THE HUMPING PACT

The Humping Pact
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THE HUMPING PACT



31 Wednesday 31st October 2012

Fuelled by the "suspended act of affirmative persistence and belief in the futile", the Humping Pact travels the world in search of unappreciated or disused manmade locations, with the aim of emphasising their beauty through video and photo stills. So far, so standard. What gives The Humping Pact its unique twist is that this emphasis is created through the layering of humping naked bodies. No, really. We talk to project founders Diego Agullo and Dmitry Paranyushkin about their thoughts on hentai, "fucking a space" and shooting on the moon.

How did the Humping Pact first come about? What inspired it?

We started the project in defunct Zollverein coalmines in Essen, Germany. It's a beautiful industrial complex, which used to produce, pump, transform, burn, and solidify earth matter – and the human body was integral to the whole operation. To be loyal to that space, we needed to put our own bodies in relation to it, to discover and express the inner potential contained within this amazing architectural structure.

There was also a previous interest in porn as a format to play with, to understand the logics of porn narration of 3D manga that uses loops. During that time, we had a residency in a dance studio, and were also interested in how one generates a body practice based on one's surroundings. 

Tell us about your creative process – how are the images put together?

All our videos and photo prints have only two people: we physically put ourselves in each part of the frame, and put the layers on top of each other. As friends who work together, it was an obvious (and practical) choice to use our own bodies. Multiplication and looping are the tools to reach the impossible – like a continuation of our humping intention into the medium of the moving image. Also, most of the structures we've chosen have been built by men and mainly operated by men; it makes sense to put a male body next to them.

The Humping Pact, Zollverein Coalmine (excerpt) from Dmitry Paranyushkin on Vimeo.

What influenced the decision to use the nude body as a medium? How does it relate to your aim to attract attention to the locations used in the shots?

We usually have sex without clothes, so it made sense this way. Also, most of the locations are bare, so it feels right to have bare human flesh next to them.

Tell us more about the 'humping' element behind the concept – what influenced you decide to explore these environments using such a sexualised dimension? 

Humping is simulating sexual activity repetitively at a certain level before climax is reached. This is a typical physical activity: just look at nightclubs or all those homemade porn videos. As a generation, we are all striving for some sort of climatic release – but because the current state of things doesn't allow this to happen too often, the symptoms find their release elsewhere. The Humping Pact is about exploring this condition in relation to space and time, and in relation to architecture, in the broadest sense of this word.

How do you decide on locations to shoot?

They should be beautiful, and have a lot of potential that is either hidden deep inside, lost, or waiting to burst out. We put a lot of care into preparation so that the actual intercourse happens in the smoothest and the most intense way possible.

You work on video installations and live performances in addition to still shot exhibitions. What format do you think creates the most visual impact, and why? 

All of them, in different ways. Video is a good medium to communicate something in time. This has a meditative impact, and it's a great medium for distribution. Photos allow us to capture the most intense moments and to carry them through the times when apocalyptic change switches off electricity supplies and erases all magnetic hard drive data. Live performance is a way of communicating the intention, interacting with our audience, and establishing a common body practice.

How do people typically receive the project? Have you ever had any negative reactions?

The way people see the project tells us a lot about them. There are those who watch the first ten seconds, see naked bodies fucking a space and think that they have it. There are those who watch it a bit longer and notice the small differences – the loops, multiplication – and that communicates totally different ideas. Finally, if somebody watches it for longer and really takes the time to use it as a medium of communication with the topics we are raising, then they probably get it in the way that's the most rewarding. We are happy about all these different levels of interpretation. If somebody's simply provoked, that's fine, and if someone thinks it's too gay, that's fine too. If someone ponders on the capacity of digitalised media to take over physical landscapes through conflating the time onto the intention, that's great as well. We welcome all the reactions; nothing is negative.

On a general level, what do you want people to take away from your art? 

We do not call it 'art'. What people take away from what we do is whatever they feel is important for them at that moment. Although the presence of polysingularity within the image and concept definitely tunes the audience's perception towards a certain kind of understanding, where several distinct interpretations become available - which are specific enough to contradict each other, but aware enough to connect on some global level and make sense of the whole thing.

 If money were no object, where would be your ultimate location for a Humping Pact ensemble?

The moon and the outer space – no gravity. We want to take The Humping Pact all over the world, and into virtual worlds that already exist out there. 

 

For more information on The Humping Pact's upcoming exhibitions, check out their site at humpingpact.com.

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