Berlin has received with open legs Mindpirates' current event, Art Porn Week. Until Saturday, you will have the chance to take part in their diverse program: from movie screenings to interactive performances and even workshops – and there are still two days to enjoy it!
Inside The Dark Rooms
When I arrived at the opening last Wednesday, I met a huge crowd of young art enthusiasts queuing in front of the venue. Everyone had brought along their curiosity and the expectations were high. Once inside, I found myself in a sex-ridden labyrinth with different installations and dark corners to explore.
After walking around for a bit, I finally spotted Cy Lurinic, the head curator and organizer of the event. In front of a mirror that read "You are somebody's reason to masturbate!!!," she explained to me the idea behind this project. Noticing a lack of space for art porn movies, she began organizing screenings here and there. After a while, it became necessary to make something new, something bigger – it was time for Art Porn Week.
This is a similar feeling I had when I decided to create Pornceptual. Bored of commercial pornography, I realized that there was a need to try something different.
No horny teenager can complain about our Internet times. If once pornography was confined to dark hidden rooms in the back of rental video stores, it is now easily available. You can access it anywhere and whenever you want and you don't even need to pay (for most of it). Since it's so hard to control the web, it has been almost a free territory: graphic content was never so praised in the history of mankind.
I mean, if you want to watch a dwarf fucking a horse or collect pictures of naked celebrities, all you need it is a tiny bit of research – it's that simple. For that same reason, it has been said that Internet killed our sexual imagination. In a recent article published in Dazed and Confused, Walter Pfeiffer exposes this idea. For him, the virtual world is a space where anything is accessible and very little is censored. "Take pornography for example, a subject that has its own rich history, in an online realm it is no longer confined to one medium – there are videos, GIFs and stills. Every possible scenario, fantasy or desire is played out on the internet for all to discover. In that sense, one is no longer left to imagine."
Although I strongly agree with Pfeiffer's idea that the Internet has been devastating our imaginative skills, I believe that he fails to explain the reason why. For him, "It kills your imagination because everything is so real and so sharp." Yet I would argue the opposite: it kills because everything is so artificial and so distant from our own sexual behavior.
Porn has played an undeniable role when it comes to perpetuating stereotypes. Those clichés have such a powerful influence on our imagination, ultimately limiting our desires. This is mainly because all production of pornography follows a heteronormative line. Even gay porn is sexist: it's a domain for straight-looking guys that are fucking only for fun and there is no space for flamboyant sissies – unless they are being portrayed as submissive bottom sluts.
Art pornography appears then as an alternative to commercial porn: it injects the imagination into the field. And that's exactly the strength of Art Porn Week. Escaping from a predominantly male perspective, it gathers works that confirm that human sexuality is much more complex than commonly portrayed.
The most exciting moment of the opening was the screening of the "Curated Art Porn." The selection of short movies caused different reactions to the audience, which rated each one in intermitting clapping moments. The highlights were definitely Matt Lambert's Heile Gänsje and The Humping Pact.
A Complicated Dialog
I left the event with the understanding that the field of art porn is still very experimental. It's a genre that needs to be developed. I personally think that the challenge of art porn is still finding a perfect mix between both artistry and pornography. I have witnessed good works of art that are incapable of causing sexual arousal. Complementary, there is still a lack of concept and aesthetic quality in good pornography. For now, I'll sit and wait for the day when good art porn will cum.
Article by Chris Phillips