The Persistence Of Plastic - The Selfies
Project info

I love plastic! Plastic is immortal because it does not decay. How ever, I do. In 2012.09.27 I was hospitalized being very ill. The diagnose was full-blown AIDS.

I spent two weeks in halluzinations caused by the fever and shock. When I returned to my senses I had to realize that my life had irreversibly changed: I was HIV-positive and had a serious pneumonia. I stared death in the eyes for months. Eventually my AIDS was cured by medication. I survived and the doctors reminded me that I was lucky.

Anyhow, I had to pay a high price for my luck. AIDS brought me a cancer called Kaposi’s Sarcoma that causes red cancer lesions on the skin. They covered my body from head to toe. It has been over four years since but all the lesions on my have not yet faded.

My document about Kaposi’s Sarcoma is internationally unique and unseen artwork, I believe. The reason is that the artists during the AIDS crisis in 1980’s-90’s simply died before they got to reflect their sickness in their art. Other reason is that nowadays the condition is very rare at least in the Western world.

The reason I got sick was that I had not taken on hiv-test for over ten years. I had fallen to some internet false media claiming that hiv does not actually exist. This stupidity almost killed me. You can imagine the amount of shame I felt after having faced myself completely naked.

Shame kills life. I was down that path too. I had done things that were considered shameful and I could see the marks of those actions on my skin every time I looked at myself. As a member of sexual minority I had been ashamed of things that one should not be ashamed of. However, the more often and more openly I looked at myself I learned acceptance. I learned to accept that I had acted very stupid and that this is who I am. I also learned that the only way to get rid of the shame is to talk about it openly.

People live in shame all the time for big or small things when they should just face themselves and ease the burden. We have to take off the masks we are wearing. Life is here and now and you have to live it fully without shame, smiling, in order to make it worth living.

Also plastic causes shame. As one major factor in the pollution crisis plastic causes very negative associations in people. I love plastic! The Persistence Of Plastic is a series of photographs about life and death and it’s marks and traces.

I have taken all the pictures with my mobile phone camera except one shot. The pictures are selfies that the plastic objects would take of themselves smiling wide! The picture quality can be horrible as in larger prints you can see the pixels that are like cells that create a living dead organism, the photograph. The digital processing is also harsh: in my self-portraits it is as if I was torn off to the stage. Yet this is how it has to be because life is harsh. It tears you apart and after that it laughs at you. But when I am at my best I am right there and laugh with it!

"Selfies" -series is taken from the body of work "The Persistence Of Plastic.