Russian-born Berlin-based 26-year-old performance artist Mischa Badasyan will have sex with a different man every day for a year, starting this September. He is influenced, in part, by the writing of French philosopher Marc Auge on “non-places.” As Badasyan explained to VocaTV:
He was writing about non-places in the big cities; places like supermarkets, shopping malls, airports, motorways, and he says that people lose their identity, there’s no communication, people don’t feel a belonging to somewhere and that causes the loneliness of people.
And that’s exactly the kind of places he hopes to meet these men, exploring the “corporate” aspect of alleged “gay hook-up culture,” via websites like GayRomeo and Gaydar and apps like Grindr and Scruff. He even has a condom sponsor. Several similar long-durational projects come to mind, particularly Tehching Hsieh’s One-Year Performance of voluntary imprisonment and that time Laurel Nakadate cried every day for a year. Particularly Nakadate’s, because similar sexual experience made Badasyan cry too:
I would go to [the park] every night and have sex with guys … until 5 o’clock [or] 6 o’clock in the morning. And I was always … I felt very bad, I was crying all the time. I am always sad after these kind of meetings.
Surveying his previous projects, Badasyan seems to focus on identity-based performance, addressing pornography consumption, body image and even the “Russian soul” in a rather basic way. Various quotes about the project spreading provocatively through the media paint a confused motive. For example, Badasyan says he is sad about the heterosexuals he sees as being cut out of all the new media-enabled cruising opportunities provided to gay men, but then he is also simultaneously sad about the hollowness of such experiences. His commitment is extreme, but his recontextualizing of a particular facet of a group’s everyday reality as performance for a general audience seems like neither a critique nor an investigation, more of a psychologically masochistic, personal feat. We’ll see how it plays out. (Image: Facebook)