Thursday, September 23, 2010

Incriminating Polaroids

Last weekend, Dark Odyssey’s summer camp brought together over four hundred people from our diverse communities to teach, learn, play and socialize in the beautiful, secluded site that is annually transformed into “sex camp.”

Leila, Kay and I organized a cabin around the theme of art-making. We invited campers to stop by to create something—drawings, paintings, sculpture, writing, whatever—encouraging them to worry less about the finished product and to think more about the process of being creative. At the end of the weekend, the results were included in an art exhibition, complemented by the requisite white wine and friendly critique.

We named the cabin “Incriminating Polaroids,” mindful that instant photography is a popular art form that can have deliciously smutty results. To identify ourselves and draw attention to our art project, we designed and silkscreened shirts that our cabin mates subsequently wore to classes, meals and other occasions where we weren’t, you know, just naked.

Among other projects, Leila recreated performance artist Marina Abramović’s classic Rhythm 0 (nineteen seventy-four), in which viewers became participants, invited to make use of an array of provided objects to interact with the inert artist. It was a powerful piece when Abramović created it. It was extraordinary when Leila recreated it in a dungeon, with the participation of so many experienced players. Her gender presentation was altered, her flesh painted and flashed with numerous sensations, her spirits surprised by unexpected actions and occasionally sustained by kindness and care.

For my part, I transformed Kay into a living abstract canvas, coloring her nude body with hot wax in emulation of encaustic painting. She glowed in candlelight on the grass under a clear sky, with virtually no witnesses.

Here are a few incriminating Polaroids.

Preparing a silkscreen for printing, and the logo as it appeared on our shirts. For those too young to recall, the logo recreates the contour of a Polaroid picture.

My boots after making a particularly messy wax painting by moonlight.

As official camp photographs are made availble, I'll post links here. The next Dark Odyssey event will be in February in Washington, DC. Hope to see you there. If you're interested in taking part in art/sex events, drop me a line.

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