Monday, July 18, 2005

Click here to see naked people


I've decided that the titles for my posts aren't nearly interesting enough, or long enough for that matter (KathyF is a genius at finding intriguing but relevant titles for her intriguing and relevant posts, but do come back here when you've visited her). Anyway, the title of this post is not an invitation to search even more internet porn (try The Hun if that's the sort of thing you're after; although if that really is the sort of thing you're after, you'll already know where to go), but to mention that Spencer Tunick has done another of his installations, this time at the Baltic Centre in Gateshead.

It seems unlikely that no one has any idea any more about Tunick and his work, but the Guardian blogged about this particular venture. I am moved to write about it because, just like Michelle Pauli who has written the 'Culture Vulture' (stupid expression) blog entry, I took part in Tunick's event at Selfridge's in April 2003.

There's a lot of the usual crap written in the Comments section about "oh, it's not art" and at least one person making the usual idiot confusion between nudity and pornography. For my money, Tunick's work is art - he is a damn fine photographer, as a quick look at his website will confirm. And I like his concept of 'private bodies in public spaces', even if he's a one-trick horse who is no longer a novelty.

Anyway, even if Tunick's concept seems to be driving him to create new events much more than it seems to be driving him to be in any way original, much of the interest surrounding him now focuses not so much on himself but on the individuals who come and cheerfully expose themselves for his events. Seven thousand people in Barcelona - seven thousand people - there can't be that many naturists in Barcelona, so a lot of them must have been people who wouldn't ordinarily strip off in public. Certainly, I fall into this category. Why did I do it? Something to tell the grandchildren, I suppose, as well as overcoming my usual reluctance to do such a thing (I am by nature a curtain-drawer).

I can testify that the entire experience is in no way whatsoever erotic. Even though I was surrounded by approximately two hundred and fifty naked women, the presence of two hundred and fifty naked men, the desire to keep my eyes focused at head level (for fear of being seen to be doing what everyone else was probably doing, ie having a good gawp), and the general businesslike but relaxed atmosphere contributed to a total lack of arousal on my part (although the combination of cold marble Selfridge's floor and an urgent desire to relieve my bladder meant that my normally proud manhood had shrunk to the size of a small peanut in any case).

The BBC's report on my experience at Selfridge's is here (no, you can't see me) and I may post my own commemorative photo of the event in due course.


Blogger CuriousHamster said...

I applaud your courage. I don't think I'd have the balls for it myself. No, hang on, wait a minute...

Apologies, I couldn't resist the weak joke. I am seriously impressed though.

2:10 am  

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