For her contribution to the show, the artist Hannah Black created a new commissioned video work during an extended stay in Baku. In it, she juxtaposes evidence of the booming construction of the Azerbaijan capital—shots of new, vacant-looking buildings—with a similarly emerging community of Baku bodybuilders. Black’s video could be seen as a comparative analysis made by an outsider, but Garayeva would beg to differ: “She wanted to get really into something that at first might look vapid, but for her contains a lot of body politics for men that she would otherwise be very alien from,” she says. In doing so, Black suggests connections between her own body, the urban structures of Azerbaijan’s growing community, and a niche body culture—one redolent of the types of subcultures discovered online.
Artists in the show also employ the legacy of cinema as a means of exploring representations of bodies on screen. Cinema, Connor argues, turned “images into a nexus of different social relationships where power and privilege take part.” The affect of cinema used to be more mediated, but in more contemporary technology—in which viewers participate, rather than being passive recipients of the image—“the relationship becomes much more dynamic.” As a result, Connor believes, artists have become reinvested in images of bodies on screen. “Images play such an important role in social life, and it’s particularly interesting to look at images that look like people.”