Karolina Sobel Photography

If you are Ok, I am Ok

The title “If You are Ok, I am Ok” comes from an event organized by queer collective kem in Warsaw. It refers to the notion of care: both for the other and for the self. Caring is a very vulnerable and fragile, often invisible notion. It invokes concepts of intimacy, closeness and communication with others. Care embodies the essence of personal disclosure. Building a relationship requires mutual energy and honesty in order to find yourself settled in at identity of the other, without losing your own identity at the same time. Care symbolizes the desire to take care of the other person and their body. Care is prioritizing the relationship, and taking care of the future. Care is providing a sacred space where we can be ourselves. Caring for someone is as important as caring about future significant matters. Care is that one element of love, next to passion and commitment, which describes other dimensions such as respect, comprehension and sympathy. Care is often expressed through showing affection such as physical touch and can be a barometer of relationships. However it is only the everyday events that construct the texture of care and on a longer term could bring slow and deeper social change. How subversive can the nonheteronormative lifestyles be in everyday life? What norms do young LGBTQ generation want to use to describe themselves with? Is personal life still private, and to what extent? If sexuality is flexible, then who needs sexes and genders anymore? My subjective gaze followed the minority of LGBTQ people in Warsaw, who are still faced with problems of homophobia and exclusion. This project examines the queer identity whilst also questioning social norms in the Polish society. The queer identities are explored through the depictions of intimate portraits and fragmentary scenes of the city. I consider the human body in comparison to the body of the city and nature. The photographs are materialized on ephemera textile such as veil or organic poster print and wallpapers. The research on the topic of visual self representation is depicted in a magazine format and by video piece. The magazine includes covers of Filo, a first magazine for gay men in Poland. In the video a performer touches her body in a slow motion sequence, expressing the disagreement for the ruling regime of social norms. The exhibition space is permeated by female voices reading fragments of Caroline Emcke’s autobiography “How do we desire” (2012).

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