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My desire is to be touched

Interactive Installation - 2016-2017. Matheus Montanari

The installation consists of a mattress on the floor, a tablet resting on it, and over the bed, there's a projection. In the Tablet, an application is running: at first a black screen with the sentence: "My desire is to be touched".  If the visitor touches the tablet screen, a montage of images from dating Apps and renaissance paintings of Adam and Eve is generated. Accompanying the montage, the sound of a mechanical and impersonal voice declaims confessions of desires collected anonymously in cyberspace. The moment the visitor interrupts the physical touch, the voice mutes, and the black screen with the initial sentence returns, waiting for the next contact.

Adam and Eve in paradise recognized and succumbed to the desire of the forbidden fruit. The moment they ate it, they realized they were naked and felt ashamed of their bodies, covering them up. Since then, we have a long history of cultural censorship of the body, explicit in the visual contents throughout art history, even in the representation of this biblical event. But more than that, what we can relate from history to our contemporaneity is the censorship of our desires.

Today, we have a different way of exploring some of these relationships. Our daily contact with computers enables us censored interactions, anonymous users with access to almost everything and everyone. In dating applications, there is a new relationship of censorship. It is no longer the genitalia that is hidden, but the faces. Without them, users feel safe and more willing to exploit their previously censored desires. The technology of representation has changed, from painting to digital photography, but the censorship of the body on the screen remains.

Dating applications are extremely popular, especially among the LGBT+ Brazilian community that living in one of the most LGBT+ phobic countries in the world, look for ways to develop relationships while preserving their safety. With the detachment allowed by anonymity, the user feels safer to explore aspects of themselves that are often censored in social life, however, the dating applications end up leaving the users deprived of an experience from which they crave: the touch.

In this sense, the installation proposes an interaction where the individual needs to sit or lie down in bed to reach the tablet connected to the socket. The bed is an intimate contact environment, with yourself and with the other, in addition, it is a place widely used by users of dating applications to exchange messages and photos. The interactors begin to talk with the words spoken by others who he does not know but that at that moment share a connection, revealing their wishes anonymously.

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