EYEBLAZE #8 INDIA SONGNovember 23, 2012
Pornography panel speaker profile: Alex DymockDecember 5, 2012
By Diarmuid Hester
This Saturday, 8th of December at 2pm One+One: Filmmakers Journal with the London Underground Film Festival presents “New Adventures in Pornography,” a screening and round table discussion on contemporary theories of the pornographic. This week we will be profiling each of our speakers and asking them a few incriminating questions.
We begin with Dominic Fox, a musician, poet and programmer who is best known for his fiercely theoretical blogs Poetix and Counter Erotics. His book Cold World: The Aesthetics of Dejection and the Politics of Militant Dysphoria (Zero Books, 2009), a mad mix of literature, politics and music, attempts to distill from the art of dejection and despondency an unlooked-for political potential. It’s fucking awesome and was rightly praised when it came out: Reza Negarastani called it “a haunting sermon from the world of the dead” and it was chosen as a core text of The London Consortium’s MA course, “Coldness: Towards a Political Thermodynamics of Culture.” Following our discussion, on Wednesday 12th December Dominic will be speaking about the ethics and aesthetics of black metal at Kingston University with UK academic Scott Wilson and American art theorist Amelia Ishmael.
One+One: What is pornography?
DF: Pornography is a genre in which sex acts appear under a regime of commercial utility: as sex for sale and for purchase, as something you do in order to realize a commercial value. (This is also true of “amateur” pornography: the producers may be unpaid, but the form of what they produce, in conformance with the rules of the genre, remains the form of a commodity) . Pornography subjects sex to a programme of explication: its “explicitness” is not the unmediated visibility of bodies and pleasures, but a making-visible of gender, through which it simultaneously exercises and propagandises a (masculine-coded) power of sexual access. Pornography has pretensions to educate, to teach us things we didn’t know about sex; the underlying lesson, however, is invariably the same: that sexual enjoyment is identical with consumption (buy this vibrator! Wear this latex costume! Liberate your desires by browsing this online catalogue of near-identical scenes of anal penetration!). As a sexual being in the pornographic universe, your relationship to enjoyment is codified with a brutal simplicity: you can have, or be, the best sex that money can buy.
One+One: The worst thing about porn is…
DF: The worst thing about porn is the truth-effect it produces, the efficiency with which it installs its stupid fictionalisation of sex as the unveiling of a suppressed reality. The second worst thing is that so much of it is so astoundingly ugly and boring.
One+One: The best thing about porn is…
DF: The best thing about porn is that there is now so much of it that the commercial viability of the porn industry is entering a serious decline. Perhaps in a few years the Library of Anal will finally be complete, and we will be able to seal it off and encase it in concrete as a monument to human venality.
One+One: Who is your favourite porn star?
DF: Stoya [above], the peerless Stakhanovite of affective labour; a performer whose simulated enjoyment convinces even herself of its spontaneous authenticity.
One+One: Who is your favourite porn theorist?
DF: Andrea Dworkin, so there. My ambition is to produce a kind of monstrous synthesis of Dworkin and Alain Badiou – an innovation that I doubt anyone will welcome, but which has imposed itself on me as a strange sort of duty.