@PROJETO VIDA PRIVADA
Much more than
"pictures in the bathroom".
"The artistic language has almost an obligation to cause discomfort in the individual, to place him in a new somewhere, to exist as a space for dialogue within the process of understanding."
There is a set of concepts associated with the image of a bathroom. These concepts circulate between eschatology and eroticism. But, as a journalist specialized in architecture and decoration, I saw the expansion of a third axis on the pages of magazines. The axis of well-being. Only through this new function, the bathrooms were able to enter the photo galleries of the most elegant reports. Still, it remained a taboo: images with a toilet were not welcome.
When I became the presenter of TV CASACOR, this observation took on new shapes. The biggest sponsor of the event is precisely a manufacturer of toilets and metals, DECA. Instagram was beginning to be used as the platform for the image, but in photo sharing, the bathrooms were never given prominence. So, the epiphany: at CASACOR 2015, among the functional bathrooms (those that people can actually use), one of them was a "bar toilet". Half light, graffiti in the walls, no luxury at all. Project by Guto Requena. Although his concept was stupendous - in the whole project - I was amused by the public's upset comments. There was a dissonance between the elegant dresses and that place. And I believe that a good part of those who were bothered by the space could have passed directly through it, without taking it in memory of their discomforts. But ... it was a functional toilet. Those who needed to use the bathroom did not have much freedom of choice in that section of the visitation circuit.
@projetovidaprivada was born in this moment.
It was born out of a need to prolong the feeling of strangeness and discomfort.
I took a picture with my dress - elegant - in the bar bathroom. And I posted because I wanted to force everyone's eyes to a context full of dissonance.
"Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers handcuffs that limit our vision."
Only negative comments ...
The advantage of developing a project on social network platforms is to know, immediately, the reaction of those who observe you. And the reactions were, in general, very negative. Which, of course, made my interest in the subject grow a lot. I received countless pictures of people sitting on the toilet, as a joke. I received nudes. I received dating proposals. I received advices such as "Look ... this can be bad to your image".
Now that you have seen some of my photos, try to transfer my postures and the drawings made with my body to another environment. A bedroom, a living room or a kitchen. Do you think it would also be "detrimental to my image or career?" This is the question that most encouraged me to continue.
I continued with a lot of research. And they had two paths: 1) I looked for references of images with body expressions that could cause strangeness. (I've been practicing yoga since 1991 - it helped me a lot). My assistant, Júlia Martinez, in the time, collaborated a lot with her look of a photographer tuned to that purpose. 2) I also researched a bibliography that made me understand semiotics and sign interpretation. I also needed references that would lead me to unveil the private as an individual need (since that was my body exposed in a network). And - as a slutty trick - friends started to send me articles about bathroom history, personal hygiene and basic necessities. They hardly know how important this was.
"What if art has a purpose that can be defined and addressed in simple terms? It can be an instrument. And we need to observe what kind of instrument this is - and what it can bring us."
Alain de Botton
PHASE 1: mysteries of creativity
PHASE 1 of @projetovidaprivada, on Instagram, has about 300 photos. In all of them, I do different performances in the bathrooms. Almost all of these photos were taken during my recording breaks, during the coverage of TV CASACOR. I had no more than half an hour to dedicate myself to each one. Limiting time and resources was my main trigger for creativity. I had a theme (bathroom) and an obligation: to find the angle from which it was possible to see the toilet. Countless times, I came across beautiful architectural bathrooms, but without enough indentation for a photo in which the toilet could appear. I had no possibility of taking special cloths or costumes. Therefore, I used the elements that were in the palce.
As the project developed, criticism subsided. And I started receiving messages from architects asking if I was interested in making myself photographed in a bathroom of their own. On some of the trips, I was surprised by costumes taken by the professionals themselves: a wedding dress, a ballerina outfit and a belly dance outfit. Architects were the first to understand the project - this is undoubtedly due to a greater exposure of the category to the universe of the arts, in general, and forms, in particular. I also noticed that my images started to reach plastic artists outside Brazil.
Contacts via Instagram's Direct Message became more frequent. Artists and architects do not question my photos. But the small part (really small) of my followers that is not connected to these areas still asks a lot why I use the bathroom as a setting. Explaining, exemplifying and talking about it became part of my daily life.
And it helped me build the PHASE 2 of that story.
Talking about bathrooms or creative processes has become a delightful routine. And I understood that the perception of the images goes through the receiver's history. This gave rise to a timid desire to reverse roles. I wanted to be the receiver of the other's photo. I wanted the others to put themself within my risks and make themself photographed. A pandemic moment gave shape to this desire.
PHASE 2 of @projetovidaprivada is much more ambitious and difficult than PHASE 1. I receive photos of people in their homes, in their bathrooms. Each participant plays a character who lives, in the period of social isolation, his fears, his anxieties, his discoveries, his impulses and, in some cases, his spark of happiness and reconnection with home. The basis remains irony - an irony in relation to the body, in relation to disgust feelings, in relation to desires. The main difficulty is the form of expression. Understanding what differentiates a banal image and an image with multiple layers of messages has been my quest. Once again, plastic artists and architects help me along the way, but it is the public not necessarily linked to the arts that points out an interesting path and enjoys, with the grace of discovery, the bathroom as a scenic stage.
PHASE 2 photos are published in the Stories of the profile @projetovidaprivada. They are also in the highlights so you can find them later.
The sky is the limit for this project. PARTICIPATE .
"But then the bathroom thing happened.
My patients, isolated at home, had to find a place where no one could hear them for our therapy sessions. Sometimes they found privacy in the bedroom, in a closet or in the car, but it is almost always in a bathroom, with my patient sitting on the toilet while we talk. "
Lori Gottlieb, psychotherapist, columnist for The New York Times