Consent: Careening through Curatorial Carnality

How’s THAT for an alliterative title, folks? I love alliteration when I’m writing about porn and sex. I know it’s hokey. I know it’s campy. But it’s an aside to often deadly-serious subject matter that brightens my day. Of course, I’ve long suspected that I have the sense of humor of a 70-year-old man (for instance, I adore puns), but so what? I like my rants to be rife with ridiculous reams of consonants.


I’ve been doing interviews with porn consumers for this art show at apexart I’m curating in the spring (March 21 – May 12). Most of them are just friends who have an interesting perspective on the subject matter, and I’m really just getting started. So far I have about six under my belt, and I’ve got eight more scheduled in the next two weeks. We’ve been talking about people’s experiences with pornography and how they have or have not thought about them. How those experiences have or have not changed the way they view sex or sexuality. How they’ve affected relationships, self-awareness, and understanding of the issue of consent. It’s been fascinating so far. I’d always known in the abstract, of course, that the way people think about these things is as varied as anything else about human nature–infinitely. But these conversations have made me realize just how much people differ on topics of sexuality, and how much they’re the same. For instance, I’ve spoken to people who have used pornography regularly for their entire adult lives, sometimes to a point of near obsession, and yet have spent an incredibly small amount of time reflecting upon what that means for their experience of sex or their understanding of themselves. But then others have amazed me with the depth of their reflections upon their habits and desires. Some are blithely unconcerned; some are deadly serious. It’s absolutely riveting. And I’m sure there’s more learning to come from them. I can’t wait.

On January 17th I’ll fly to Burbank for a few days to collect as many interviews with porn industry insiders as humanly possible there, until flying to Las Vegas on the 20th to catch even more performers, directors, producers, etc. in Sin City for the AVN awards and AEE expo. These interviews will cover the same general topics as the consumer interviews, but of course branch off into other areas. It’s interesting for me, right now, to realize that I have no idea what I’ll end up talking about out there–every time I do another interview with a consumer here in NYC–and I’ll also be interviewing a few industry insiders here in the city, of course–I notice my perspective shift just a little bit. Each time I talk to someone new, my area of interest expands and colors itself just a tad. By the time I get to Vegas, who knows what I’ll be talking about.

The idea here is that after these are all over, I will have hours upon hours of video interview footage, which I will cut up and arrange according to topic, then layer with clips from actual porn. I very much like the idea of layering porn footage with audio clips of people discussing pornography; I like the idea of watching other people watching these videos and tracking their levels of arousal–both intellectual and physical. I like the idea of pulling people together in a space to watch porn on its own terms (that’s another installation) but to also think about it. Reflect upon it. Find themselves inside a discussion of what it means to be a person in the modern world who deals with pornography in whatever way, realize that we are all in this discussion space together, and the more we talk, the more interesting it gets.

So basically… I’m having a blast, you guys. I hope you’ll all come out to the show!

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