In Brian De Palma’s Dressed to Kill (1980), Kate (Angie Dickinson) goes to a museum, sits down and looks at a painting of a woman who returns her gaze. The viewer and the viewed caught cruising one another. Kate alternates between looking at this painting and another of a large baboon, who also stares at her. Such are the spectatorial gaze relations of paintings and people who look at them. At times Kate is distracted by people who move throughout the gallery. At other times she takes down some notes - some kind of shopping list and nothing to do with her experience of the paintings. A man with sexy sunglasses sits down and they begin an elaborate game of alternating between looking at each other and the art. Eventually they fuck. Soon after she is killed.
This has to be one of my all time favourite art scenes from a film because it illustrates the complex power relations enacted in places where spectatorship is encouraged, indeed expected. Galleries and museums are places where we look, and what better joy do we get from pretending to be absorbed in the art, when we're really checking out someone's arse. Something about art must make people horny.
You can imagine my excitement upon encountering Spacedating, a new concept in gallery sitting at artist run spaces in Sydney. I encountered Spacedating quite randomly on YouTube and to find out more watch the video posted below (which is cleverly constructed using the scenes I described from Dressed to Kill). After searching for more info about Spacedating online, I discovered that young artist Grzegorz Gawronski seems to be behind it all. Basically we all know minding galleries can be tedious and boring. But that can be remedied by joining a Spacedating database comprised of students from Sydney art schools. Next time you mind a gallery, ensure you participate in 'spacedating' a peer listed at the database. Nothing beats an afternoon fuck in a white cube. Except maybe a good old fashioned blow job in a (pre-digital) photo dark room.
Much like porn can be defined by the paradigm shift of the condom (i.e. rubber or pre-rubber) art sex is defined by whether we do it in digital or pre-digital spaces. Based on data or databased. You decide.