Just when you thought Halloween couldn’t come soon enough, a giant cell phone has been spotted wondering the streets of Provincetown, Mass. Artist Tim McCarthy, the man wearing the costume that resembles a Grindr app profile on a giant iPhone, has been wandering the streets hoping to raise both eyebrows and awareness about HIV.
In addition to the costume, which also reveals his own half-naked body, McCarthy, has been handing out fake samples of HIV tainted semen and blood to curious onlookers, all in an attempt to raise awareness of the risks that online hookups pose to users in the form of sexually transmitted infections like HIV.
He's also recording the spectacle, incuding the "audience" reaction and posting it all online for his awareness project, dubbed "R U The 1?" The awareness project is meant to get people talking about the prevalence of HIV among users of online hookup apps. The project, along with an accompanying Facebook page come with the intentionally equivocal tagline: "Are you the one I’ll spend a night with? The rest of my life with? Or the one who gives me HIV?"
“The concept is meant to be disturbing," McCarthy said in a statement. "We want to engage guys — especially young guys — in a conversation about HIV that seems to have lost momentum. The Internet and smartphones have changed gay culture and how we meet one another. There’s no shame in meeting online for sex. But if guys knew about the prevalence of new HIV infections, they might do more to prevent its transmission.”
Along with the test tubes, McCarthy is also distributing a pamphlet detailing some statistics concerning HIV as well as some helpful tips for safe online dating. See video of McCarthy below.