If you had to explain kissing to a group of extraterrestrials, how would you do it? I tried to answer this question with my partner Barnaby, in the film “Ways of Kissing.” Of course, there are infinite kissing styles, but I hope we’ve thought of some variations you haven’t tried.
Kissing could be described as an intuitive, performance collaboration. In my culture, kissing is the limit of physical sexuality accepted in public spaces. We might disagree on how to appropriately kiss in public, but we all understand that anything beyond kissing is crossing the line. Our film asks the viewer to consider how much physical intimacy they are comfortable permitting in the public sphere. Some will find this footage tender, others will find it humorous, and to some it may be deeply uncomfortable.
‘Ways of Kissing” was inspired by a similar project from the 1967, by the British artist Bruce Lacey, who was a pioneer of performance art. In Lacey’s film, “Kissing,” he and his partner Jill Smith perform a nine minute kiss for the camera. I was moved when I saw this piece, and inspired to explore how many ways my partner and I could touch our faces together to create a kiss. Both my film, and the original inspiration by Lacey, confirm that everyday actions hold artistic potential. This sentiment is congruent with the core values of the fluxes artists, who were contemporary of Bruce Lacey.
Emotional trust and love was required for Barnaby and I to make this film. Perhaps, human intimacy is actually the true artwork that we are sharing with you. In the words of George Maciunas in his 1963 “Manifesto,” the goal of Fluxus is to “promote living art, anti-art, promote non-art reality to be grasped by all peoples, not only critics, dilettantes, and professionals.” When we see kissing as art, we understand that each of us is an artist who creates their own expression of intimacy.
"Ways of Kissing" premiered yesterday at the Echofluxx17 festival in Prague. This annual event celebrates experimental film, music and dance in the Fluxus lineage.