do you want me to come?                                                                                     

My current research is focused around the spatial politics of cruising. What is the current state of cruising in the gay community nowadays? Cruising spots are disappearing around cities and this is a trend that extends to all LGBTQI+ places. The recent and relative acceptance of the gay community, normalisation and the growing use of online dating platforms, means that you don’t have to use secret places to be able to meet other people like you. But, what happens to the spaces behind the undergrowth and who uses them now?

In Do you want me to come? I visit these traditional cruising parks in the city of London and examine their social activity, to see if they remain a place of social change or have become something else. Making myself known in the cruising space I capture a plate with my 4x5 camera, to preserve this place for posterity.

My work engages and explores the boundaries of photography as a critical practice to combat existing social power structures in public and private spaces. With an emphasis in the creation of a new visual language to portray the non-visible space.A question that I am currently trying to answer with my practice is, on the one hand, how do the evolving politics of my own community (LGBTQI+) change the way we interact and the way we cruise? And on the other hand, how do the effects of normalisation and social cleansing erode the cruising grounds?

I use photography as a tool to try to portray this invisible and ever-changing space, to preserve it against extinction. Eventually, is as if these places were specimens to be encased in a transparent box, safeguarded to be seen by future generations. The lack of verbal interaction in the cruising act gives way to a distinct type of non-verbal communication, one based on gestures, looks and body language: a semiotics of cruising and its reflection on photography.

© Sebastian Abugattas. 2020 All rights reserved