More than 6,000 people gathered in downtown Bogotá in the early hours of Sunday morning to take part in a project by Spencer Tunick. Not only did the American photographer persuade the multitude to pose nude for a group photo but he also got Colombians out on the streets as early as 2am in order to take part, despite the low temperatures in the capital.
Participants met in Plaza de Bolívar, just a few meters away from the presidential residence, city hall and Catedral Primada. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there were more security officers on the ground than normal in this part of town to patrol the event.
Tunick said he chose the location based on the understanding of his work: celebration of the beauty and naturalness of the human body juxtaposed against the symbols of society’s institutions of power.
Thousands of people signed up to participate in the project through the Bogotá Museum of Modern Art (Mambo). They received confirmation of their participation but did not get any hints as to what the project entailed. Organizers expected 10,000 participants, but as Tunick predicted, fewer actually showed up once the excitement about the event had died down.
People dealt with the long wait and cold by drinking plenty of coffee and agua panela, a traditional Colombian drink, while applauding and shouting. Meanwhile, Tunick moved back and forth on the stairs of the Supreme Court of Justice, giving orders to his team.
Around 4am, the photographer addressed participants, with a: “Hola Colombia!” The crowd filled Plaza de Bolívar with their screams and shouts. It was time to undress and gather in the middle of the square, where Tunick had placed blocks of wood that looked like surfboards, on which several people had to stand.
Participants were asked to stand silent with arms by their sides while looking straight ahead. A drone did the rest. Then, some women were photographed in front of the Capitol. Others posed for a photo near Teatro Colón and the Gabriel García Márquez Cultural Center, to which only a few select people had access.
The photographs will be shown at a Mambo exhibit in Bogotá at the end of the year.
English version by Dyane Jean François.