The installations were carried out as part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and were Tunick’s first large-scale installation in Sydney, with over 5,200 participants. I was one of those 5,200 naked bodies and one of the 2,000 plus who were invited into the shoot in the Great Hall of the Opera House.
I had been to a few naturist events prior to this and was used to seeing other unclothed bodies of diverse shapes.I had played in the annual Anzac Day Nude cricket match at Belongil Beach and documented the first Brisbane Naked Bike Ride in 2007.My calendar of events always includes World Naked Gardening Day. I even have a naked patron for my Holy Irritant blog.
After this shoot I was a feature in an exhibition at the 2012 Pride Art Show.
My parents ensured that our childhood and home life was filled with reading ,music and clothing. I’m not sure where the DNA preference for nudity came from. My digital life collection showcases my wardrobe and I even have a site for my Tees , called Credo Threads.
So here I am twelve years on from my nude encounter with 5199 other people on a chilly morning in Sydney .I remember arriving at 4 am to register and getting my wristband which allowed me to join the select group for the indoor shoot in the Great Hall. Despite the large crowd and the fact that our clothing and personal items were left in plastic bags on parkland next to the Opera House, there was no report of theft or other disturbance.
I remember the conversations about religion, sport and politics. I remember the good humour and respect as we weaved and turned like a football crowd. I ended up close to the front row and was almost in touching distance of Grant Denyer doing a live feed for Sunrise My highlight was being in the group that were taken into the Great Hall for a shoot. As we left the space at about 9am we mingled and met staff and tourists arriving for the usual days activities.
Tunick has amazing crowd control using his ladder, a megaphone and clothed minders. The spirit of the occasion left an endearing memory of the respect, fun and comfort of moving around with naked people of all shapes and sizes. This is all the more amazing when you consider that we were asked to lay on the ground, face front and back and then invited to embrace someone.
All participants received one souvenir photo of the event. Mine is framed and acts as a great conversation starter when we have exhausted religion, politics and sport. As you might imagine the challenge in a large group photo is identifying yourself. Unfortunately I was absorbed into a mass of naked flesh and am still trying to find myself.
My anniversary celebration will be spent enlarging some of the pics online and searching for my nondescript body whilst attempting not to gawk at the surrounding awesomeness.
For those from faith traditions feeling a little awkward about nudity here’s a little spiritual encouragement