Sun and Steel: Homage to Mishima

Technical design and programming: David Crossan.

An interactive installation. Moving static images are projected onto the gallery walls, activated by the movement of viewers, with a (non-interactive) soundtrack.

Sun and Steel: Homage to Mishima is inspired by Yukio Mishima’s autobiographical essay, a memoir of the author's relationship to his body. Aware that his sedentary life-style of a writer cramped and stultified his body, Mishima sought an antidote in the disciple of bodybuilding and martial arts training. Transferring his ideas to my own introduction to gym exercise I was struck by the homoerotic subtext as I observed men striving for the “body-beautiful”. Men posed and preened in front of mirrors, admiring their results of their body-sculpturing. But the exercise was strenuous, demanding great effort. Grunts, puffs, and, most particularly, explosive triumphant cries put me in mind, somewhat embarrassingly, of sexual exertion towards orgasm. Certainly Mishma, one of literature’s gay icons, must have been aware of, and excited by, this association.

Sun and Steel exposes this relationship. A muscular male model heaves weights. His cries mix with the crash of steel. His movements were video-taped. The video playback was then shot in camera with Kodak vericolour film. The rate of video playback was manipulated, sometimes frozen-frame, sometimes advanced by degrees. The single negatives were then reshot, to produce positive images of intense blue and white, stark, brutish almost.

Model: Mala