There’s the Logbar smart ring, which has been deemed “the worst product ever made.” There’s the infamous potato salad Kickstarter. And now there’s the Scrotum Warmer, a very-painful-sounding contraption that looks like a Christmas ornament and does…well, pretty much what you’d expect.
Here’s the product description on Indiegogo. The writer, who goes by the name “Ano Normale,” is Italian, and not a native English speaker.
The Scrotum warmer is a elegant item that’s cable to momentarily sterilise a man’s testicles. Internal temperature reaches up to about 42° celsius degrees, rendering spermatogenesis impossible.
Choose between a carbon fiber and a kevlar fiber version, both dressed in leather for ultimate comfort. The Kevlar version is most likely bullet proof, but further testing has to determine that.
This is a prestigious item for a man who does not want to depend from condoms or birth prevention pills.
The author goes on to warn that the Scrotum Warmer is “not suitable” for animals or children, and that “you may become sterile” while using it. There’s also this wacky video featuring a man lying down next to the contraption while silently screaming into a sheet of Saran Wrap.
No wonder the Scrotum Warmer has only raised seven dollars so far.
Like most attempts at trolling, the Scrotum Warmer sounds just enough like a bizarre scientific solution to appear legitimate—or at least, legitimate enough to spark a debate on Reddit, which is exactly what happened on r/shittykickstarters. (The device also made an appearance on 4chan.) While some redditors thought it was a hoax, others pointed out that there’s actually a precedent for heat-based methods of male contraception. One study by a Swiss doctor suggested that temperatures up to 116 degrees could affect a man’s fertility for several months. (It is not, however, proven to be a reliable method of male contraception.)
As it turns out, the skeptics were spot-on. Ano Normale is the pseudonym of an Italian artist who described his work as “a form of art and pseudoscience” in an email to the Daily Dot.
Normale’s work on Tumblr is not for the faint of heart. His previous efforts include an “insemination of soil” using male ejaculate (featuring very explicit GIFs to demonstrate), a “hypnosis machine powered by urine,” and a “penetration test” featuring a baby doll and a tiny phallus. (It goes without saying that his Tumblr is NSFW.)
In his email, Normale further explained his intent with the Scrotum Warmer Indiegogo campaign.
“The scrotum warmer, in fact, doesn’t work and I don’t want to sell it as a useful object,” he wrote. “The purpose of this indiegogo campaign is to promote my work and get some feedbacks, the money side isn’t important for me.”
When asked about the response to his work, Ano Normale said it was “black or white,” with many telling him he’s “mentally sick or an idiot.”
“I think that [it] is difficult to appreciate my work,” he wrote, “because I make some well done objects (or in general an elegant photo to describe the work) and then put it with gross material like genitals.”
He went on: “Think about a diamond released from the anus; the precious stone isn’t enough to make the scene pleasant, really? Anyway I like what I do, this is important for me.”
The moral of the story is that, sometimes, art is just plain weird.