Sick Bacchus: A Grindr Love Story
Large Format Photography | Framed Video | Digital Photography
A Social Media “Vanitas Selfie”
An aesthetic investigation tracing the potential consequences of Grindr, as the geosocial networking technology accentuates and accelerates the struggles with disease and drug abuse already inherent in contemporary gay and bisexual communities.
Caravaggio himself was a homosexual, and in 1593 when he painted his self-portrait as Young Sick Bacchus, he was ill and jaundiced from syphilis.
Pushing the allegory further, the model featured in this piece personally watched his first love contract HIV soon after their separation through excessive and careless drug-fueled hookups enabled by this social media technology.
HD Video and Digital Print Installation at
the University of Texas Visual Arts Center:
From Daily Xtra’s Twenty Questions for Grindr Creator Joel Simkhai:
“Xtra: Can you explain what the name and logo are about?Simkhai: The word Grindr comes from a coffee grinder. We’re mixing people up together, a bit of a social stew. It is a little bit rough – not to mix, but to grind. Our design, logo, colouring – we wanted something a little bit tougher, rough. It’s also very masculine. It’s a masculine word, sound. We wanted something that wasn’t necessarily about being gay. It could be anything. We looked at this notion of meeting people and the idea is very much a basic human need to relax and to socialize. I went back to primitive tribal arts in Africa and Polynesia. One of the things I saw was these primal masks. It brings us back to basics, primal needs. Socialization is the basis of humanity.”
Make-up by the talented Ashley Hancock: ashleyraehancock.com
Video Editing by Clayton Smith Westmeier