Sj7g09's Blog

The first line from the video in the previous post has really captured my imagination. To paraphrase, it’s Gail Dines asking what exactly can be considered artistic about a woman having a cock forced down her throat, and gagging. And I would argue, what exactly is not artistic about that? It makes the viewer feel something – whether this something is arousal or disgust or something in between. It raises so many issues on boundaries between high and low culture and what can be considered ‘art’. It also challenges free speech – that if free speech is worth anything, it must be that people can make material like this, even if it offends people, because that is their right. Free speech cannot just be for the people we agree ‘deserve’ it. Pornography illicits so much more of a reaction, I think, than gallery art. It is such a contentious issue at the moment, and is very tied to free speech, body autonomy, and reflecting, or challenging, mainstream norms and values, depending on your position on this. Like, one of the arguments Gail Dines uses against pornography is that it’s unimaginative and restricting peoples’ sexuality… therefore we should try to minimise pornography, like that isn’t restricting the sexuality and rights of people who want to use pornography… Anyway, I’ve never understood this argument, which has also been implemented by people at my school – that pornography is so completely mainstream and doesn’t challenge anything about society. Then why is there such a furor about pornography if it’s so mainstream? Why is it that people have to fight for their free speech to express themselves in this way? Also, that people tend to think of pornography as one set thing – tanned, blonde plastic young women – and therefore it doesn’t challenge mainstream values at all. But what about all the pornography that doesn’t fit these mainstream standards and is conveniently disregarded in debates – for example, pornography using models that are overweight, old, not fitting gender binary, etc. ? And does no one find it at all interesting how exaggerated the portrayals of ‘femininity’ have become in pornography that they come across as parody?

I think that mostly the point I want to make from the Gail Dines quote is that, in my opinion, a woman with a cock down her throat is certainly art. It may not conform to the aesthetic and coded language of high art, but it deals with the same sort of themes, and probably provokes more response and debate than a piece of ‘high’ art. And I dont think that these debates necessarily have to be just about porn – unfortunately pornography isn’t viewed in the same way as art is. If you see a high art painting of a naked woman, the implicit symbolism within art means that it could mean anything, could make comments on all manner of things, but if you have a ‘pornographic’ picture of a naked woman, it is just literally a picture of a naked woman. I think that pornography has so much to say about gender roles, free speech, the nature of capitalism, body autonomy, and a lot of other issues also, and that it’s missed because of it’s form. So the temptation is to convert these ideas from pornography into a more palatable form, conforming to the aesthetics and codings of high art, but why should it be necessary to do this when it’s quite possible that pornography itself is the best way of illustrating and commenting on itself and the issues around it?

At least it’s made with feeling – whether that feeling from the woman involved is pleasure or discomfort. The main point I want to argue is that even if people involved in pornography or modelling or erotic dancing, or any ‘sex industry’ umbrella term, hate what they’re doing, that shouldn’t mean that the way this is dealt with is to take away their right to do it, or the right of others to do it. Also, something that is very rarely pointed out is that it’s completely insulting to insinuate that porn models, dancers, etc. have no skill, no talent – that what they are doing isn’t artful, that anyone could do it. I think that people completely disregard that there are other skills required in order to excel in these jobs – confidence, assertiveness, independence, social skills – and it’s not just a case of “you have the right sort of body, you’re in!” This may sound a little silly, but why is it that sexual skills are devalued? I realise that they’re probably not much good in other areas of life, or other possible careers, but that if you’re a porn model, then it is skillful and a talent that you are able to perform certain acts. And time for a slightly reactionary comment that I’m sure will come out wrong, but I think perhaps Gail Dines should attempt having a cock put down her throat in front of a camera, then say whether it’s artful or not.

(Funny how violent that sounds when an act like that is applied to someone who clearly would object to it, when it’s not the act itself that is violent, it’s the reaction or perceived reaction. ‘I wouldn’t want to do it, because I think it’s universally violent, so no one else will want to, or should want to, or should be able, to do it either!’ sort of thinking.)

This is one of the best, most informative videos I’ve seen on YouTube about pornography…

It really expresses the different sides to this, and I can’t help but see that those opposing pornography really are trying to take away freedoms from people who just want the right to continue with their career. It seems like instead of porn and pornographers trying to interfere with the lives of people who don’t want to watch porn, it is instead that people who don’t want to be involved with porn constantly interfering in the lives and careers of people who want to be left alone to do what they consider acceptable. It’s nice to have something that isn’t ridiculously one-sided, but instead shows both sides of the argument. Just seems to me that the pro-freedom side of the debate makes a lot more sense.

It always makes me angry to read articles that imply that basically all women of my generation are feminists, but are too embarrassed to admit it. Like the only reason women could ever not agree with feminism is that they’re worried about boys thinking they’re silly, and that it’s the courageous thing to do to be able to stand up and say “I am a feminist.” I am not a feminist, and I would say that I’ve had a lot of criticism and disbelief at my stance, and the idea that the only reason I would say I’m not a feminist is because I don’t understand it, or want to look ‘cool’ in front of my peers is insulting. I think there’s a very big difference between believing in equal rights and believing in feminism – they are not the same thing. Feminism looks for inequalities everywhere, because of the ideology it subscribes to, and subsequently finds inequality everywhere, especially where it is symbolic and there is no proof that it’s oppressing anyone.

I had a conversation last year with one of my lecturers, and said that I’m not a feminist, because I believe in the core value of equality, but that I believe that that is very different to ‘feminism’ in its current incarnation. Just as I would not call myself a Christian just because I believe that murder is bad, I refuse to subscribe to feminism just because I believe in one value that it sets out, but completely disagree with how it suggests this is achieved. People are far too willing to label themselves and change their life according to these labels.

This is a quote from an article in the Guardian, ” You’re not a feminist, but… What?” by Chloe Angyal:

“Feminism demands a complete overhaul of how we think, how we behave, how we talk, where we work, what media we consume, how we vote and how we raise our families.”

To me, this is the essence of feminism. It is completely hypocritical – followers are deterred from ‘patriarchal’ values, but these are simply replaced by other codes as to how you should live your life and form your identity, and this negates the only truly good thing feminism had – the idea that women should have free choice over how they think, how they behave, how they talk, where they work, what media they consume, how they vote and how they raise their families, amongst other things. In my opinion, feminism does not provide that choice, as it sets out other prescribed norms and values that you follow, or face being shunned.

I can only really speak for myself, but I don’t say that I’m not a feminist because I worry about fitting in, or having people say nasty things to me, labelling me according to stereotypes. If this were the case, it would be really stupid, seeing as most people I have ever met would say that they are feminists. This ideology is not the minority any more, and I would say that it’s a lot more challenging to actually go againist it and say that you’re not a feminist. For a start, you’ll have people telling you that you actually are a feminist, you just don’t understand what feminism is. Or people flat out telling you that you’re stupid if you don’t believe in feminism. I think this is the point – feminism is so hypocritical, it’s become what it set out to argue against. Feminists argue that women have been deterred from feminism because of peoples’ reactions and people trying to dissuade them from taking on this new ideology, but now feminism is that deterring force, trying to make people believe in this ideology because if you say that you don’t, you’re shunned, told you’re stupid, told that you don’t understand, guilted, told that you’re internalising patriarchy so aren’t entitled to an opinion.

I am not a feminist, and could never be a feminist, because I don’t believe in how this ideology conducts itself. It is hypocritical and underhanded, denying women their rights to choose if women do not agree with the ideology set out by feminism. I realise that there are different branches of feminism, but that is not enough of an argument to make me reconsider and think “oh, I can just define my views by a different sort of feminism”. That’s just weak. People shouldn’t need labels to validate their views. Unfortunately this means that feminism will pretty much always always win over the people it’s oppressing, because they have their club that most people now have a membership to, but can still claim that they are the oppressed minority, rather than that they’re being oppressive of others. As a woman, I feel oppressed by feminism. I do not want an ideology telling me how to live my life, simply because I happen to have been born female. I don’t want to be part of your club because of my genitals, thanks. I don’t want the extra protection that feminism wants to give me – I don’t want to ban lad’s magazines, or close strip clubs, or make counselling mandatory for prostitutes. I don’t want to lobby the government for yet more ridiculous laws to force everyone to be nice to each other, or come up with legislation that amounts to punishing people for thought crime. I know that this is not all feminism is, but, to me, these are all elements that are so very, very important to me that I could never even pretend to subscribe to an ideology that would make me complicit in these things. Ironically, I have more respect for myself than that. My views are very important to me and I won’t compromise them just so that people will respect me. I don’t feel that people I’ve spoken to, especially at university, respect my views, or me. Overwhelmingly, it’s always that I’m internalising, I’m stupid, I don’t understand, that I think what I’m doing is empowering but actually it isn’t (accompanied by pitying, self-righteous facial expression). Feminism is the norm, and it’s respected. I don’t live according to what looks empowering to everyone else – I really don’t care. I am not a representative of my gender, and will behave however I choose to, whether that looks symbolically degrading or not.

Just watching a BBC interview with Kat Banyard, which is fantastic, to see her views actually being deconstructed and challenged. I think that this highlights the absolute hypocrisy of feminism – Kat Banyard is against the sex industry and feels that it is one of the most detrimental forces in achieving equality, and sees the sex industry as exploitation towards women, conflating stripping, lap dancing, etc. with prostitution. In this interview, she defends womens’ rights to wear a burqa, as a choice that women should be able to make, and denounces how, in this issue, womens’ bodies are used as a battleground. Yet she doesn’t apply this thinking to women working in the sex industry – why can’t women choose to use their own body, which they should be seen as having ownership of, to work in an industry that she feels is exploitative? This is how feminism in general comes across to me – women have the right to make free choices about their own body, e.g. to have an abortion, but as soon as it’s about commercial sex, they’re too frail and vulnerable and exploited to have their views listened to. Particularly shown in Kat Banyard saying that abortion has to be a right for women, as they should have control over their own bodies, but that in the West we don’t label practices that are ‘harmful’ to women as violence, because they’re shielded by using words like ‘choice’ and ‘liberation’…. How can it be that women should not be allowed to make choices about their own bodies that they think are choice, or liberating, but have a higher authority outlawing these ‘choices’ because they don’t believe that they are the right choice?

And that laws changing to make sure women can go into any profession they wish regardless of their gender are good, but revoking this to make sure that women can’t work in the sex industry is good. How does that make sense? The idea that women still have to choose between a career and looking after their children, yet a lot of the time women choose to work in the sex industry because they want the more flexible working hours in order to spend more time with their family, but they’re looking to make sure that women can’t do this, can’t make this choice, and must have a job that they deem non-exploitative. What, exactly, in Capitalist society, is a job without exploitation?

In this Kat Banyard interview, I was hoping desperately that the interviewer was going to keep asking her about womens’ rights to choose abortion, to be a stay-at-home mother, to wear the burqa, with her answer always being that it’s about choice and body autonomy, but then to ask why these same principles can’t be applied to choosing to work in the sex industry. Unfortunately it didn’t happen, but the point is still extremely relevant, I think.

 

So, I am not a feminist, but please stop trying to convert me.

Posted on: December 10, 2010

A bit off-topic, but I’ve been thinking about this lately, in regard to the ‘do you want to do art or do you want to do something else?’ issue.  One of my biggest inspirations is the comedian Bill Hicks, who is my absolute favourite comedian, he’s just the best. And the fantastic thing about him is that he’s extremely funny, but not just for the sake of being funny. Pretty much all of the material he uses is political, and about all of the things that I think are really important. And his career sucked for a long time, with his shows getting censored, and always being told that it didn’t make any sense for him to be producing comedy to do with politics. That they were separate things, and people didn’t want to have to think, they just wanted entertainment. I don’t think I’ve ever really had people who I’ve seen as properly influencing me or being a ‘role model’ – whenever I was asked that sort of question as a kid, I’d just have to make something up, because I didn’t really feel that there was anyone who was that important or influential to me, but I think Bill Hicks is probably the closest thing to a role model that I’ve had. A little strange, but hey, anyone who suggests that when you’re on LSD and think you can fly you test this theory from the ground not from the top of a building, is pretty fucking sensible. But yeah, I’m not saying I’m like Bill Hicks, but I am saying that I’d like to be, because at least he stood up for what he believed in and kept trying. And that is such a lame way of putting that, that sounds such like tortoise-and-the-hare morals, but I don’t even think that with Bill Hicks the ‘success’ was from him becoming successful, it’s just that he didn’t compromise.

Video of Bill Hicks being a comedian, or not. He’s more something else than just a comedian, but I don’t know what the word is.

Maybe my work is actually shit. I never spend more than a day actually making anything – I can spend months thinking about it, but the actual process of creating it will never take me more than a day. I woke up at midday today, and I’ve already made a video. And I guess maybe that’s the point – that it’s probably not a very good video.

But, I wish I could get across the point that I want to explore lots of different ideas – pretty much all of the things I make could rightfully be seen as ‘not finished’ in the sense that if I worked on them for weeks and weeks then they’d change and they might be ‘better’. But I really think that the only way in which they would be better is visually. I feel that making lots of different things quickly helps me to develop the ideas, and to see what’s working, or not working, and continue from there. This one of the things I’ve always despised about how art is taught – it seems like there’s the expectation that you will pick an idea and just keep doing it ad nauseum until you’ve found the perfect combination of how to do it, and, for me, that isn’t art. Well, it is art, because I think that most things can be considered art, but that it’s not how art has to be in order to be ‘art’. I don’t want to pick one idea and do it to death at the expense of thinking about anything else, because the only thing that I really, really want to do is transmit ideas, and however the thing is presented, it will have the same ideas. I understand that certain ways of presentation are going to make people think about the ideas more, but I really don’t think that trying to make art more ambiguous is a good way of transmitting a message. It seems like most popular art conforms to the well-respected criteria that it should be poetic, mysterious, and basically unreadable. It doesn’t matter what your work intends to say, so long as it says it in the right way. It seems like most art is ‘art’ because it’s framed in the context of being art, and doesn’t tell the viewer anything, so the viewer leaves thinking that it’s cleverer than it actually was. Art, like drama, unfortunately seems to be suffering “it’s-up-to-the-viewer’s-interpretation” syndrome, which, to me, shows a lot less care and consideration than looking at something with a clear opinion. My work doesn’t show care because I use sellotape, other work doesn’t show care because it’s the done thing to just say “I want the viewer to project their ideas onto it”, which is code for “I have no ideas, so I need the viewer to assume there are ideas and make them up themselves.” Fine, great, by all means do that, but it’s still stupid. I just desperately don’t want to end up creating art that is wishywashy. It’s pointless. I used to paint portraits, and it was pointless. Of course, my parents will always ask me why I don’t paint portraits any more, presumably wanting me to go back to doing something that they understand as art and are allowed to see. I don’t exactly feel much like sharing my work with them, just like I don’t particularly feel like sharing my work with my school, seeing as neither are especially nurturing of what I want to do. “It’s not art. If you wanted to do this, you should have done politics or sociology or psychology or joined a campaign group…” etc. But why isn’t it art?

I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that I think if I keep on working how I am, I’ll keep making links between the different ideas, and they’ll keep changing. I made a video today, and it probably isn’t especially good – I feel like the premise is mildly insane, while being unsure whether if I showed it at school this would be interpreted as artistic and poetic, or amateur and pathetic. I think it’s good for me to break away from the prostitution/trafficking clearcut issue for a bit, if only to make the suggestion that that’s not specifically what my work is about. I get the feeling that if you read my work literally, it comes across a lot like a school project, like a presentation on why <“contentious issue”> is <good/bad>, and that’s feels really stupid if it’s viewed solely as that. I wouldn’t mind the work having the feeling of a school project if that was just part of the work – the propaganda is a lot like a school project, expressing the most simple views without really thinking about them.

But I get the feeling that potentially all my work is read as is “sex work is bad/good”, rather than applying it more to the general issue of body autonomy and ownership of bodies. My video from today touches on these issues more, although it’s probably not at all clear. Although, unclear, obscure and saying nothing seems to be the marking criteria 😉 Anyway, I felt faintly ridiculous, not because I’m dressed in Mouse ears, a dog collar, and pawprint gloves, but because I’ve tried to express everything I want to say in the video in ‘meow’s. Yes, it sounds stupid, and it felt stupid, and it really sounds like the sort of idea that someone’s doing just to look quirky, but I wanted to try it because it’d been on my mind for a while, in regard to women seen like animals, treated like animals, ‘human pets’, all linking to body autonomy and who has ownership over you. Like, if you allow an individual to have ownership over you, can you ever really consent to ‘slavery’, ‘abuse’, etc. when our legal system doesn’t allow you the ownership of your body to decide to do that, so really you still belong to the State. With things how they are at the moment, with government and law able to dictate what you can and cannot do with your own body, you do not own your own body. Similarly, no other individual can own your body, because you can’t consent to them ‘owning’ you like a ‘slave’, and consent doesn’t matter in issues of abuse, like with the Spanner case. So the only thing you can ever really belong to is the State, which is interesting considering all the ideas of women ‘selling’ themselves in prostitution, because how can they sell something that doesn’t even belong to them?

The video is all subtitled, because it would have been fucking stupid to just have me meowing at the screen for 4 minutes with no explanation, although I don’t think what is actually said is all that important in comparison to the themes within it. It’s not especially clever or well thought-out, but at least it’s made me think about issues of ownership and buying, selling, consent, etc.

My current projects aren’t going well. I want to work in video, but feel I want to do something too ambitious, so I’m putting it off.

I have a number of projects that I’m planning at the moment, but may never ever come to fruition. Some of them are still pending from last year, and I haven’t done anything with them, even though I should, just so I can see that they’re bad ideas and let them go.

Most of the ideas I have are that I want to create ideological, political pornography. That’s not to say that it’s necessarily intended to arouse, and certainly it wouldn’t be intended as its ‘sole or primary purpose’ is to arouse, but that it would show whatever is being documented explicitly. There’s no point in not showing something, unless there’s a good reason, and that reason shouldn’t be to do with morals, offense or obscenity. One of the things I want to do is create a video that isn’t ‘pornographic’ in the sense of showing sexuality, but instead shows the sort of acts associated with pornography, but that are also considered ‘violent’. I’m trying to be realistic about this, so as much as I think it could be brilliant to be properly beaten on film, it’s probably going to have to be limited to restraining, slapping, spitting, hair-pulling, all within the context of being humilated, degraded, abused, precisely for wanting the freedom to do that. Or something along those lines. I want there to be a parallel between the sort of bondage that the government/legal system believes to be harmful to society, and the sort of bondage that the government/legal system inflicts on society in the name of keeping order, and that the second one is real, and there isn’t a safeword. There are so many themes and issues within this that I haven’t tried to start making it, because I want to be clear about what I’m doing, but for some reason I just can’t get it straight in my mind. I know exactly how I want to do it though, in regard to the method used, as I think that any actor or artist who won’t actually subject themselves to the things that they purport to be representing are fake. I don’t think that you can act something well, unless part of you believes that what you’re doing is real, which is great, because I’m very able to suspend by disbelief in this sort of thing. So obviously I’m always going to know that it’s safe, but I think that seeing as I won’t have any awareness of what’s actually going to happen (no script, and not being told in advance what the other person is going to do) at least it won’t be completely contrived. At least it will be a real representation of what it is – me having asked someone to do these things to me, because of how having my freedom of expression limited makes me feel.

Secondly, I want to work  with the idea of art as prostitution. Original, I know. But the idea of the viewer having all the power, control, authority, and being able to dictate what the artist does. “Don’t try to please me, except for all the pleasing me.” Why is it more ethical to have people try to change my ideas to get me a good grade to enable my future prospects, than it would be to just say “suck me off and I’ll give you a good grade/job”? Maybe that’s a little extreme, but I found a notebook from my first year at university, and I’d written about how much more vulnerable I felt at having my work (which also happened to be photographs of my naked body) scrutinised academically by university staff than I felt showing my naked body sexually for money to strangers. And it’s completely, completely true. It’s incredibly less ‘degrading’ to ‘sell’ your body sexually than it is to show your body academically, and, more than that, to have to speak on demand about what you’ve done, justify it, give it context, and know that people can just say that they don’t like it, don’t think you should have done it, do something different next time. I guess this is the essence of criticism and I’ve never been at all good at taking criticism, but I feel that it’s more than that. Within an institution like this, there is a very clear hierarchy of authority, and authority is still something to be listened to, forcefully respected, and, because of that, if you don’t bend your ideas to whatever the authority suggests, you’re being insubordinate, you’re not showing respect, you’re not taking on board criticism and what’s the point in you being here if you’re not going to listen and improve yourself?

I want to make the videos really low-quality, webcam or camera-phone standard, because it’s obvious that that sort of image is what captures the public imagination and terrifies censors. The amount of things that have been cut just because it’s filmed by a hand-held camera. So I want to experiment with that. I plan on shooting the film about the “viewer” as a PoV shot, so the viewer of the film immediately identifies with the viewer in the film. We’ll see how it goes anyway.

The other film idea is markedly less pornographic, but requires more acting. I want to present a slideshow from an anti-porn website, preferably just using the script and slides they provide, but maybe improvising just to talk to the audience. An audience that obviously won’t exist, but I want to act as though they do. All these ideas sound so shit when you actually write them down… they’d probably look better if I made them rather than just talking about them.

My ultimate (perverse) artistic dream is to create a grainy, webcam or camera phone video as a fake snuff film, with blood packs and everything. Perhaps slightly contravening the OPA, but if it’s ok in a film (although, is it ok in a film…?) surely it’s fine to just make for my own curiosity. The person I live with is currently involved in a production of “The Pillowman”, and are having to sort out blood packs and how to break them inside a hood placed over one of their cast’s head for when he’s executed by Detective Tupolski, so all of this has sparked my desire to create something similar, but filmed, and therefore transcending the fantasy/reality barriers of stage. Obviously I’m more than happy for it to be political as well, so I’m taking a lot of influence from the play. I’m fine with being slapped, spat on, verbally abused, for my art, but where’s the line? The line might just be syrup-based fake blood in my hair….

(Considering going back and highlighting the ‘FAKE’ bit of ‘fake snuff film’, just so if I ever end up in court it can’t be paraphrased so easily into ‘snuff film’… Although, who cares about facts? Let’s just make sure we’re sending the right message.)

I’ll just start typing and see what happens. I’ll have to try to be more well-behaved than usual though, in case I do decide to give out a link to this site to my school. Not that that will really do anything, considering all the things I say in every other post on my blog, but still. May as well just write it honestly and edit it later.

I had a tutorial today. They’re often the sort of thing that make me think maybe it’s time to pack it all in and not bother any more. Perhaps it’s just me, perhaps it’s just that I’m really that bad at what I do that anything could tip me over the edge into deciding to give it up. One of the most frustrating things about tutorials at my school, obviously not just limited to this specific one, is how often you will be told to do things that you’ve already done. Most often, this is telling you to write things down and cite your influences and write about your context as an art practitioner. Last year was worse, because I was writing constantly and no one would read it. I gave out the link to my blog to a number of staff members who proceeded to never, ever look at my blog, despite them saying every single week that they just hadn’t got round to it yet, but they promise they absolutely will. I got one member of staff to see my blog, but only because I took in my laptop in an assessment to force them to look at it – so obviously they couldnt read any of it, they just saw that there was lots of writing on it and some pictures. Funnily enough, I’ve been told this year by that same person that I should have kept up with using my blog because it was really effective. Last year my assessment told me that it was inaccessible to my target audience, so I was discouraged and partially stopped using it.

So when being told today to make sure I had things about context in my work, I was pretty annoyed at the assumption that I dont do this anyway, and said that I write lots, but I write less than last year seeing as I wrote constantly and no one cared and no one was interested and no one read it and they just all asked where the pictures were. It’s encouraging to have someone then ask me to email them some writing so they can read it, although I can’t help but think that it’s partly just to save face. All the staff at my school seem to do pretty much the same thing – I offhandly complain that one of their colleagues has said something or done something unprofessional, and they say that it didn’t happen, and then reconsider and say that it probably did happen, but for the right reasons. So to me, this just feels like an active way of doing that. I think I’ve earned the right to be wary of them.

Anyway, what came out of the ‘discussion’ was that perhaps I’m not suited to doing art at all. My work is ideological, I should do something ideological with it. Politics, sociology, academia, writing, ideology of representation, do one of those instead. Or work within the narrow frame of what art is – poetic, transforming something into something else.

I’m willing to tell my blog, although perhaps not if I give this link to this person, that I mostly do not understand what this person is saying. I never really understand what I’m being asked, or being told, just because of the words used. That’s not to say that I don’t understand the words, more that I don’t understand the specific meaning of the words within this conversation. Words take on infinite meanings when there’s a real person actually saying them – what the word means to me may be totally different to how the person intended it, and so I don’t like to really say anything, partly because I fear I’m going to be told I’m wrong. Not just wrong about understanding the words or the questions or the sentences, but wrong for what I think. Like, I’m not all that certain on what constitutes ‘art’ for this particular tutor, but I don’t feel that I necessarily agree with it because it seems so very, very narrow. Plus, why should his view of what art is dictate how I see art, and my own place within creating art, or not, as the case seems to be from his perspective? He isn’t the authority on this, and nor am I. He’s not wrong about what he’s saying, but equally he’s not right either. His views can’t be wrong, but they aren’t universal truth. I could say that I believe that art can be anything, and there may be theories that disagree with me, and people may try to prove differently and try to say that some things would fall under different, better placed headings, but, in my world view and semantics, the definition of art wouldnt necessarily have to change.

I don’t know what ‘art’ is. I don’t really understand what makes something art or not art, but does it really matter when this is just a theory that can never be truth? If I think that creating images with text on them like a charity advert is art, why shouldnt it be? I don’t see how it can really be better placed. It’s not advertising, and is there a term for a visual piece that’s ideology rather than ‘poetic’ that isnt art? Why should art need to be poetic anyway? I can’t stand poetic art, I’d much prefer something that’s to the point, or at least that can be analysed. I like there to be a right answer, even if there are lots of competing ‘right’ answers.

I feel like I’m being put under too much pressure to decide what I want to do. This course has always come across as quite vocational, although fuck knows what all the people on my course think they’re going to do with this qualification – I have the suspicion there aren’t that many ‘artist’ vacancies available. I don’t want to be an artist, I don’t want to be a designer, I don’t want to do advertising, I don’t want to teach, I don’t want to go into some boring obscure job that I haven’t even heard of yet. I’m not sure if the job I want really exists. I want to be able to create things, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be part of my job. I was thinking a few days ago about how lucky I am to have been encouraged in art, because it means that I get to think about things all the time, and, when I so choose, create a visual representation of the ideas. It’s nice to have that time to reflect and create something that solidifies the thoughts, and I hadn’t really considered that people who don’t create art don’t partake in this particular pleasure. Anyway, the thing that I really want to do is learn, and try to get my views across. I’ll concede that art is turning out to be a terrible way of doing that. I can go on all I want about art being a great way to transmit ideology, but high art really isn’t, because no one wants you to say anything. You’re allowed to talk about big things, so long as you dont actually talk about them, you just paint an ambiguous picture or something and then allow the viewers to make up their own mind. As I’ve mentioned before I think, with the subjects I work on, I dont feel that this is enough, because when people have been persuaded by the media and government to believe in falsehoods to do with things like the sex industry, showing someone a picture of an ambiguous thing to do with the sex industry will never be ambiguous because of all the connotations from the media and government that are linked to it. Creating something ‘ambiguous’, I think, has less space for people to think than creating something that intends to be provocative and one-sided. At least people might see the statements on my images and feel angry that they’re being told what to think.

I see films as probably the most effective way of getting across an ideological view. They’re accessible, and can transmit a message, potentially without the viewer even realising it. With traditional art, there’s the framing that you’re going to a gallery to learn, put on your sensible thinking hats, please, everybody. With a film, it’s surface purpose is entertainment – most people don’t view films to learn, but it’s something that can come about unintentionally. I think that films must be just about the most effective way of transmitting an idea, otherwise they wouldn’t get banned. The BBFC wouldn’t be so frightened of letting adults view whatever they want if they didn’t think that these films had the potential to change peoples’ views. So maybe I want to make films. I don’t have the skills or the knowledge or the equipment to actually make films, but I’d still like to try. Nor do I actually think that the things I produced would be really worthy of exposure, but that’s not really the issue. I think I’m expecting to be able to do unrealistic things – by being told that my work isn’t transmitting anything (my bedframe piece leaves no space for the viewer because it’s put together with sellotape), I’ve believed that I’m failing. I may not be able to get my views across to everyone, that’s impossible, but it’s nice to see that my blog has now had 34,000 views. Even if a lot of those were mistakes, or just looking for something specific, or whatever, at least some people might be interested in what I’m saying, and maybe that isn’t nothing.

Besides, I’m a young, female student who opposes government policy (just read about the government furor with Professor David Nutt, and you’ll recognise that the government policy on having advisors that disasgree with government policy isn’t especially tolerant), who has things on the internet that taint her credibility – I’m pretty much exempt from being able to work in anything to do with politics or the government. If the Lib Dems have to actively defend their choice to allow a female ex-porn director to be a candidate for them, and justify why she should be allowed to take any part in politics, I think I’m pretty much fucked. The school seemed worried for me last year, just mentioning anything to do with pornography on my blog, because it might mean that I’m linked to the ideas forever. But if the stigma wasn’t there, it wouldn’t be an issue, so why should I think and act and live according to ideas that I don’t believe in, just so I’m definitely not punished for it later?

The only things I can do are from the outside, if I can do anything at all. Either that, or reinvent myself, wait until someone at the BBFC finally dies, and try to take their job by being the most conservative, militant moralist that I can be, and end up becoming what I hate in the process. You can’t change things from the inside – once you’re on the inside it’s too late, unfortunately, or at least that’s how it seems.


  • fred whitacre jr: they don,t have any sex invaled why are we so againce children being nude in pictures because of alll the sick fucking rapetist out there children
  • fred whitacre jr: she only 12 but it is not porn at all it is nude only only a sick person would want to fuck her not me but i will tell you the true she is a very hot
  • fred whitacre jr: i see noghting wrong just a nude girl no porn that would be wrong with a child but not worng with a grown up only nude pics of children is ok if no se