Inside out

Maria. 2019

The room is getting darker. The softness of the sheets hung behind her lets through the dimmest soft light. She’s moving her naked body slowly and silently, creating blurred shapes on the camera display. Her images look ethereal and beautiful, with a sense of quiet joy and contentment.

In some of the images you could barely make out the shape of her body and recognise the body parts. Is she about to come into focus or is she fading into the background? Yet she doesn’t seem to be coming or going. She seems to be dancing, but not for an audience. She seems to be performing yet completely unaware of any observers. What’s her story?

In front of the camera, there is a trance-liked quality to the way she moves, slow, fluid, no intention or meaning. Is there music? Or is there just silence. Neither of us makes a sound. As if we are in a shared trance, as if air has a comforting viscosity to it, allowing time to pass through slower than usual. There is no feeling of coldness or warmth, no discomfort or tension. There is no noticeable sensation. Even the boundary between the self and the other seems to fade. Hence there is no need for communication.

By that point the consciousness of nakedness has all but melted into the distance. It is not that nakedness is a natural state of being. No it’s not as simple as that. It is a process of slow transformation.

There would have been a slight shock at the beginning, breaking down the social norm, providing a novel context to the interactions between the photographer and the photographed. But the shock was only mild, like opening the window to let cool air in, but the skin was quick to adjust to the temperature, because there was a purpose to this construct. The camera was the device that gave meaning to this context.

But the presence of the camera didn’t stay in the space for long. Soon the meaning of the context, too, starts to dissipate. Before long more concrete shapes and concepts start to become blurry, abstract, turning into something all the more simple. Perhaps being naked isn’t a state of being but an active progress, a process of dissolving insecurities, self-consciousness, social norms, liberating what’s inside. She’s occupying the space, her limbs stretched in every direction intuition takes her. She seems completely free and at ease now, as if this is precisely what she’s always meant to look like.

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