Eccentric Exhibition: Let’s leave behind moral apprehensions and let’s appreciate the sexual cinema in its critical visual discourse.
In world history, there are erotic-sexual expressions in all arts, both literary and visual. Sadly, the idea that was born in the Middle Ages to pigeonhole sexual desire in Lust and name it Capital Sin, is something we have not been able to completely eliminate from the structural basis of our societies. We are taught since childhood that the words modesty, reluctance, reserve, sobriety, seriousness are qualities worthy of being shown publicly and are what sustain us in a morally accepted environment. Everything that is far from these concepts becomes obscene and far from the right, what we openly desire as “good” beings.
There is a dividing line between the morally accepted and the clandestine that moves according to the current cultural and religious conventions; but there is a common indicator: everything that is related to sexual desire, with genital or other sexually explicit expressions is intended for the shadows of the hidden and forbidden. Welcome, then, to the universe of pornography: all material that, through the explicit description of both bodies and sexual acts, generates excitement. But can we limit pornography to this definition?
One might think that in this universe fits all thought and unthought by humans, especially since the film industry has made porn a round business, but no. Pornography has not been as open as we would like. Why? It’s simple: the pornographic production is also governed by the social norm, which makes its evolution to the present day marked and protected (even when it has grown underground) by a double standard and heteropatriarchal society, that while judges and condemns the sexual desire of a person, normalizes the objectification of a particular body -the feminine- and produces materials designed for the enjoyment of a single type of individual -the heterosexual man-, perpetuating the idea that “weak sex” wants nothing more than to satisfy the phallocentric fantasies of its protagonists.
Luckily for everyone, society is a living entity and is changing. And with it, change the porn too. For example, complicating phallocentric reading from homoerotic desire or from feminist incursion into pornographic production, but also from appropriations outside the heterosexual binary, broadening the spectrum of the forms of sex representation in the films. This transformation of porn is associated with independent cinema and also involves the idea of film-essay; where the sexual scene seeks to establish a critical discourse and not purely excite, as well as tell something more than the act itself, and even transform (really) into educational material for sexual freedom, simultaneously covering the political and the pleasant.
“Eccentric: International Exhibition of Critical Pornographies” It is situated in this spectrum of contemporary porn. It brings together 30 works from 13 different countries in screenings that have been curated according to a particular theme, which evidences its discursive possibilities. These themes are:
“Pornographic Saturations: Colors, textures and transgressions” In these times (and to our regret) still prevails the idea that mind and body are separate entities, and that both philosophy and art appreciation distance themselves from the corporeal, physical. This relegates the explicit image of the sexual act to a place devoid of beauty and aesthetic sense that is openly recognized. In my view, this cannot be more wrong. We, as human beings that we are, cannot separate our thoughts from our desires and our sensory capacity, so all that we want and provoke us, we also like and we can appreciate it aesthetically, even if unconsciously. That is why, together with Nicola Ríos, we have set out to expose in this screening all the aesthetic and artistic potential that these audiovisual works of explicit sexual themes have. A selection where, through 7 short films, we explore the infinite ways in which pleasure travels from the visual to the capillary, and from the bodily to the non-human, in a gradient that defies labels, structures, moral conventions, and genders. This screening is an aesthetic proposal that is spun through color, textures, and shapes. Bodies in motion are read in detail until they are disassembled, extracted from their context, subjected to lysergic scenes and placed in relation to other elements. Surfaces that become abstract entities that complete an alchemist and symbolic equation. 7 films (like the 7 keys) where what can be socially read as immoral and obscene is claimed as sexual, political and aesthetic enjoyment.
“Learning through the hair: the educational potential of porn” Curated by Lina Bembe, Mexican performer and porn director, based in Berlin. She has worked in different pornographic spheres, from the mainstream to queer post-porn, so she has had an important presence in different European erotic and pornographic film festivals. In recent years he has worked in front and behind the scenes for Sex School, an explicit sex education web platform. In 8 short films, Lina explores the ability of pornography, through its various narratives, to contribute in sex education including, from a broader perspective, issues that so far have never been touched in formal education, such as diversity, agency, validation, representation, identity, sexual practices, political speeches, dissidents, etc. Far from the moral constraints of society, “you just have to forget the prejudices and be very attentive to the fact that sex and sexuality are issues as ignored as expansive, from which you can learn continuously”. Whether on purpose through works dedicated to the teaching of sexual practices, or not; pornographic representation has a wealth that makes it able to reach where official sex education has not been able to reach. Let’s see its potential.
“Vulnerability Porn” Curated by Érica Sarmet and Andiara Ramos Pereira. Érica Sarmetes is a Brazilian screenwriter, film and audiovisual director and researcher. Curator at various festivals in Europe, she is founder and curator of Cineclub Quase Catálogo, dedicated to women in film direction. As director, she has made the experimental short film “Latifundio” (2017) and is currently working on his next film «Uma paciência selvagem me trouxe até aqui» («A wild patience has brought me here»). Meanwhile, Andiara Ramos Pereira (Dee Dee) is an activist, researcher and creator of TV, film and the Internet content. He participated in autonomous groups, such as the feminist collective Maria Bonita RJ. Responsible for organizing a series of post-pornography events in Rio de Janeiro. In audiovisual, she has worked in various productions, highlighting achievements for Canal Futura, CINEBRASiLTV and ESPN Brasil.In addition, he has participated in award-winning teams at the New York Film Festival and Promax BDA Latin America, among other festivals. In a 10 short films selection “connected by that sense of delivery that articulates body exposure as a political practice in pornography”, the curators talk about the recognition of the vulnerability of the bodies, using it as an act of political resistance. The protagonists are socially marginalized subjects, but agents of their own voice and desires through self-exposure, even when these desires are talking about practices such as submission, humiliation and other ways of being delivered to another body.
In addition, the Opening Session introduces trans-iclusive feminism and the limits of pleasure, with 3 films: Etérea (Gil Inoue y Gabriel Dietrich, 2019) that present a video clip of the Brazilian musician Criolo, where they make 8 performers from different groups of Sao Paulo converge, making visible subjectivities that resist violence towards sexual dissidence in Brazil; the short film “Físting Club EP1 (Shu Lea Chang, 2019), film in which performs a parody of The Fight Club (1999), where known sex performers meet for the creation of a renewed fisting-punk-queer; and the feature film W/hole (Mahx Capacity, 2019), Produced by AORTA films and A.O. Movement Collective, a feminist, anti-oppressive and trans-inclusive pornographic choreography, where the trauma becomes an orgasm and pain in a corporealized, transformative and politically radical enjoyment.
The Closing Session relates two audiovisual works through the water as a structural concept, one poetically and the other ecological. Start with the short film Take me like the Sea (Germany, 2017), dissident and choral experimentation that evolves into a pornographic orchestra guided by classical music. And it ends with the feature film Water Makes us Wet (U.S.A., 2019), in which Beth Stephens, Annie Sprinkle and the dog Butch explore the pleasures and policies of H2O from an ecosexual perspective, where the metaphor of “mother earth” shifts to the “lover earth“, creating a more reciprocal and empathic relationship with the natural world .
The exhibition will be inaugurated on January 23 in Valparaíso, in the Insomnia Hall (ex-Condell Theater) and will be presented in Santiago in Sala K at the end of this month.
If you want to deepen the content of each screening, you can find mini-reviews (under construction) of these in the following links. Enjoy!