Yeah, that got your attention, didn’t it? Naked monks. Yes, they exist. In India.
I was very surprised to find information about monks who are not allowed to wear clothes. Clothes are seen as embellishment and these monks don’t embellish themselves.
This sounds all sweet and wonderful, but there is more to being a nude monk than not wearing clothes. If you love your big screen TV, kiss that goodbye when you become a Digambara monk.
There is a Jain text that says:
Salutation to the Ascetic (Sādhu) abound in faith and knowledge, who incessantly practises pure conduct that surely leads to liberation.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Naked monks in Nepal
Attitude and… weather.
It may be obvious that you need the right kind of attitude to become such a monk as you have to give up all worldly goods. You need to beg for food and you can own only the fewest bits of man-made utensils. A Digambara monk is allowed to keep only a feather whisk, a water gourd and scripture with him.
Also make sure you live in the right region. When you’re in an area where it gets cold it’s smart to choose another occupation. One that has heating and/or clothes.
You’ve probably heard about it, seen plenty of examples of it. The one-finger selfie. Apparently it started though an Anime character that demonstrated how to do it:
I had an interesting little exchange about those on Twitter a while ago when someone said that these one-finger selfies might invite people over to nudism.
There is always an chance that someone is getting interested in nudism because of such selfies. I really doubt that though. This kind of selfie creates the same ‘desire to see’, the same temptation that certain kinds of (lack of) clothing invokes. I think they are more prone towards that other kind of nudity (we might call it porn) than towards nudism.
Most of the time, as far as I know, nudists don’t take off their clothes just for a nude picture. Nudism is a life style, not a picture hiding something from someone. People who live the life of nudism and/or naturism aren’t afraid to bare it all, to show it all. The difference is that being naked and showing oneself naked in nudism is normal.
People who strip especially for a one-finger selfie will probably put on their clothes immediately after taking the photo (or a few of them).
There probably is a fine line between nudism and provocative exhibitionism in these selfies. I am not in favour of these selfies. Nudism and naturism are in heavy weather as it is, the world seems to turn to puritanism in many places. Promoting wholesome nudity should be done in a social setting, in an open and honest setting. Not through something as semi-secretive, something titillating as the one-finger selfie.
To each their own
Of course it’s up to everyone for themselves if they want to participate in these displays of their body. Some people think it’s fun. Good for them. Some people, like the person I chatted with on Twitter, thinks it might bring people into nudism. Good for them. Let’s hope these selfies open up something good, something more like body-acceptance.
Body painting fascinates me. It’s incredible to see what artists can do to a canvas of skin. How they transform people into walking and talking pieces of art. I took the picture on the left (click it for a larger version) at a fantasy fair here in the Netherlands. It was the first time they had a live body painting demonstration, and the fact people were allowed to take photos was quite unique.
The light on the image on the right is bad, sorry for that, but the sun was out in full blaze. (This image is also clickable for a larger version.)
This lady was being transformed in a universe. Very beautiful to witness.
It’s stunning to see how these artists pour themselves into their work, creating beautiful images. Another interesting thing to learn while watching them work was to see how long this actually takes! It’s not like tossing on some colours, dabbing a few more blotches with a brush and that’s it. The models have to stand there for hours. Literally. If you think about having your body painted one day, make sure you’re up to the physical challenge. You stand there, at times with your arms stretched out, for a LONG time.
Another (clickable) image with even poorer light. Still I want to show it to you.
This model was transformed into a dragon-like creature. Not only paint but also foam stubs, painted in the right colours.
As I walked around there and watched these people at work, I wondered how much effort had to go into the works of Spencer Tunick, the man who created the Sea of Hull and the amazing rush of red people in Munich, Germany a while ago.
World Bodypainting Festival
Here is a video from World Bodypainting Day 2016. An opportunity for you to see how much work this really is.
It is an amazing way to decorate a person. More versatile and more personal than any kind of clothing can be. If ever I have the chance to be painted in such a way I’ll certainly grab it. I already wonder what I would like to have on me.
What would your favourite colours, scenes and/or patterns be?
This is an amazing book. It took me long to read it. No, I don’t usually read slowly but there is so much in this book to think about that I took time for that. Why would I run through an amazing story, past great reflections and texts when I can stroll through all that, sit down and look at it all, and think about it? That’s what I did with this book.
The story plays in Mexico and Latin America. Key components in this story are a written codex with a secret, a strange necklace with figurines, and the main actors Zé and Marisol. ‘Aglow’ is a great addition to the Naturist Library because it brings forward the reason and benefit of social nudity very well.
I don’t know how to say more about this book without going in at the deep end to spoil it all for you. I can just say: get it and read it. And enjoy.
Rediscovering the Radical Feminism of the Neo Naturists
By izabella scott
Aug 17th, 2016 12:39 pm
“The Neo Naturists like taking their clothes off for the sake of it,” Christine Binnie and Wilma Johnson wrote in a 1985 manifesto—and that’s exactly what they did. A British underground art movement born out of the 1980s, the Neo Naturists were a body-painting trio of female flashers, made up of Christine, her sister Jennifer, and their friend Johnson.
The artists began to appear on the London club scene around 1981, turning up at Heaven in Soho (one of London’s first gay clubs) or the punk music venue The Fridge in Brixton, adorned in nothing but paint. They would perform on stage, chanting songs and throwing up their legs in an unruly version of the cancan. At other times, they’d simply flash at the crowd. Beneath their overcoats they had perfected a number of looks painted directly onto their bodies, including trompe l’oeil lingerie, and wild, grinning faces that transformed breasts into eyes and belly buttons into nostrils.
The Neo Naturists had their heyday from 1981–1986, but they have reformed this summer for a retrospective at Studio Voltaire in London. The show is an archival assemblage of paintings, slides and photographs, low-fi videos recorded in nightclubs, newspaper clippings and other ephemera—and, pressed on the gallery walls, body-prints made by the Neo Naturists themselves, some of whom painted their bodies for the first time in 20 years.
The group has its roots in the punk anarchy of 1980s London, an era marked by the ruthless free market spirit ushered in by Margaret Thatcher and the subcultures that emerged in resistance to it. One of those was a cross-dressing scene known as New Romanticism, which was a breeding ground for exquisitely androgynous club kids like Boy George and Marilyn. The Neo Naturists were part of that scene, collaborating with Marilyn as well as other now-famous artists such as Grayson Perry and filmmaker John Maybury.
As much as they were aligned with the New Romantics, they were also satirists of them, deliberately positioning themselves in opposition to the scene’s slick sophistication and skinny bodies, a form of dandyism that was largely enjoyed by men. Instead, the Neo Naturists were rebellious, curvaceous, and pagan. Their main concern was to take pleasure in the act, and to celebrate the natural forms of their bodies.
“I swapped my Flesh Tint oil paint for some blue and gold body paint and transformed her into a voluptuous version of Tutankhamen’s sarcophagus,” Johnson recalls—in the exhibition’s catalogue essay—of the first time she painted Christine. They freely incorporated materials close to hand, taping household items to their bodies, and their 1985 manifesto includes an inventory: “Boiled crab, shrimps, tin foil, gold leaf, paper doilies, biscuits, peanuts, bottle of wine, Scotch pancakes, contraceptive sheaths, squid, sheep’s heart, bikini briefs, sausages, bacon and eggs, freezer bag wombs, apples, burning incense, knives and forks, £10 notes, sequins, vitamins, tins of tuna, and of course, lots of Sellotape.”
In one of their most iconic works, Flashing in the British Museum (1982), Christine donned a shaggy coat and pranced through the British Museum, flashing her painted body beside Egyptian relics and Greek antiquities. (“Just wear a big coat,” she once advised would-be flashers: “It’s easy!”) Another performance, Pink Punk Yoga (1982), at The Fridge in Brixton blended the incongruous practices of punk and meditation, while Sexist Crabs (1983) at the Zap Club in Brighton was a chaotic gambol around the stage with seafood taped to their bodies.
They eschewed rehearsals, preferring ritualistic improvisation, and sometimes they simply took to the streets, as in Swimming and Walking Experiment (1984), when they cavorted in the fountains below London’s Brutalist tower block Centre Point—and got arrested by the police. Occasionally, they made the headlines, outraging some conservative hacks and delighting others. “Hooray for the Bare Binnies!” crooned the Daily Star of 1984.
For women to take such pleasure in their art was deeply subversive. Like all heretics, they didn’t play by anyone else’s rules. They opted for spontaneous exuberance, in contrast to the message of Thatcherite conservatism (be professional!) or the affected, male-dominated New Romantics (be flamboyant!).“The Neo Naturists are casual to the point of excess,” their manifesto states. “[They] believe that gorgeousness is the ultimate intelligence.”
As Studio Voltaire curator Jessica Vaughan points out, one important aspect to understand about the Neo Naturists is that their display of the female body was in no way pornographic. “What they were doing was radical,” says Vaughan, “because they were delighting in the female form in a way that isn’t titillating or sexualized, but instead is something full of humor and celebration.”
The Neo Naturists did not commodify their practice, and they were never picked up by a commercial gallery. By the end of the 1980s, they had moved out of the squat they shared and dispersed. Many of the men from their circle, however, went on to become successful British artists, including Perry, Maybury, and Michael Clark. “It’s not the first time that female artists were forgotten,” Vaughan says, “while male counterparts, who were incredibly influenced by the women around them, went on to become household names.”
There are a multitude of reasons why the Neo Naturists slipped through the net. For one, nobody quite knew what to make of them. “Feminists see us as porno sex cabaret, while your average person sees us as butch dykes,” Jennifer said in an interview in the 1980s. “We’re not either.” Their work was only obliquely political, more concerned with celebrating the personal: their friendships with one another, and their bodies. “The Neo Naturists are works of art,” the manifesto quips, “and the world is their private view.”
It wasn’t entirely over for the Neo Naturists in 1986, but they left behind a fragmented opus. Following the group’s dispersal, Christine went solo and kept the movement active well into this millennium. In the 1990s, she assembled a small archive in her east London apartment, and one of the Studio Voltaire curators’ projects has been to expand it. “We’ve been trying to get a comprehensive overview of the movement, and a secure chronology,” Vaughan says. “There’s a quite a bit of guesswork because Wilma, Jen, and Christine might all remember things differently. But looking back, they were an incredible counterpoint to the queer male voices of the time, and they mustn’t be overlooked.”
This was a very entertaining and good book. I love the subject: a girl being recruited as a ‘volunteer’ in a project on public nudity. I won’t spoil the story for you.
The book was well written, easy to follow and it kept its pace all through the story. The challenges Danielle has to overcome are quite intriguing and in ways even eye-opening. If you appreciate a book that deal with public nudity on a proper level, the “Volunteer” is for you.
The idiocy doesn’t stop bothering me. What is so wrong with the female nipple or breast that they can’t be shown in public? The folks who claim a breast is erotic got it all wrong. Breasts have existed since long. Did cavemen think breasts erotic? I doubt that. Women had them to suckle babies. And guess what – some still do that! Difference now is of course that grown men are appalled by the sight of a naked breast (unless it is in a porn movie they will never admit to having seen).