Taking kissing to a whole new level

A video of two strangers kissing for 24 hours will feature at a public arts festival in Cape Town.

Mechanized intimimacy

CAPE TOWN - Imagine kissing a complete stranger for a full 24 hours. That is just what artist Rhine Bernardino, who is based in the Philippines, does in a sped-up one-minute video which shows two people lip-locked for 24 hours.

Bernardino explores intimacy by going on dates with strangers and kissing them continuously for a whole day.

Her performance piece titled Mechanized Intimacy, which portrays these experiences captured on film, will be on show as part of the public arts festival Infecting the City. The festival takes place throughout the Mother City utilising various public spaces for performances, exhibitions, dance shows and more between 10 and 15 March.

When asked what the public can expect from the performance, which will take place on Thursday and Friday at 8:30pm, Berdardino says, "People can expect to just see the pieces as they are and whatever they get from it or choose to get from it, it's up to them. It's just there for the taking".

The artist also had another public performance planned for the festival, but due to problems with her Visa application she will not be in Cape Town this week.

Bernadino works as a full-time artist and for relaxation she watches movies and spends time with her partner, who she calls "ever loving, sexy and supportive". She compares intimacy to a 'rosary', because it is 'full of mystery' and she says anyone can have complete intimacy with a stranger. She adds that intimacy is not limited to other people and that even an inanimate object can evoke feelings of complete closeness.

As to what inspires her, Bernadino says that many moments of inspiration take place in the shower and that it is also often completely random when the moment hits.

So what does she want people to take away from her work? Bernardino answers that she wants people to think about things they haven't thought of before. She says: "If I manage to tickle a person's mind, caused him/her to think about something that wouldn't have crossed their mind if they didn't see my work, then that is good enough for me".

Finally, Bernardino gives her impression of a video by Tatia Pilieva, which was widely shared on various social media platforms, depicting 20 strangers kissing each other for the first time. Uploaded on 10 March 2014, the video has had 21,946,393 views on Youtube.

She jokes that she wishes her video had received the same attention, but says the video is very different from what she is doing. The Pilieva video, according to Bernardino looks "glossy and glamorous and everyone's so pretty" and in Mechanized Intimacy she says" I just mainly look like a homeless person if we compare it to the people in that video".

Bernadino elaborates: "The idea behind it is to try and experiment on the notion of intimacy and showcase a possible aspect of it that has not been shown much in media or even in history of art in various disciplines". She cites various examples of "the kiss" as it is explored by artists and writers such as William Shakespeare, Toulouse Lautrec and Andy Warhol. To Bernardino the Pilieva video does "not fall far from representations made in art in terms of discussing or showcasing the kiss, and its fine".