LIFE IS GOOD, SHARE IT
Second day of SHARE Conference in Belgrade took place yesterday 27.04. in space of Dom Omladine. I was there around 18h, but unfortunately I didn’t hear entire lecture of young American George Hotz. Amphitheater was crowded and there wasn’t any free seats, so lot of people were standing. George Hotz is hacker superstar, 22 years old, and that’s younger than me, but very successful. He invented Jailbreak for iPhone and iPad. Hotz was the only person to hack Playstation 3, which resulted in months-long lawsuit against him by Sony. After both parties reached an agreement in the case. He worked for Social Network Facebook for a while. He was talking about technology and how He hacked Playstation 3 and got sued by Sony. This guy is very fun, entertaining and intelligent. Very good lecturer. In one moment He said that He doesn’t need to be that much official and then He performed His rep song. Got couple of loud applause from auditorium. As George said the human brain is the most sophisticated thing in the entire universe, all the things that exist are made by humans, actually human brain. Programs, Softwares, Machines…Who made brain, We don’t know maybe Aliens, God, Evolution. But, one thing is sure that humans are developing technology every day and it’s getting more evolving and complex . Technology development will go further and further over the next years, making expansive effects on human lives. We can ask Ourselves Do we make Technology or Technology makes Us? Which is same with culture. Do We make Culture or Culture makes us?
In 18 o’ clock Slava Mogutin started lecture. Slava Mogutin is a New York-based Russian-American artist, who works across photography, video, text, performance, sculpture, and painting. Born in the industrial city of Kemerovo, Siberia, he moved to Moscow at age 14. He soon began working as a journalist and editor for the first independent Russian newspapers, publishers and radio stations. By the age of 21, he had gained both critical acclaim and official condemnation for his outspoken queer writings and activism. Charged with “open and deliberate contempt for generally accepted moral norms,” “malicious hooliganism with exceptional cynicism and extreme insolence,” “inflaming social, national, and religious division,” “propaganda of brutal violence, psychic pathology, and sexual perversions”—he became the target of two highly publicized criminal cases, carrying a potential prison sentence of up to seven years. In April 1994, Mogutin attempted to register officially the first same-sex marriage in Russia with his then-partner, American artist Robert Filippini. The attempt made headlines around the world, but only further fueled his persecution by the authorities.Forced to leave Russia in March 1995, he was granted political asylum in the U.S. with the support of Amnesty International and PEN American Center, among other prominent human rights groups.
Upon his arrival in New York, Mogutin shifted his focus to visual art and started using his nickname Slava—”glory” or “fame” in Russian—as his artist name. Informed by his bicultural literary and dissident background, as well as his extensive travels around the world, the themes of his work encompass urban youth subcultures and adolescent sexuality; the clash of social norms and individual desires; transgressive, radical expressions of masculinity and gender crossover; cultural alienation and political discontent; the tension between attachment and loneliness, violence and love. Since 1999, Mogutin’s photography and multimedia work have been exhibited internationally, including MoMA PS1 and Museum of Arts and Design in New York; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco; Station Museum of Contemporary Art in Houston; Moscow Museum of Modern Art; Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney; Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam; Overgaden Institute of Contemporary Art in Copenhagen; Estonian KUMU Art Museum in Tallinn; The Haifa Museum of Art in Israel; and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC) in Spain (Bio taken from Mogutin’s blog http://slavamogutin.squarespace.com).
To be frank I never heard about this guy before. But, after His lecture I checked out His blog and I think it’s awesome. I love SM. Slava told Us that this is His first time in Balkans and explained His work and lifestory. Russia is very Orthodox conservative state where Homosexuality was considered a crime until 1994., today is still considered an illness. Being guy or even bisexual in Russia and here in Serbia it’s not easy at all, especially if One is openly gay. Belgrade is trying to get more gay friendly last couple of years and I hope it will make it. Slava’s appearance on SHARE Conference and His personal story are good signs that things for LGBT population are getting better in this part of the world. Slava Mogutin is guy who literary lives His art. I appreciate that He is not some kind of poseur artist as many are today. As He told Us, He had three lives: one in Russia, second as dissident in USA and the last one as American citizen in USA. He said in artist statement:
Coming from a conservative and oppressive Soviet background, I’m trying to examine the very concept of ‘shame’ by being completely ‘shameless.’
I’m a voyeur, a retired exhibitionist. I enjoy documenting people in intimate, vulnerable situations. This way I can much better capture their true selves. The personal connection with my subjects is essential to my work, and I’d never ask them to do something that I wouldn’t have done myself.I look for a primal beauty and innocence in unconventional and often explicit scenes that might be considered ‘obscene,’ ‘shocking,’ or ‘perverse’—like a guy sniffing another guy’s armpit, a boy with a cucumber up his ass, or German skinheads spitting and pissing on each other…The point is, my subjects must be totally comfortable with me and my camera in order for me to photograph them. It’s about collaboration in a very broad sense. It’s about mutual trust and compassion. It’s about love and beauty in different shapes and forms. It’s about search for a new language and sensibility.I find these kinds of scenes totally engaging and inspiring, and I don’t need anyone’s moral approval of my work. As Rimbaud once proclaimed, ‘Morality is a type of brain disease!’ I’ve always enjoyed breaking taboos and stereotypes. I think that’s what real art is about, and I’ve paid my dues for expressing myself in the most radical and honest way.
Lost Boys/Cadets of the Suvorov Academy, Moscow, 2000
Lost boys/Anton (Roof cock2), Moscow, 2000
No love/Mickey Mouse (Sophia & Boys), New York City, 2003
Self Portrait/ Photo booth self-portrait (Harness), San Francisco, 1999
Artist: Slava Mogutin