I believe there is a lot of darkness, but in a romantic meaning of darkness. What is hiding there in the distance, behind the dark leaves of the forest? Sex, yes, but also the fact of not knowing what is out there, that is what I like about it. – Alex
The collaborative project by photographers Katia Repina and Luca Aimi explores cruising in Cataluña, Spain. This process of searching for sexual encounters in public places such as parks, beaches and parking lots, has traditionally been viewed in the context of male homosexuality. I Don’t Need To Know You ventures further in an attempt to reveal and understand the complexity of motivations and feelings that drive the subjects–broadcasting a sense of loneliness,s hame, guilt, exclusion, adrenaline, the narrative poses disturbing questions in search for hidden reasons and excuses.
Silence and anonymity are the main characteristics of those engaged in cruising. The pracktice of cruising is the direct result of a cultural system based on inequality. It responds to the need to create spaces for minorities, where they can satisfy individual desires without the need to explain and justify themselves, or spend any money. Many people who go to cruising areas, do so because they can not go anywhere else. However, there are plenty of men who take up cruising for adrenaline. Almost every participant is not proud of what he does and is scared that somebody will recognize him. Unlike other homosexual places, the practice of anonymous sex in public spaces does not generate a collective identity.
Some participants, though they have sexual interactions with other men, claim that they are heterosexual, that they are not really interested in other men and are actively opposed to being identified as homosexuals. Gay men go to cruising areas, on the contrary, as they feel attracted to other men.
Sexually transmitted diseases is another important issue to consider when we talk about sex between strangers. Cruising is associated with unsafe sex, as many men who practice it determine the state of health of their partners from appearances. This usually means that more attractive people are blindly perceived as healthy.
The extreme simplification of a sexual relationship is natural for some people, and rare for others. Cruising is often practiced by people who lead a “normal” life, who have a family, children, and who fulfill mere fantasies, desires, through these escapades. The project shows a sexual practice that is unknown to many, giving a voice to people who are hiding because of fear of being recognized or misunderstood. Through watching and listening to these stories we are immersed into the atmosphere of excitement, fear, adrenaline, doubts, shame or absence of it, the silence, the secrets, the curiosity…
After all, these emotions are what makes a human being feel alive.
Katia Repina is a Russian documentary photographer who has been based in Barcelona for the past six years. She works on documentary projects which focus on intimate stories that spotlight the issues of gender, identity and sexuality. Born in Moscow, 1988. After graduation from State University – Higher School of Economics (Moscow), Katia decided to move to Barcelona. In Barcelona Katia studied documentary photography and video. In 2013 she won the GrisArt Documentary Photography and Photojournalism Grant (Barcelona), and got an Honorable Mention at 2013 IPA Awards. Her project “Llámame Marta” won CLIC’14 Fotoperiodisme Jove Multimedia-contest, the multimedia was screened at the Festival Visa Off (Perpignan, France), the Photón Festival (Valencia, Spain), The Sixth Argentinian Biennale of Documentary Photography (San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina), Minsk Month of Photography (Minsk, Belarus) and was exhibited at DOCField Barcelona Festival, The Fence Photoville Festival (NY, USA).
Luca Aimi is an Italian documentary photographer currently based in Barcelona. His work has been shown in different spaces, like FotoColectania gallery (Barcelona), at the Catalunya área during la Bienal de Venecia. His project “The Walter Benjamin Zone” was exposed in J.E.E.P. (Paris), and during photography festival FineArt Igualada 2015.