Saturday, 3 March 2012

Chad States: Cruising For Sex

I can't believe I've missed this project prior to today. Flavorwire reports on a fascinating art project and book focusing on the public sex as a visual performance.

The site notes that 'for Philadelphia-based photographer Chad States, whose work we spotted thanks to Feature Shoot, taking snapshots of guys cruising for anonymous sex in state parks wasn’t about passing judgement or navel gazing. Instead, his photos are a celebration of a part of gay culture that he says has been killed by the Internet, and “the sexual intimacy, however fleeting, that happens there.”'

Read the full story and check out some pictures here.  The book can be purchased from the US publisher here, and Brits can buy the book from Amazon (I've just ordered it) here.

I don't accept the assertion that the Internet is killing cruising, but it's certainly contribution to the decline of public sex but other factors - park management, policing, the extension of normative frameworks, legal equality moves and so on have had as much impact, if not more so, than the emergence of Gaydar, Grindr, Manhunt and the rest.  This project is important for capturing something of the visual experience of cruising - crucially doing so in the daylight - which probably skews the history of cruising.  I'll ponder more once I've had the pleasure of looking at this collection.

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