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Sebastian Abugattas

MA work

Do You Want Me to Come?

My current research is focused around the politics of cruising today. What is the current state of cruising in the gay community nowadays? Cruising spots are disappearing around cities and this is a trend that extends to all LGBTQI+ places. The recent relative acceptance of the community, normalisation and the growing use of online dating platforms, means you don't have to use secret places to be able to meet other people like you. But what happens with these spaces behind the undergrowth and who uses them now? My current project visits these traditional cruising parks in the city of London and examines their social activity, to see if they remain a place of revolution or whether they have become something else.

To me the cruising space is the ultimate space, a space that not only exists in our community’s memory, but it also exists in real life. A space that is still resisting against the powers of normalisation and oppression. Furthermore, we can start seeing the cruising grounds as a Heterotopic space. These are spaces within spaces, they mirror reality; but at the same time, heterotopias are spaces that transform. A space that is full of contradictions, that accepts but also rejects. Similar to this idea is the one of the Third Space, a space where everything comes together and every individual acts as hybrid. Where the space can become an idyllic space where change and revolution still happens.

The silver gelatine prints have a sculptural quality, they are left to dry on their own and allowed to take the shape they want. Colour dyes are used to turn the portrait of a place into a more poetic one, almost bucolic. These are set against black and white high contrast prints, sometimes the use of other techniques like bleaching and coating with gelatine are used to accentuate the material and sculptural quality of the prints. The aesthetic roughness of the cruising space is translated into the sculptural intervention of the print.

A question that I am constantly trying to answer with my practice is, how does the changing politics of our own community, change the way we interact and the way we cruise? And also, how does the effect of normalisation erode the cruising grounds and social cleansing affects parks. This is a project that celebrates difference and it’s against normalisation.

Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Arts & Humanities

    Programme

    MA Photography, 2019

  • Degrees

  • BA Photography, Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City, 2011; Philosophy, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2009
  • Exhibitions

  • 'Bucolics', LimaPhoto, Lima, 2014; 'Occupied Space', SUM Gallery, Lima, 2012
  • Publications

  • 'Rest', self-published photobook, 2014