The Hug

Submission 2024

Two people walk toward each other painted from dark to light red or blue. When they hug, the silhouette is purple.
Submitted by:Ruby Prinsen

My sense of self is grounded in my body. While I sit at my desk I can see and feel my hands in front of me. My body also separates my ‘self’ from the environment around me such as feeling where my hands end and the desk begins. Yet, my selfhood is also determined by my relationship with others, such as how they perceive me and how we interact together (through gestures and conversation).

Therefore, I am interested in how we construct a shared understanding during social interactions with others and the ways we physically communicate this. I will be investigating how this coordination occurs and changes in real-time, and what we bring as embodied and gendered individuals. I am specifically interested in romantic partners, as couples have both a physical and emotional intimacy that is more likely to change the embodied sense of self to a sense of ‘us’. To demonstrate the dynamic nature of such an interaction, I depicted a form of coordinated action (a hug) between two individuals. To illustrate action and motion over time I overlapped frames from a brief video of a hug (chronophotography). I then painted and sketched the overlapped photographs.

Was your image created using Generative AI?

How was your image created?
This piece started by filming a hug between two individuals. I cut this video into separate frames to depict ‘snapshots’ of the hug and the background was removed. These photos were then cropped, pieced together, and printed out so that the outline of the figures could be transferred onto a physical canvas. I then painted the silhouettes onto a canvas that was dyed with coffee to offset the white. I made sure that each figure started with the original red or blue paint and then tinted each subsequent frame with more and more white. The central figure, which is the actual hug, was an equal mixture of the red and blue paint to depict this ‘merging’. Black charcoal and white pencil were drawn onto the paint to create a more organic feeling to the figures and emphasize the overlapping movements.