An Artist Is Making Soap from Liposuction Fat

You'll soon be able to buy a bar of the stuff for $32.

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30 October 2018, 12:30am

Left image via Flickr user Deepak Singh via CC licence 2.0; right image via Wikipedia via CC licence 3.0

Ever felt like lathering yourself in liposuctioned human fat? Probably not. But what if that fat was pressed into a bar of soap, a la Fight Club, and sold to you for $32 a piece as part of an edgy art installation? Still no? Well too bad, because a Dutch installation artist by the name of Julian Hetzel has already gone and made Schuldfabrik: a new type of "beautiful" soap produced from the donated fat of liposuction patients.

Shuldfabrik will be sold out of a pop-up cosmetics shop and back-of-house factory at the 2019 Adelaide Festival, the ABC reports, where attendees will be given the chance to wash themselves with a bar of the stuff during a performance that will also include a plastic surgeon demonstrating liposuction. Conceptually, Hetzel claims he wants to use fat-soap as a metaphorical device to explore the idea of turning guilt into a force for good.

"We decided to work with fat as a material that represents guilt or that contains guilt and to understand, can this be used as a resource?” he told the ABC. "Can we use guilt as something productive? Can we profit from our own guilt? How to make money with guilt."

Working with plastic surgeons in the Netherlands, Hetzel managed to wrangle enough liposuctioned lard to produce 300 kilograms of the “soap”—but he insists it’s not "100 percent human fat".

"We collaborated with a soap maker and she advised us to make a mixture of different fats and oils to have like a really high-quality product that is also moisturising and has all the components of a real good soap," he said. The 125 gram bars ended up containing less than 10 percent human fat—and those bodily materials had to be treated at high temperatures in order to kill any bacteria and viruses and make sure that the soap was actually hygienic.

On the advice of lawyers, Hetzel has also decided not to officially label the product as "soap".

"It looks like soap, it functions like soap, but it is an artwork," he said.

Those less interested in the “art” side of things and more interested in peddling the bars as Christmas gifts for friends and family will also be able to take some Shuldfabrik home with them for the cool price of $32. Funds made from the sales will go towards building water wells in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and a bar of normal, not-human soap will be gifted to the same country for every sale.

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