R.I.P., 2013-17

R.I.P. (Rest In Porn) began as a response to suicides by three prominent gay porn actors:
Dror Barak, death from suicide on February 23, 2012, aged 38
Arpad Miklos, death from suicide on February 3, 2013, aged 45
Wilfried Knight, death from suicide on March 5, 2013, aged 38

I did not know Barak, Miklos or Knight, but I know what each one looked like having sex. At the time of their deaths I scanned through their Twitter profiles and furtively read every article I could find to try to understand their suicides, in vain. I gained little from reading anonymous comments berating the dead men with all-too-simple cause and effect explanations of their deaths. Now, years later, folks on tumblr occasionally still repost images of the three hirsute gods, mostly with no acknowledgment of their deaths. The mental image of countless men wanking to images of dead men fucking stays with me. Immortal hard-ons and cum shots for all eternity.

Working on this series forces me to admit publicly that I am a consumer of porn. The initial work was exhibited in 2013 in All Men Are Kunst, curated by Douglas McManus, and even then I questioned whether the work was a disingenuous attempt to legitimise my porn consumption through art and quasi-academic pondering. Yet it would have been inauthentic for me not to deal with something that keeps haunting me. The deaths of these men by suicide and the callous response by some in the gay community urged me to speak. It continues to be important for me to acknowledge these men as more than their perfect physical manifestations, as more than images, as men with the same fears, hopes and dreams that we all have, as vulnerable human beings. Dror, Arpad and Wilfried, we remember you.