‘My Florence Souvenir’ RSA John Kinross Scholarship
Venice, 2020 | Florence, 2018/19
My process in Florence began by visiting various art sites and using photography to document Renaissance pieces evoking the queer gaze. I soon found a connection between these images and the ones I had been seeing on the Grindr App in Florence. Some men choose to represent themselves with Renaissance masterpieces, instead of with the usual photos of their own bodies. I found this remarkable; an obvious avenue for furthering the conversation of the erotic ideal and its unique connection with queer culture and contemporary capitalism.
In order to illuminate these connections further, I used photoshop to overlay the photographs I had taken with designs reminiscent of the profiles I found on Grindr. By combining the art of the Renaissance and the current aesthetic of queer digital communication, I was able to create pieces exploring the legacy of the Classical erotic canon. For the culmination of my project, I printed postcards of my images in order to frame them as cruising souvenirs. In this way a parallel is drawn between the objectifying consumerism of social engagement apps and the ideal´s constant role in capitalism. I then placed these postcards at local souvenir shops throughout Florence´s city center in order to create a public performance of the work’s symbolic role in commerce.