The Panel at the End of the Earth

If you’re going to end a year-long journey that put you through the heights of incredible achievement and the lows of personal bottoming-outs, taught you more about humanity and yourself than any class you’ve ever taken, and helped you get to know some fantastic human beings along the way… you should probably end that journey on as high a note as you can. Would you agree, dearest readers? I wouldn’t exactly call my art exhibit ‘ended’ just yet, but my major public responsibilities in and around the show ended on Wednesday night with a panel discussion about the role of porn in today’s society. And it was definitely, absolutely, a high note.

Madison Young, Dan Reilly, Sinnamon Love, Cindy Gallop, Sarah Forbes, Tina Horn, and yours truly sat down and talked about porn. Specifically whether porn is educational or entertaining, and how it can best continue being what it is in tough financial times, in the face of piracy, in the face of homogeneity in entertainment, in the face of the vast silence that surrounds sex and porn, in the face of ignorance about sex workers, in the face of prejudice against sex workers… and so on.

It would be silly for me to try to recap all of the incredible things that were said at this panel. To put it bluntly, I managed to put together a group of extremely intelligent, well-rounded, articulate, and forward-thinking people who all come from different backgrounds and have different points of view on pornography and sexuality. And they talked for an hour and a half. And it was riveting. Luckily, apexart filmed the whole thing and the footage will be available online soon (I’ll link to it when that happens), so there will be a chance for the whole world to hear Sinnamon Love discussing ways for the porn industry to move forward against the grain of piracy by utilizing more live streaming technology, Cindy Gallop discussing her plans to “socialize sex” so it can be talked about openly and honestly, Madison Young pontificating on the importance of authentic pleasure in pornography (and Dan Reilly, our only male, agreeing with her very vocally), Sarah Forbes bringing up the difficulties in educating newbies about sex-positivity, and Tina Horn discussing the importance of hardcore fucking in feminist porn. Trust me, if you care about these topics, or just love hearing people talk about sex, you’ll want to see this footage.

The art show is not over, and I do hope that hundreds more people will make their way to 291 Church Street to check it out before it’s over. But as the last major public event in conjunction with Consent, the panel was all I hoped it would be. A bunch of smart people talking openly about their experiences and thoughts in and around pornography, opening up their minds and hearts to an audience that was receptive, warm, and ready to listen. This is the kind of thing that could be happening more, and I’m so happy to have been able to bring it to the art world and beyond. Though there are things about the show that I wish I’d had more time to change, it is nonetheless is important. These issues need to be brought up in contexts outside the inner circles of pornographers and allies–they need to be addressed to anyone who’s ever had anything to do with porn. In other words, almost everyone. I’m so happy to have had a small part in helping this happen. And it is happening.

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