In England, Bristol University students have created their own awkward moments version of a popular 2014 performance art film. The original film emphasizes recording the hesitant moment between strangers meeting for the sole purpose of immediately kissing someone they do not know. While most awkward moments in the headlines lately are about F1 Champion Lewis Hamilton failing to recognize his girlfriend’s voice, the original project, called First Kiss, has many reasons that make it a popular choice for remakes and parodies.
Awkward moments between strangers kissing were first filmed earlier in the year when Tatia Pilieva debuted her First Kiss performance art film. In an article authored by Pilieva in the Huffington Post, she revealed the popularity of her awkward moments film First Kiss.
“On Monday morning, March 11th, First Kiss launched on Style.com … and by the time I was going to bed it had reached close to 600,000 and made the front page of Reddit. The following morning it had 5 million views … At last count [March 17], it has more than 59 million.”
Now, Bristol University students have taken on a serious attempt to repeat Pilieva’s awkward moments project. When talking with the Bristol Post UK, it was stated that the project was filmed and produced by the University of Bristol TV station (UBTV) and directed by Gemma Wilson. Producers complimented the awkward moments presented in the film by saying that the students’ reactions to being kissed were human and heartwarming.
The Mirror says what sets apart the Bristol University version of the First Kiss film from the American original is that, the Bristol students steal the show with their sheer awkwardness, firmly putting to bed the rumour that students are well-versed in snogging strangers.”
Pilieva expected people to be attracted to the awkwardness of kissing a complete stranger and says, “I knew that if we did this project [First Kiss], we’d need to approach it as a documentary to capture the intimacy and we’d have to control it visually to catch the unpredictable nature of what was going to happen in front of the camera.”
Since Pilieva released her video in March, several awkward moments parodies have been made that are based on the “unpredictable nature” premise. These parody versions are focused on making fun of the awkward moments found in the original film, and do not intend to take the project as seriously as Bristol University.
About the overall attraction by the general public to the awkward moments of First Kiss,, Pilieva also said, “Over the last few days, people have asked what made ‘First Kiss’ a viral phenomenon? While one can’t be sure, it was probably the human vulnerability that touched people — watching the possibility of love play out in front of their eyes. We sometimes argue that technology isolates us as humans, but if nothing else, ‘First Kiss’ suggests perhaps that we are still united by our desire for love and connection.”
Also from awkward moments master Tatia Pilieva is a project she made for Showtime’s Masters of Sex called Undress Me.
Tatia Pilieva has been cross-referenced with another awkward moments performance artist/filmmaker, Marina Abramovic. Currently, both Pilieva and Abramovic produce work under the Art of Elysium umbrella. The Art of Elysium is an organization that works with hospital youth and artists in Los Angeles.
Recently, Pilieva tweeted about a Marina Abramovic event called Heaven 2015 for Art of Elysium at The Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. In addition to Pilieva and Abramovic, artist Shepard Fairey is one of the recent curators for Art of Elysium. According to the Art of Elysium website, the tickets for the event start at $5,000 to $25,000, and will be held on January 10 — the day before the 2015 Golden Globe Awards.
Other details on the website about the purpose behind Heaven 2015 state, “The Art of Elysium will celebrate its 8th Annual Heaven Gala… the evening promises an unparalleled creative experience rooted in our mission and representing the spirit of our diverse artistic disciplines – Fashion, Fine Arts, Music and Theatre/Media Arts. Heaven is the organization’s largest annual fundraiser… ensuring our ability to continue to deliver high quality arts experiences to over 40,000 medically fragile youth annually.”
Heaven 2015 is likely to be a popular event with celebrities as many have touted their admiration for Abramovic. For example, Lady Gaga commends Abramovic for her groundbreaking performance art films that filmed awkward moments. In particular, Breathing In/Breathing Out.
Marina Abramovic has a long awkward moments career. For instance, Abramovic filmed an awkward moment with her former longtime-lover and performance art film co-producer, Ulay, at MOMA. In this 2010 piece, called The Artist is Present, Abramovic and Ulay have an awkward moment sitting across each other in silence for a matter of minutes after not seeing each other for a long period of time.
Currently, Pilieva has more awkward moments coming up. According to the Internet Movie Database, Pilieva’s first feature film, Forever, is in post-production, and due to be released in 2015.
[All images are from the referenced links]