“This is going to be exhausting,” I thought to myself when I first came across Berlin-based performance artist Mischa Badasyan‘s latest project. Mischa plans to have sex with a new person every single day for one year. It’s a plan he will begin on the first of September, and it’s one of his most ambitious artistic undertakings yet.
The project, called “Save the Date,” is “kind of an experiment,” Mischa tells Nerve. It’s one that Mischa hopes to participate in mainly through meeting people on social media, but will resort to sex bars, clubs, and saunas if need be. Will he inform all 365 lucky participants (who will all be men, by the way) about their part in his art? Not quite. “They won’t know they’re a part of the project, as it would be hard to get anyone for a date,” he admits. Mischa is no stranger to social experiments, some of his past projects include social and political statements involving porn, song, and connection, but this is one of his most intimate art projects yet, because it will be mostly unplanned and it will actually interfere with his real life.
But that’s the entire point of having casual sex every day for a year. Mischa, who openly admits he’s never been in a “love” relationship, is looking to explore himself and others by giving his love to a lot of people. Throughout the year, he plans to create a documentary, a daily video blog, write poems, as well as make a “sound map of the loneliness of Berlin” by visiting what he refers to as “non places.” It’s inspired by the concept introduced by the French anthropologist Marc Augé, who first used the phrase to describe impersonal places of transience that cause loneliness or where people lose their identity. In non places like supermarkets, airports, and shopping malls, people “don’t feel like they belong to somewhere anymore,” Mischa explains. Mischa says the major question of “Save the Date” will be whether he can continue to be honest and share love with his many partners or if, after a while, his string of casual sexual interaction will just become “supermarket relationships.” His piece is dedicated to loneliness.
Mischa understands the magnitude of the impact social media has had on the sexual landscape, but also doesn’t think we are having any more sex than we were 40 years ago — we’re just talking about it more openly. That’s how this became the age of the hook up. While a lot of scientific studies are currently being conducted to determine whether there is any relation between psychological well being and casual sex, Mischa is attempting to hook up at a rate that is astronomically higher than the average person. You can easily imagine taxing late drunken nights, high bar tabs, lost sleep, and feelings of isolation when you’re on a 365-night sex bender. Weezer penned the ultra-catchy “Tired of Sex,” a song about the loss of identity from having one too many girl-of-the-day binges, for a reason.
Mischa admits to being afraid of STIs, violence, and he’s also really “aware of the pain and of depression, but I will go for this journey anyway.” He will have a supportive network of friends and artists by his side as well. “I can collect so many beautiful or also horrible moments,” Mischa explains honestly.
Mischa’s not the first performance artist to ever use sex to make a statement. Earlier this year, performance artist Clayton Pettet made a splash by promising to lose his anal virginity in front of art gallery attendants (spoiler: he didn’t). For Mischa, this experiment is far more than just a series of salacious acts he can then go brag about or perform, it’s much more of a meditation on contemporary loneliness and connections. “It is pretty funny about our culture and life nowadays,” he says. “We all use the Internet and feel like we’re connected and being together, but if we really ask ourselves how we love and how we treat real friends, then we can realize that the honest part is gone. All social media creates this illusion of being together, although I use them and I love them too.”
Only time will tell if Mischa can meet and woo 365 men between this fall and September 2015, but he’s open to the possibilities. A year is a long time, anything can happen. Since he was already mixing his art with his personal life, I asked Mischa whether he had considered that he might fall in love with one of the participants in his experiment. “I’m already scared of falling in love,” he confesses. “I have to finish this project. So, someone who really wants to stay with me should wait one year for me.”