My Florence Souvenir
RSA John Kinross scholarship
Postcard nº6 infront of Uffizi Gallery, Florence
My Florence Souvenir
Florence, 2018 -2019
My interest comes from the representation of the male body seen as an object of desire. Throughout the history of Art, the male nude has evolved in its representation. An admiration initiated with the idealised forms of Greco-Roman bodies; an intellectual reconstruction of the body converted into an erotic canon.
During this period of research in Florence I focused on works of the Renaissance exploring the male nude (such as Michelangelo’s David) with a queer gaze, which I then overlaid with representations of the male bodies of Florence in the Grindr App. The final result is a study of how we become objects of observation; visual products in a new market of our own creation which finds its genesis in Guy Debord´s concept of the spectacle. Electronic devices allow you to access and map this spectacle of the body. The gaze is the vehicle of this virtual spectacle, guiding us as consumers and contemporary producers towards a hypothetical Stendhal syndrome.
From lat. Canon, and this of the gr. κανών
3. m. Rule of the proportions of the human figure, according to the ideal type accepted by the
Egyptian and Greek sculptors.
4. m. Model of perfect features.
Grindr conversation screenshot, Florence
Queering Renaissance Art
My process in Florence began by visiting various art sites and using photography to document Renaissance pieces evoking the queer gaze. I soon found a connection between these images and the ones I had been seeing on the Grindr App in Florence. Some men choose to represent themselves with Renaissance masterpieces, instead of with the usual photos of their own bodies. I found this remarkable; an obvious avenue for furthering the conversation of the erotic ideal and its unique connection with queer culture and contemporary capitalism.
In order to illuminate these connections further, I used photoshop to overlay the photographs I had taken with designs reminiscent of the profiles I found on Grindr. By combining the art of the Renaissance and the current aesthetic of queer digital communication, I was able to create pieces exploring the legacy of the Classical erotic
canon. For the culmination of my project, I printed postcards of my images in order to frame them as cruising souvenirs. In this way a parallel is drawn between the objectifying consumerism of social engagement apps and the ideal´s constant role in capitalism. I then placed these postcards at local souvenir shops throughout Florence´s city center in order to create a public performance of the work´s symbolic role in commerce.