Thursday, September 24, 2015

Challenging expectations

'I Once Heard Another Man's Heartbeat' was a series of multimedia artworks I created for the 2015 'Company Of Men Exhibition' in Melbourne, Australia. It is an experiential and interactive work, thematically exploring the construction of 'male experience' through intimacy experienced between male identifying people. It asked if there there was an essential truth about masculinity that existed beyond the constructions, biology or binary thinking.

photographed and then I recorded an interviews with a variety of male identifying individuals that varied in age, race, relationship status and attitude. I asked them to tell me about a significant experience intimacy (not necessarily sexual) that they shared with a man.  

I then used a range of analog and digital technologies to convey the perspectives by altering reality of images and objects I made or acquired, and by changing what the viewer saw and experienced. I hijacked (with permission) other artists work from the exhibition, which came to life to anonymously share their secret slice of secret mens business.  

View the work and how it functions below:

Below is a detail from a piece in the exhibition titled 'Danny'. It consists of a static red/cyan photographic image that altered with interaction. For example it became 3D when viewed through anaglyph glasses. And when scanned with a mobile device, it came to life and morphed gender and body structure of those depicted. 

The subjects photographed in these two images above were both born biological women. However they both defy expectations of how we traditionally construct gender. Danny is an intelligent and evolved creature who lives totally and deliberately beyond tranditional gender and expectations of the way gender and sexuality is expressed, even by the LGBTI community standards. 

The other subject, Esther, provides the a comparative tone that is initially a counterpart to Danny's masculinity. Further investigation and interaction changes the work, and as it shifts, so does our understanding of what we are looking at. It's much like the experience of meeting Danny in person, 

"I'm just being me. And this is who I want to be, and who I am comfortable being. And you either accept that, or you don't. I hope when people meet me that it's a bit of a head fuck." said Danny in their interview,

"Because when they are challenged or fascinated, that's when I know they are actually 'seeing me'..." 

We still largely build our reality thinking that 'looking' is the same as 'seeing', and that 'seeing' is the same as 'knowing'. Subsequently we can't see what is in front of us through our own projections and expectations. I use interactivity and play to engage the viewer and create a dialogue between them and the work.

Just like meeting people and getting to know them, viewing this art is not a passive experience. But hopefully it's one that brings you closer to the heart of the matter.


CLICK THE IMAGE to watch PIX by Antonio Da Silva

I'm a big fan of artist Antonio Da Silva.

PIX is a work of his that borders on brilliant for it's labour intensive simplicity and it's sharp commentary on the consumption, proliferation and ubiquity of online dating app in our lives and the selfies that are such a part of that. Da Silva fuses hundreds of individual dating app selfies into a sort of striptease narrative that literally climaxes. It's an amazingly detailed study of the posing, posturing and performance that is so often used to define gender, attractiveness and sexuality, that we so unconsciously replicate. You can see more of his amazing work at the link.


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