A burgeoning and shadowy art collective known as “Future Femme,” recently featured on Vice will be exhibiting a controversial art project in which four women competed to see who could get the most dick pics sent to them over the internet. The photos of the phalluses will be displayed in a small pop-up gallery space called Morgan Avenue Underground in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
What started as a lighthearted and bawdy joke among friends — after one of the artists received an unsolicited and surprising picture from an old college fling — quickly became a serious experimental performance piece, as the women diligently collected their photos. Interestingly, the artist who ended up winning the competition, created a fake profile on Grindr and Scruff.
While the other girls trolled OKCupid and Fetlife, this artist (whose name we were asked to keep anonymous due to the nature of the project) found that she could easily receive upwards of 10 pictures a day from gay social media hook-up apps with little to no effort.
The art project, while licentious and shocking, could certainly be thought of as an interesting exploration of gender, sexuality, and predation in the age of the internet. Or, conversely, it could be thought of as some horny girls having a laugh at the expense of men. Either way, the art piece is sure to start some much needed conversations about hook-up culture and the digital mating patterns of our fellow human beings.
Queerty chatted with the anonymous artist about her project.
Why did you use Grindr (and Scruff) for this project?
I used Grinder to collect my photos because I knew I would get results and still be able to remain completely anonymous. I didn’t have to deal with straight men trying to shock, date or harass me (though, admittedly, there were more than a few aggressive men on Grindr). I didn’t have to worry about men recognizing me IRL (there was just one occasion where the man who’s photo I used was recognized from Grindr and approached, but the person had never messaged me/him).
What was the difference between Scruff and Grindr? Did you like one better than the other?
I preferred getting photos on Scruff–Scruff’s interface let’s you save photos directly to your phone’s camera roll, I had to screenshot all of the photos I got on Grindr, and Grindr makes you crop all of your photos into squares so it was annoying, aesthetically, to have the black bars on the top and bottom of each photo. I couldn’t tell you whether I got more from one or the other, I wasn’t using the apps to try to get dates, I wasn’t trying to have conversations — I wanted to put in as little effort as possible to get the DPs. There was certainly more leather on Scruff though.
The project seems to be in a lot of grey area legally, and the Vice article mentioned you could face up to $1000 fines and a year in jail. Are you worried about this?
Yes and no. I’ve done everything I can to keep myself and the men whose photos I’ve received anonymous. I’m not trying to shame or make a mockery of any individual. I’m hoping that people will recognize that. Though, I am accepting donations for my bail (kidding [not kidding]).
What was the process of collecting the pictures like for you?
I started off very passive — the first 15 or so photos I received were from guys that just saw “Send me dick pics” on my profile, and just sent them (there was a guy that sent me 13 pictures of his dick without either of us ever saying one word to each other.) Once I was on the apps long enough, I figured out that there’s a right and wrong thing to say. I used variations of the same 6-8 words with everyone; by the end it was very automatic. I think people are drawn to this project because of some sort of “shock value,” but I don’t think dicks should be shocking.
How do you feel about winning the competition?
I knew I was going to win. There’s no prize or anything. I feel fine.
What do you think the results of the project reveal? Does your use of gay social media apps mean something specific?
As a queer woman, I don’t think I’m in any position to judge or comment on what I think my personal results “mean” about Grindr or gay-male culture or any sliver of the gay-male community. What I can say is that the other artists had to deal with and overcome heteronormative obstacles that I did not.