Dec 172015
 

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ALT TEXT

Hong Kong Ron

Another photo from my amazing Shibari bondage session here in Berlin. The whole new world of Art Nude photography beckons…

Ping – a text. Tamara! Our first contact since the bondage session she so masterfully set up.

Pics show u likd it. My man Ron & rigger more attentive to yr wellbeing than fcking artists yes? Overt & honest D/s. Fab.

I shoot off my answer.

Yes, very fab. Plannin return to UK. Yu still require live-in maid?

Bugger. Soz. Jus movd in wid sick father, ex astronaut, 86, Guernsey. Cancer, prognos 6 mths, cd b 2 yrs, he fights! I love my dad. Precious time. My needs 2nd place.

Despondent homeward tram-ride through Prenzlauerberg‘s autumnal September night. My evening booking has been in an old-established Wohngemeinschaft – a commune of anarchist artists with a fabled historical link to Bader-Meinhof – in a squatted former bread factory near Hackescher Markt. Their “studio” is the cellar – unheated, damp, gothic, mausoleum-esque – whose white-tiled vaulted caverns stretch labyrinthine under the railway…
    I turned blue with cold, but that lot were too up themselves to notice. I hate my life.

Aldi Supermarkt on the ground floor of Ilka’s building offers a procrastinatory distraction. I pick up the cheap Sonderangebot champagne – the cause of my belly’s repulsive bulge. Mentally I revisit the Cafe Dezember’s specially-equipped basement. Suspended on a handmade rope from the 19th century ceiling I slowly spin. Helpless. Ecstatic.
    Finally I drag myself up the stairs to Ilka’s apartment. To Ilka.

    ‘Shanghai?’
    ‘I’m sorry I ever came to Berlin.’
    ‘You’d stay with that weird photographer woman?…’
    ‘Be honest, Ilka: it hasn’t worked out. This second attempt.’
    ‘…the one who barely speaks!’
    ‘I’m not managing to write here.’
    ‘You don’t know anything about her…’
    ‘Bel and I get on very well. We made all those film shorts together.’
    ‘You think she’s got undiagnosed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.’
    ‘We’ve all got our issues. Look – I’m not doing anything here.’
    ‘You are! You’ve been modelling!’
    ‘I’m not writing.’
    ‘But you’ve only been here three months.’ Ilka pulls off her coat and hat, sets down her briefcase, slumps at the kitchen table. ‘You’d be running away again.’
    ‘I’m losing sight of my raison d’etre. It’s making me scared. And I’m getting fat.’
    Silence.
    ‘So anyway… I’ll be sleeping on the sofa tonight.’ I hate myself for upsetting her. ‘Want some champagne? There’s an opened one in the fridge.’

I realise I haven’t even acknowledged Bel’s text.

    SHANGHAI HERE I COME more details pls!


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Dec 102015
 

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ALT TEXT

Anton Büller

At my afternoon session in Prenzlauerberg, an obese artist paints me huge-bellied. Bastard – leaning over his grotesque gut to reach his canvas. But the artist beside him is worse, copying the drawing method of tediously mechanical Euan Uglow, who in turn honed his technique (according to a thing I read by Adrian Searle ) under the tutelage of equally anal William Coldsteam. These are guys who compute the information the eye receives in order to reproduce the human form with the technical precision of a surveyor’s plotlines. Passionless.

Come on a 3-month tourist visa in first instance, stay in this flat w/ me (uni campus) & write. I cn get you plenty cash-in-hand wrk as Art Nude photographic model, eg Shanghai Art Nude Grp. No more 2-hr poses in freezing Berlin cellars! Bel

I’m at the breakfast table, still in shock, re-reading Bel’s text. Shanghai!!! God, it would be amazing. And her promise of photographic work is uncanny, because one thing I realised in last night’s session is that contemporary Art Nude photography is not necessarily blokes photographing gorgeous birds naked. Was it ever?
    But… Bel. This weird photographer woman. She’s really nice but she barely speaks. We got friendly due to her project making fly-on-the-wall docu-movies of artists at work in life-rooms where I had bookings. But not that friendly… What do I know about her? Her website says she used to be a photo-journalist in places like Afghanistan, but that career seems to have abruptly ended. A bad experience? A nervous breakdown? I think she’s got Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or something. I once spotted her leaving my psychotherapist’s office as I was on my way in.
    And how old is she – fifty? Older? Early-retired? Her photography blog divulges nothing about family, hometown, partners, early life…
    Why invite me? Does she consider us close?

Hey – an email from Hong Kong Ron! You can view the photos from last night via Dropbox.    Dozens of images… I prop my iPad on the table for a good browse. Shifting aside Ilka’s current reading-matter, some words of an article by Susan Sontag (late partner of fantastic New York photographer Annie Leibowicz) leap out at me:

To photograph something is to appropriate it.’

Yawn. Feminist analysis is so single-track. Hong Kong Ron’s images are sensual, sexy; but that doesn’t mean he has ‘claimed ownership’ of me. There is texture, geometry, intricacy. They portray submission, trust, intimacy, ecstasy, pain, beauty. They are Art.

Why did Tamara set this up? She must still want me! I was the one who ended (by running off to Berlin) our brief flingette: a hedonistic riot of sex – her dominating, me submitting – and laughter, conducted in the windows her crazy schedule allowed. Tumultuous fun and pleasure – which is of course not sustainable in a long-term relationship.
    Or could it be?

Afternoon. My weekly session at the Volkshochschule. I get into pose, and into my head. First thought: why am I once again submitting myself to being mapped; turned into an architect’s plan? Whereas being photographed last night felt so sympathetic. That, too, was submission – to the rigger, and to the photographer. Yet the Master and Hong Kong Ron were humane towards me – to my body – in a way that many artists are not.
    But on to more pressing matters. I must urgently consider my three options:

1) stay in Berlin with Ilka. Get fatter. Get more depressed. Never have a laugh. Never write again.
2) Shanghai! Amazing… But I think Bel’s got issues, and I’m rubbish at dealing with mental health (scares me).
3) Return to UK. Write books living with Tamara. Let her dominate me, tell me what to do (I need that); make me shut up and listen (no mean feat), kneel at her feet, obey her… I love all that. Maybe “fun” really can be permanent!


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