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TORSO is an international film experiment that aims to break through stereotypes that exist within the online gay community and present a snapshot of modern gay experience through online apps. One torso at a time.
From 'seedy older guys,' to 'the idea of someone who has HIV' this project challenges the judgements based on a person's picture on sites like Grindr. It acts to remind us that there is a human behind every little 'pic' on these apps and that this human is having experiences just like us.
Beginning in Sydney, award-winning Australian filmmaker Tim Marshall set out to meet men through online gay meet-up apps (Grindr, Scruff etc) and film their naked torso whilst they spoke about their intimate and deeply personal experiences through using these apps. The project then continued Reykjavik, Iceland and now - Los Angeles, USA.
Why just the torso? Those of us familiar with apps like Grindr will have seen the myriad squares of naked torsos presented upon login. These faceless torsos hold a world of stories and humanity, yet it is hard to remember this when we don’t see a person's face. Filming only the torso also allows an anonymity, bringing men to the project who wouldn't ordinarily be comfortable sharing their stories. Thus ensuring a more diverse and accurate representation of the online gay community.
Tim states, 'Whilst living in Australia and using online gay dating apps, I would constantly find myself feeling inadequate. I do not have "the perfect body", and being on these apps was starting to bring out insecurities about that. I would think, maybe I do need to get a personal trainer and start guzzling protein drinks so I can have a body that is stereotypically "desirable" to gay men.
The other thing that I noticed was starting to set in with my constant use of these apps was a tendency to make quick judgements and assumptions about people. I know a lot of guys who are guilty of sharing around people's less than perfect Grindr profile photos with their friends and joking and laughing about it together.
I realized, with the immediacy and nonchalance of the new types of connection now available to us, maybe we are becoming disconnected from the human behind the pixels in a profile picture. If you can't sell yourself in the space of a small pixelated square, you may end up feeling a lot of rejection.
I wanted to explore this new world of gay dating and sex culture and look at both its personal implications and universal experiences. I also wanted to address the diversity of physicality within the gay community and celebrate that.'
TORSO aims to comment on the world beneath the facade of gay dating apps. This is a world of raw, joyous, rough, passionate, intimate, awkward, funny and sometimes unfortunate experience.
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