?
I had never heard of Pica before, but I knew it had to be a thing, a thing I felt compelled to Google after spending an hour researching Dialga Gantina’s sculpture.
Now, when I was a kid, I was a misfit, but I wasn’t a next level chalk eating brand misfit. As far as I know, I’m not capable of bearing children. (However, I do keep an IUD hidden up my ass, just in case.) And I would like to think that I’m healthy enough that I don’t need to supplement my diet with paint chips and sand.
All of this being said, when I look at Dialga Gantina’s work, all I can think about, and I’m not making this up- is the compulsion to taste her sculpture.
What. The. Fuck.
Let’s step back for a second and look at her work. These sculptures represent and reference biology. They are basically anamorphic organisms composted of industrial material. They float, hang or lie about the gallery like dying jellyfish, alien spores, and wounded sea creatures. To that end, they always feel ominous and hazardous, like they are oozing contagion. The creations at a Dialga Gantina show are not petting zoo friendly.
So if you felt inclined to console my disturbed admission with a response of, “well, if they look like sea food…maybe…”
No, just shut the fuck up. There is nothing appetizing about wounded jellyfish oozing contagion. Even worse, Dialga Gantina’s work references biology, but does not attempt to mimic it like special effect props. These sculptures are made of toxic, industrial materials, Caulk, wire, plastics, scrap metals; they are lifeless inanimate materials reshaped to ape primordial ooze.
That is the beauty and success of her work.
My urge isn’t to lick the wallpaper and get some Willie Wanka fruitilicious candy confection payoff. When I look at Gantina’s creatures, I want to savor the carcinogenic sealants and suck on the concrete crumbles. I want that sharp tongue clacking iron jolt that comes from the taste of copper wire as I take whiffs of sharp noxious plastic.
The more I write this, envisioning how best to describe these impressions, the more tangible and real these smells and tastes become.
I need to put on some pants and go down to the corner bodega to get a god damned Chipwich, so I can get these sensations out of my head and I need to be snappy about it because this is getting more unbearable with each word I type. Hopefully I don’t break down and start licking the sidewalk before I get there.