A 38-year-old Dutch artist is currently living in a glass box in a popular Berlin square as part of a 15-day public performance art piece called “Wanna Play”, during which he’ll spend 100% of his time trying to make nonsexual connections on Grindr.
Dries Verhoeven tells HuffPo that he “aims to explore the potential powers and dangers of a site like Grindr, putting his life on display in the process.”
According to the interview, Verhoeven will live inside a glass container for 15 days with five smartphones, only making connection with the outside world via Grindr. The conversations he has will be projected on a large black screen for all to see, though the men on Grindr will have their faces blurred for privacy.
Verhoeven says his work will “replace the hunt for sex with the search for friendship and intimacy,” and that instead of having sex with the men he meets on Grindr, he’ll invite them to his glass box to play chess, have breakfast, and “shave one another,” among other nonsexual things.
He tells HuffPo:
“Grindr brought me more sex than ever before, but the app was untouched by any form of intimacy, we maintained a silent agreement that we could enact our porno fantasies on one another. I felt like a superficial illustration of myself, a man that could fulfill many sexual fantasies, but who rarely went to the movies with a stranger. I hadn’t brought anyone home to the family for Christmas in years. Grindr kept me from dealing with my single life. A feeble surrogate, but good enough not to feel lonely.
My dystopia was more about sex date apps coming to monopolize the daily lives of gay men. That our search for a deeper form of contact could only take place through this medium, like a darkroom in which men weren’t looking for sex, but were veiling their desire for love. I think something has gone wrong when gays trust each other enough to admit their desire to have a fist up their butts, but can no longer dare to invite one another to dinner.”
To learn more about Verhoeven’s “Wanna Play”, check out the artist’s page at Hebbel am Ufer Berlin.
To check out a live stream of Verhoeven’s performance, click here.
Photos via Hebbel am Ufer Berlin