What started out as a flippant idea has become a deep exploration into the male psyche.
W-hole is a journey into the hidden, the secret, the unexposed, the taboo. In this project a very vulnerable, hidden and soft spot of the anatomy – the arsehole. It has been chosen to explore male constructs around identity, sexuality and the ownership society creates around the body.
The arsehole is the gateway between inner and outer worlds. It’s a very personal place that may or may not have been awakened sexually.
Yet the arsehole is a space that has been heavily colonised by religion, society, culture, family and the law. It is for these reasons that it is a rich source to investigate. It evokes strong reactions, prejudices, fears and passions.
I have been unprepared for the powerful taboo this area of the anatomy still holds in all aspects of society, even in a seemingly liberal arts environment. It is still a no go area in the industrialised 21st century.
We engage daily with our anus as we deal with our bodily waste. Yet in Western culture so much shame is involved with this activity – it is no suprise our world is so polluted – we don’t want to deal with our own waste.
Visually the anus is unknown. It’s difficult to see your own arsehole and it hasn’t been over-exposed in media or porn. This makes it a fresh terrain to play with people’s perceptions.
The men in this project, although anonymous, are regarded as collaborators. It takes courage to spread your legs and open yourself up (something usually expected of women). These men were brave enough to expose their posterior before the scrutiny of the lens for posterity. The text and spoken words are straight from the male participants. They were asked to describe their relationship to their arseholes and express how it felt to be photographed and filmed. The responses are fascinating, I could never have predicted the delicate nuances and surprising variety.
The men represented here in this exhibition have my most profound new-found admiration. For me the real adventurers embark on inner journeys. Finally now the w-hole picture may be presented.
W-hole screened at:
Out in Africa - The South African Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in 2008
and at Festival de Cinema Douarnenez France 2011