Trygve Skogrand

The breaking of taboos

Today when I was strolling along the streets of Queer Berlin, I realised I thought wrong yesterday. Or at least not far enough. In yesterday’s post about painting the past in a pink haze, I mulled about my reactions to the more sex-based offers in this gay part of town. I then classified my reactions as prejudice, implying that I have prejudices about my own kind — homosexuals. Which leaves me with prejudice about myself. Well, of course I have that, as I am part of a society that harbours such feelings. And I strive to grow out of these prejudices as well as I can.

But what I felt yesterday when first encountering these overt expressions of gay sexuality was something else: It was shame you feel when someone breaks a taboo. I am certain that I would feel equally embarrassed in a heterosexual red-light district! However much sexuality is hinted at and even explicitly shown, it is still taboo, just like other bodily functions. You just don’t talk about it, and it exists only in a special sphere of it’s own, far removed from the polite and sensible conversations of our everydays.

Of course, I find both my reaction and the taboo itself to be very interesting, and well worth to be worked into an artistic project. I wonder how I could do it? Just shocking the audience by breaking taboo in the artworks have been done a million times, and is perhaps not that interesting? How can I challenge the viewer to see their own private taboos, and reflect upon them?

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