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CULTURE
The Humping Pact
Greco-Roman orgies meet 21st century urban exploration to expose overlooked creative spaces
by Gaspard Nemec
on 22 October 2012
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Artistic works addressing the relationship between the human body and its environment are not a new concept. The Berlin-based duo behind "The Humping Pact" fit into this tradition while establishing new methods to distinguish itself from past attempts. Combining contemporary trends with Greco-Roman aesthetics, "The Humping Pact" stands somewhere in between Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel and Yayoi Kusama's 1970s public orgies.

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The cross-platform project, developed by Diego Agullo and Dmitry Paranyushkin, aims to redeem under-appreciated locations by conflating live choreographic performances with photography and video documentation, accessible online or at their exhibitions. As an homage to these places and a desire to rethink their utility, the twosome simulate sexual acts with the actual physical location. Performances are shot multiple times from the exact same angle while the naked artists' positions change. The takes are subsequently edited in order to be assembled and looped, resulting in video or photographic pieces featuring scenes of nature-human orgies in cities such as Brussels, Berlin, Copenhagen, Liepaja, Vienna and Frankfurt.

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The project stems from the broader initiative, "Transnomia," which aims to exploit the creative potential of the unstable nature of transitionary periods. The initiative includes a series of larger intellectual concepts ranging from venture fiction to polysingularity. The concept is as wholly unique as it is standardized. Each architectural space provides the pair with potential for a new entrepreneurial approach and Utopian dimension, yet the visual composition of bodies, the looped takes and the repetitive humping are present at each location.

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Agullo and Paranyushkin first initiated their curious collaboration during a residency program at PACT Zollverein center for performance and choreography in 2010. Before coming together, Agullo studied philosophy in Madrid and Paranyushkin studied economics at Moscow State University and theatre and choreography at Dartington College of Arts. In addition to the Humping Pact, they have conducted various projects at the crossroads of education, academic research, and artistic performances, such as Noduslab or ThisIsLike. Transnomia’s consulting services were commissioned by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Finances in March 2012 for the administration of governance in the context of the current economic crisis.

In addition to its technical performance and conceptual approach, the Humping Pact project is also intriguing for its capacity to introduce sex while simultaneously avoiding it. If the sexual character of the performance is obvious, it is indeed contrasted by the asexual nature of the locations. The interrelation between the intellectual concept and its quirky implementation also illustrates the artists' contrasted method. As complex and intellectual as their approach sounds, the implementation of the Humping Pact actually demonstrates irony and self-derision, therefore reversing the heavily intellectualized premises.

"The Humping Pact" is now on show as part of the "I Fail Good" exhibition at Beursschouwburg in Brussels, through 24 November 2012.

Images copyright Liudmila Savelieva for "The Humping Pact"

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