Arts & Entertainment
4 min

The Humping Pact

Two Berlin friends are out to hump landmarks and scenic locations all over the world

The Humping Pact interacts with a statue in Vienna. Credit: Agullo & Paranyushkin

At first glance, the humpingpact.com looks like an orgy of 20-something white men publicly befouling socially sacred spaces. Be they penetrating the parliamentary hall of Belgium, frottaging the façade of a Spanish monument or chastising Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, they are men on a mission. But understanding what motivates the Berlin artistic duo Dmitry Paranyushkin and Diego Agullo to grind against tradition is a little more complex.

Xtra's Ryan Kerr had the opportunity to ask what started their revolution — and if Canada is next on the list to get officially humped.

Xtra: I was delighted to see a link to your project appear in my social networks a couple of weeks ago. But the Humping Pact has been going for a while now, with a significant body of work already popular in Europe. What inspired your first hump?

Humping Pact: We had a residency at PACT choreography centre in Essen, Germany, and had an empty studio and ourselves at our disposal. Considering that Essen is quite a boring place and there were no stimulations on the outside, we decided to provide some for ourselves and make a choreography out of it. We then watched Trash Humpers and Rize for some movement inspirations, watched a lot of porn, and that's how the project was born.

So, basically, you are two friends based in Berlin who are out to hump landmarks and scenic locations all over the world. Can you elaborate on your philosophy: "A suspended act of simulated stimulation towards the environment"?

Well, what we do is find a location that has a lot of potential and try to express what's contained inside through the act of humping. We stimulate the environment but also the imagination of our audience and ourselves, but the action is also a simulated act; we are not actually fucking those buildings. The whole thing also never comes to a climax, which is very important for us, because it's about the process, not the result . . . So there is also suspense, which is never brought to any sort of conclusion.

How do you choose which places to hump next? (I would love to hump the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen myself — thanks for beating me to it!)

Well, you can still hump her, because she's very lonely and she misses being close to someone: people only look at her these days . . .

The way we choose locations is a mix of intuition and some very precise criteria. For instance, the place always has to have some sort of tension between what it is and what it's trying to be. This gap may be there because the building was built to impress in the past (and so commemorates a certain epoch or an event, which is not relevant anymore) or also because the originally intended function is not being fulfilled any longer. Then we come and put our bodies in relation to the space in order to let it speak through ourselves and through our action.

When I first saw your videos, I drew an immediate comparison to Spencer Tunick, the NYC-based photographer whose work features hundreds of naked volunteers standing or laying on locations around the world. But in your work, there's just Dmitry and Diego repeated many times in the same frame. Do you have any plans to include other humpers in future projects?

Spencer Tunick plays body Tetris: he finds a space and fills it in with as many naked people as he can. Our intention is very different. To continue this analogy with Tetris: what we're trying to do is to create moving shapes, constellations and meanings. Our goal is not to fit in as many bodies as possible; we want to let the locations speak into us and through us towards the outside. A couple is the basic building block of everything that surrounds us. You can't make a human with only one person. (And even if you could do some gene engineering, both X and Y chromosomes are needed for that.) There is yes and there is no. There are males and there are females. Reality becomes something tangible once you have at least two people sharing it. Therefore for us, it's very important that it's only two people within the frame. We then use digital technology to multiply ourselves by conflating various timelines on one two-dimensional plane, creating multidimensional time-phase space.

Despite the few press clippings on your website and positive comments on Vimeo, has there been negative feedback to your work?

Of course. Some people find it offensive. Some people confuse what we do with art and then start asking if it's real art and argue about it. Perhaps we'll save them a lot of time if we say, once again, that Humping Pact is not art; it's an enterprise. The only relation it has to art is that it fucks it in the ass, or, rather, rubs it gently from the back with a big hard-on to the point that art gets super excited that it's going to be raped, yet it never happens. Probably that's why it can be frustrating for some, but nobody said this whole thing was about satisfaction anyway.

Will we ever see penis?

Yes, Copenhagen mission report provides a very good view of Diego's chorizo (as we call it), somewhere at the beginning, when he's banging the building of the gallery. There are a lot more scattered here and there.

What's the next location? Canada is full of natural wonders and geological masterpieces, not to mention bustling metropolises. Put us on the map!

We would love to come to Canada and hump all the northern territories that are so abundant in natural resources. When we find support, we'll definitely travel over there and fulfill this mission.