On the Magic of P()rnography
I desire to add complexity to what it is you perceive and experience when you encounter pornography. So much of what we understand, as a culture, about pornography is limited and limiting. Most cultural images of sexuality are driven by patriarchal white capitalist markets. They are riddled with oppression and repression. But the idea of pornography as a monoculture is false.
There are, and have always been, communities of queer, independent, ethical, feminist, political, alternative pornography makers. We are communities creating intersectional sexual images, working with our bodies to create counter-oppressive narratives about our sexualities and humanities.
Pornography has the potential to radically change our ideas of what sexual representation can be. It can offer us creativity, utopia, education, representation and validation. This is why I do this work.
My name is Almond [she/her]. I write this as a sex worker, a porn performer and a porn director. I’m a Mad fat queer cis-woman with a few disabilities and a history of trauma. I’m white, a settler on this land and was born in a middle-class family. I’m an ex-academic, a Berliner & a neuroqueer.
Throughout this project, I worked with 18 participants to develop and produce sexual scenes that felt exciting, empowering and true to them. I created video grids, guided reflections and an educational zine. This webpage has been adapted from the original installation form. It contains only censored images due to internet restrictions. Please see the exhibition brochure for the full uncensored version of the project.
Heartfull thank yous to each participant ~ Amanda (she/her), Bailey (they/them), Charlotte Sometimes (they/them), Dani Kriatura (they/them), Eija Loponen-Stephenson (she/her), Lily Philips (they/she), Luna Emuna (they/them), Malcolm LoveJoy (he/him), Matt (he/him), Rae (they/them), Robin Gaudreau (they/them),Ruchik (he/him), Stephen (he/him), Tommy (they/them)
WTF IS PORN? WTF ISN’T PORN?
When we consider the vast complexities and interwoven intersections of sexuality – all of the things that turn people on – we come to realize that porn is so much more vast than we could imagine. Instead of pondering how to define pornography, I propose we question what is not pornography. The definition of porn is only restricted by our acknowledgment of different sexual desires and pleasures.
Porn that is accessible + inclusive can give us creative and logistical ideas about what our sexualities can look like. Honest representation of our bodies and our minds can help us feel proud of our sexual identities. Porn can empower us. It can liberate us. It can bring us together.
PORN IS FREEDOM
Porn can be a celebration of sex, of sluts, of freedom. The freedom to share one’s sexuality, to have agency, autonomy, choice and orgasmic applause. The freedom to reimagine our sexualities – to choose how they are displayed in the realms of aesthetics, desirability, vulnerability, reality and production. This is about being seen and about sharing validation.
PORN IS EDUCATION
In worlds where institutions of care and education routinely fail to provide accurate & healthy sex-ed, pornography is a dominant source of sexual education. Like all media, mainstream pornography often recreates the tropes of oppression from white western power. This can be problematic, as so many people are being socialized with intimate and sexual [non]skills.
Regardless of how direct or indirect the education is, images and video act as mirrors for our identities & personhood. They teach whom among us are acceptable, desirable and worthy of praise. Alternative porn that subjectifies the complexity of our sexualities can transform sexual education.
PORN IS POLITICAL
All sex is political
All bodies are political
All porn is political.
PORN IS FEMINIST
Intersectional representation in sexual education is feminist.
Respecting sexual agency is feminist.
Learning embodied consent is feminist.
Exploring the orgasmic possibilities of your body is feminist.
Dismantling oppressive tropes about sexuality is feminist.
PORN IS A PRIVILEGE
It is both a privilege to consensually participate in and to consume porn.
Making porn requires risk. The risk of abandonment, of losing family, of losing employment, of losing housing, of losing adherence to social circles. The realities of social stigma and sexual moralism can be dangerous.
You, dear viewer, are in a position of privilege and power.
You have eyes, a screen, internet and privacy. You are finding pleasure in this thing that is very hot – and also very vulnerable for performers & makers. That pleasure comes with responsibility – and I’m calling on you to hold it with care.
Pay for your porn.
Pay performers directly.
Listen to sex workers.
Support sex workers.
Destigmatize sex work.
Decriminalize sex work.
PORN AND YOU
What is your relationship to pornography?
Have you ever paid for your porn?
Do you feel empowered by the pornography you consume?
Do you see your body-mind represented in the porn you consume?
Do you know any sex workers or porn performer?
What are some of your reactions to mainstream porn?
How are they similar or different from your reactions to the images in this project?
What is your porn utopia? What do you desire to see in the porn you consume?