We grow up with pet stories, learn to read and write with them, sleep cuddled with them. Where do we get lost? I’m Hugo Bonemer and I’m guest columnist for the magazine Who to talk about sustainability. For this I call on more artists, we develop the discourse together through art and then I report this experience in the column. I follow the Eduardo Srur on Instagram, and in my face I sent him a direct asking to do an intervention in a work of his that was in Parque do Ibirapuera, in São Paulo. He asked me: do you feel cold?
The day before I went to the park and spent about two hours watching. It is very interesting to see how different people reacted to Eduardo Srur’s work. Some just took a picture with the bear and walked away, others suggested out loud that it was plastic garbage in the ocean. Few realized that it was a role reversal of Man x Animal exploration. And as I sat there, wearing three sweaters, I began to wonder what the hell I had come up with to do with my life.
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We agreed on security codes in case I had a cramp or hypothermia and I also asked for help from dear friends. Renato Buratto and Ildeu Lazarini would film and Felipe Gonzaga would photograph.
I arrived early, warmed up, stretched, asked for protection so that it didn’t end in a silly death and that the message was transmitted and welcomed. When I entered the tank it was 13 degrees in São Paulo and I wondered if I was doing something that would impact someone’s life and minimally the lives of animals. The answer came quickly, and I suddenly felt a sudden pleasure. Our! I, who am cold and sleep in my socks and hat all year round, felt as if I had become an animal that was made to live there. I got carried away and swam like crazy. Until, in one of the breaths, I went all the way to the surface and hit my head on a beam that crossed the tank, I dived again to the other side and poof! I hit again! But how so? There was another!
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After that, I completely lost track of space and ran into every place, and when looking at the audience blurry through the acrylic I remembered that when I was still climbing the side of the tank, I sat on the edge to build up courage and saw the two beams, but one lady led the chorus of “jump soon!” and I felt pressured to hurry in. And there, with that memory, with my head aching and my body freezing, I felt like the trained animal itself, serving the expectations of a demanding public.
Maybe I already do it as a profession, the difference is that I have a choice, right? Give up, escape, decline the entertainment offer. I have choice. Not the pet. The period of confinement of the last few years has given me a discomfort that I didn’t know I felt at the sight of caged animals. Suddenly, today, I can’t imagine being happy on a zoo trip. Should they even exist?
Some documentaries like blackfish about the Tilikum orca made me very empathetic about this issue. Animals that have a whole nature to discover and become an object of entertainment in a playpen. Sunday in the park, families strolling and suddenly, a polar bear looking at an aquarium in which a person swims. What does this work do to you? Would it be crazy? A vandal? the remake of Splash! A mermaid in my life?
What reflections do you create yourself when you come across these images? Why do we subject animals to situations that we would not accept any human being subjected to? What technological alternatives could meet our need for interaction with wild animals? I feel that from time to time we discuss whether certain lives are worth living. What do you think about animals being used as human entertainment?
Constructions: FREE LIFE
Guest artist: Eduardo Srur
Photos: Felipe Gonzaga
Video: Renato Buratto and Ildeu Lazarini
Direction/Editing/Production and Text: Hugo Bonemer