Keeping it in the room: health, happiness and living in Berlin
An artist in Berlin has caused outrage by broadcasting messages received on Grindr onto a big screen, claiming it’s part of an ‘art performance’.
Parker Tilghman, a photographer who was approached by the artist and who called himself Dries on the app, said he turned up at the address he was given, only to find himself part of a performance, and that his entire conversation had been enlarged and projected onto a huge LED wall-panel of a converted shipping container.
‘I would not consider myself an angry or explosive person, but I lost it,’ said Tilghman. ‘I opened the trailer and lunged at him. I punched him. I screamed. I flipped a table.’
The artist, Dries Verhoeven, said through HAU Hebbel am Ufer – the agency which commissioned the work – that all the conversations he had were ‘rendered anonymous’, but that ‘in the case of one visitor who came to the container on 2 October, such altered images were still recognisable to those who knew him’.
They added that however controversial the work may be, which was supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Berlin, ‘[it’s] a relevant contribution to the question of how love, sex and desire has changed, and not only in the homosexual community, through the triumph of social media, and how the boundaries between digital and public space have been blurring.’
Tilghman, however, was not pacified, saying: ‘I screamed “how dare you, you are violating people’s lives, you are publicly mocking people and projecting the pictures and words onto a screen that an entire city block in one of the busiest parts of Kreuzberg for everyone to see”.’
In a Facebook post, he added that ‘gays require safe spaces to exist in’, and that by broadcasting his messages, the artist, who has not responded directly to the concerns, is violating that. ‘He is opening up that space for the sake of “art” and in doing so endangering people in the process,’ says Tilghman.
He concluded: ‘I do feel violated in a way that is impossible to fathom. That feeling of violation is devastating. It breaks off a part of your soul. My body wants to explode. I feel insane. He sent me a message later telling me he feels “so sorry”. Go fuck yourself, bro.’
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