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Fashion, Media

Porny Destricted makes Res crowd wild

Posted by Omar / November 25, 2006

Impaled.jpgAn acclaimed cinematic treatment that was all the rave at Sundance...an audacious work on display at the Tate Modern....a brave reinterpretation of sexual mores...

Uh huh. Let's cut the ol' crapola, as they say. This is a basically a collection of short art-house PORNO films. Any other subject, and everybody wouldn't be clamouring and waiting in long long lines to see this. PORNO by artists = PORNO without the guilt.

Destricted, the omnibus film that opened RESFEST 2006, asked seven filmmakers and artists from the 'art-scene' (pronoucned: ahwt), to make 20 minute pornographic films. This experiment seems to beg the question - can images of hardcore sex, freed from crass, patriarchal commercialism and treated with an artistic sensibility still manage to get you hot and bothered?

The answer...sort of.


Like many ensemble films, some pieces are good, some are, well...not. That, I think, can be blamed on the genre. However, there is something facetious to me in this whole exercise. First of all, does the position of the modern artist, as someone who must challenge the conventional, lead to a lot of pretentious anti-porn statements?

Typical of ensemble films, some pieces are engaging and others are less so. That, I think, can be blamed on the format.

Still at least four out of the seven films favoured intellect over the bawdy and made the crucial mistake of treating sexuality as some kind of clinical topic for satire or deconstruction. Sexuality, in all forms, should manage to stir passion and be vibrant, dare I say - even potent.

Take performance artist Marina Abramovic's contribution Balkan Erotic Epic. A deadpan Marina recounts various traditional Balkan sexuality rites in a satirical manner. And using actors or animation, she shows us these images. Of course they look ridiculous - they are meant to. Slavic women of all ages and sizes baring their breasts on a field, or catching rain on their vaginas, or naked men humping the earth are amusing to watch. Yes this makes some sort of point (though I didn't really come to any conclusions about that), but is it sexy?
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Famed American avant-garde artist Mathew Barney crafts a piece about a furry, moldy, leafy man-being making love to a deforestation machine. It's eerie, symbolic, disturbing and sort of sensual - but, pardon my bluntness, fails to stir the loins - unless you too are a moldy leaf man...

But on the other hand, Larry Clark's piece, Impaled seemed to hit all the right buttons. The film engages shy, awkward young men about how they want to be in porn and how they've been affected so much exposure to it. What will happen when one of the young boys, picked by Clark, gets to fulfill his fantasy and starts interviewing porn actresses? The film is rife with sexual tension.

That the young man who gets to fulfill his fantasy chooses a 40-year-old super flaky porn star with a strong libido takes us into Freudian territory. And like him or hate him, Freud gets into some hot shit. Neurotic psychology is a good fuel for sexual fantasy.

Clark, for all his controversy as a filmmaker, seems to embrace a kind of brutal honesty that works for the conceit of this project. He's not afraid to be in it, get messy with it, and relish in his own sleazy contradictions. Whatever comes across as disturbing, Clark's piece is full of visceral passion, and passionate fucking. Stirs the loins, yet makes you think. Nuff said.

Other stand outs included House Call by Richard Prince and Sync by Marco Brambilla. I think the best thing we can say about a project about Destricted is that its not a bad start to looking at pornography from a different point of view. But whether you're an intellectual artist or a sleaze merchant, a good porno must engage the mind and the body.

Discussion

2 Comments

mike / November 29, 2006 at 03:35 pm
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no comments thus far? for shame people. are we a bunch of breast hating heathens? i will be the first the stand up and applaud the brave use the exposed non-male chest.
Ze tall blonde one, over there / November 30, 2006 at 12:34 am
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Wh ythe insistence that the films be sexy? After all, wasn't the point more to examine porn than to make films that would sexually arouse people?
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