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Monsterlune blood and flowers

29 August 2016

My first Monsterlune moment had been as a purple bondage elephant on the catwalk at Loudest Whispers 2016 in February. My second was also as a fashion model, for a photo shoot at Anstey Hall in Cambridgeshire – to be blogged when the work goes public in autumn. My third was a very different proposition altogether: sprawled on the floor of a flat in north London, writhing naked and blindfolded among flowers and other nude bodies while fake blood was being spattered across us from the wings.

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© Karla da Silva Photography

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© Philip Seargeant

It was Sunday 26 June, just after 4pm. Esther and I entered a busy front room where sheets were already covering half the floor and one wall. Close at hand were a ladder, a laptop, projector, lighting, props, an abundance of food and liquor, all attended by a characterful collection of preternatural participants. We were here for the making of a film to be used as backdrop for ‘Monsterlune Tales of Lunar Madness‘ at Club Hell on 27 August. The principal players were…

  • Estelle Riviere Monsterlune – artist, designer, costumier, model, and more
  • Ben Hell – film director, music maker, the man behind Club Hell, and more
  • Nicoletta Wylde – blood-drenched performer, writer and stage manager
  • Elodie – joining Esther, Estelle, Nicoletta and me naked among the flowers
  • Karla da Silva – photographer and artist at Karla da Silva Photography
  • Philip Seargeant – fellow independent photographer

…plus, of course, myself and magnificently multi-talented Esther; a strong cast.

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© Philip Seargeant

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© Philip Seargeant

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© Philip Seargeant

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© Philip Seargeant

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© Karla da Silva Photography

Esther and I were most pressed for time so we were indulged to be photographed first. Side by side, head to tail, on a white sheet with flowers strewn about, we were initially captured completely naked, and later wearing plain white masks. Nicoletta and Elodie followed with bright lights dimmed and colours playing across their skin. When Esther and I next took the floor we were more intimately entwined, with our faces under white cloth and bodies under kaleidoscopic light.

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© Karla da Silva Photography

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© Karla da Silva Photography

For the big finale, Nicoletta and Elodie joined us with cloths over their faces. Flowers were arranged around us, Ben gave direction and Estelle undressed to lay across us with her own face wrapped. When the film shooting started, out came the fake blood, to be spattered over us in ever more frantic sprays and globs as first we twitched and groaned, and later writhed and spasmed. The cloth stifled us, our limbs were twisted, the blood was cold, yet the whole tableau was utterly extraordinary.

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© Karla da Silva Photography

We passed the point of having all the footage we needed, and Ben freely admitted he was now simply enjoying the spectacle. With blood supplies running low, however, he reluctantly called a halt. Esther and I hauled ourselves upright and staggered into the adjacent bathroom to wash ourselves down. After dressing, we said our farewells and slipped away into the night. I’m sure there must have been renewed extraordinariness after we’d left – certainly there was on the night of the performance…

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