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Just as You are

about Melanie Bonajo

To Melanie Bonajo, there is still a lot of judgement in relation to being female and free, and open in being sexual and active. When a man has many lovers it is a status thing, but if a woman shares her love between many partners, it most often is judged or misinterpreted as something being wrong with you. In the history of art, for example, female figures are not seen as actual, living beings in the world with wishes of their own, but as fantasy figures, angels and witches.

Physical intimacy is a beautiful aspect of being human and sharing this with others is beneficial for our mental, spiritual and physical health: “With Woke up as a Wolf we want to bring light to sexuality as a way of sharing energy which can be healing, in depth, nurturing, sexy for everyone and a remedy for our solitary modern lives. What the world needs is more sex. And better sex and to be more chilled out about it and men should be a bit more giving and put the pussy more on the pedestal in the bedroom and not forget that there is a body attached to the genitals and a person inside that body”.

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Melanie’s women are dramatically tied to their objects, they cry taking a selfie and pee on the street or anywhere else, they’re nude and “just as they are”, so far from the dominant theme of our society where you should be happy, attractive, sexy, young, and if you’re not there’s something wrong with you. So, Melanie sees how her period of illness has led her to understand and empathize with the large-scale problem of depression that modern Western society creates. Which is an individualistic, isolated, competitive, stressed out lifestyle based on monetary success and social status. A life spent mostly indoors, sleep deprived, supported by unhealthy food, awarding external markers of achievement with a lack of deeper meaning and no time for reflection.

Her series also include Night Soil, experimental semi-documentary films about cultural phenomena that contradict the linear progression of the capitalist system. Each Night Soil film explores trends that move outside the sociological and political norms of consumer society, most of them illegal.

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Born in Heerlen, Netherlands, Melanie makes experimental documentaries. She plays in a band — ZaZaZoZo —, takes pictures and makes books and architectural sculptures that people can play in. She gives performative lectures and organises music and performance art events. She works with chimpanzees in a sanctuary.

Mostly, she tries to understand existential questions by looking at our domestic situation and concepts of home. In her dreams she wanders through gas stations, highways, warehouses and an endless suburbia which have covered the planet like stretched out chewing gum. She’s deeply intrigued by the obscurity surrounding nature.

Night Soil
www.melaniebonajo.com

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