One might say a darkroom resembles the second circle of Dante’s Inferno. In there casted are those overcome by lust. Alighieri condemns these “carnal malefactors” for letting their appetites sway their reason. They are the first ones to be truly punished. These souls are blown about to and fro by the terrible winds of a violent storm, without hope of rest. This symbolizes the power of lust to blow one about needlessly and aimlessly. But there’s nothing wrong with “the power of lust to blow”. In fact the darkroom is a space of freedom for sexual degenerates, an area of classless race for pleasure. A safe haven where kinky desires flourish. He might be fat and he might be less than handsome. What difference does it make? It’s pitch black anyway. All you need to do is use your cerebral cortex and make him be the way you want him to be. Men are nothing more than blurry visions obscured by cultural norms.

The artists of HUNG are lifting this oppressive curtain and allow us to gaze with their eyes at the normative product of the modern society – The Man. Their point of view appears to be rather ironic and iconoclastic. The images of HUNG men are utterly personal statements of its authors and as such become self-portraits. Because today the male gaze in no longer a penetrating look of patriarchal violence. Today it is a gaze of The Narcissist.

Narcissism is the personality quality that consists in attending overwhelmingly to one’s own needs and desires. The narcissists loom up the other side of the huge inflated self, as facilitators or inhibitors of the self’s projects. It is usually convenient for the narcissist to project onto these half-real others motives and desires that suit the self, rather than to inquire about the real other’s actual needs. For the narcissist, other people exist, in a shadowy way, but they are not fully real. Just as not fully real are the men of HUNG. Remember Immanuel Kant? The old koenigsbergian thought that all human beings become narcissists when having sexual relations. And what the hell is wrong with that? So remove your clothes and blink your narcissist eye, it’s good to be a carnal malefactor.

© 2010 Lukasz M. Maciejewski