Sex in Art: Porn or Nah?

I am a very open person. That sounded wrong, but this topic is meant to be risqué and to help all my misunderstood lovers of art and literature.

Allow me to start this off like a debate by defining some of my terms. First and most broad, art. Here I’m talking about anything from the media to canvas to written to music. From here we’re going to talk about sex. Yes. Sex. S-E-X. The thing that really makes babies. But this word in this piece will not be limited to oral, vaginal, or anal. Rather, it will encompass any sexual act or depiction in general. For example, a croquis drawing of two people sharing an intimate moment.

Now, I am a fan of controversy. I like reading, looking, and watching things that push boundaries to deliver meaningful and potent messages. As a striving artist myself, I feed off of these things. But does it mean that I’m “horny” or “into pornographic things” as many of my peers have accused me of? NO.

Following a (kind of?) standard essay format, I will now present my two arguments.

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1. Haruki Murakami

Murakami is my favorite author and has been for a while. I have read three and a third of his books (still working on 1Q84…) And one aspect of his books is that there are quite a few sex scenes. However, a true reader will know why those scenes are often so important to Murakami’s style and even purpose in the books. On the other hand, a reader who does not take time to think about it will just say: “THIS IS AN EROTICA!” No. The sex scene is there to blur reality and highlight the abstraction within the novel. The metaphysical aspect, in fact, is often a core element in the plot of the books. To me it’s the perfect metaphor and juxtaposition for life. It’s something very human and natural, but also something meant to be almost gossamer and dreamlike. We are existing, but parts of our existence do not seem real.

 

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2. “Blue is the Warmest Color”

Moving on. This is not my favorite movie, but I will agree that it is very impactful. “Blue is the Warmest Colour” is simply about a girl finding her sexuality. But one of the most alarming scenes is, of course, the seven minute long sex scene. Seven minutes! Even “Game of Thrones” doesn’t show that much detail in a single sex scene! But people! Is it really that bad? This movie is meant to inform the public about what it’s like being lesbian. It may be a film for the digestion of large society thus calling for some unrealistic elements; however, does it not kind of answer the question: how does lesbian sex work?” Well here you go! On top of that, it’s more meaningful that just sex because it’s about a girl who’s confused and just wants to find herself. Precisely like any adolescent in this world. The scene presented the characters and audience with a bit more insight and also an anticipation for how the rest of her bildungsroman with play out. It’s life. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Our world is becoming more liberal by the generation. I believe my generation (somewhere between Millenial, X,Y, and Z) have and will face the greatest clashes with the past. And the question arises, will those who do not really follow this generational trend choose to adapt or conform with the values of their parents or even grandparents? This is not to say that following either is a good or a bad thing. Your opinions are your opinions.

I merely wish that people would not see things like sex as controversial or ungodly especially in forms of art. It is a mechanism and it is up to the artist on how he or she would like to use it. In turn, it is the viewer’s job to really decipher it.

But I get it. It’s kind of uncomfortable especially when you’re young. So, here are some tips that helped me get over it. Say sex 5 times over. Then say it 10 times over. Just get used to saying it first. Then broaden your perspective by going to art galleries of every era, reading more, knowing your history, watching different kinds of films, just immersing yourself in culture. That’s it. Easy, right?

-a.j.c.

 

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Sex in Art: Porn or Nah?

“Ich Seh Ich Seh”

*POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT. *

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This Austrian film’s title should have been translated into “I See, I See” or “I Spy” instead of “Goodnight Mommy.” It’s so much more poetic that way and gives away a lot less. But who am I to judge that?

Regardless, this movie was pure art.

“Goodnight Mommy” is about two twin boys (Lukas and Elias)  whose mother comes back home after some serious plastic surgery. She begins to act distant from the two, even ignoring one (Lukas) altogether. Suspicious, the brothers begin to believe that the woman is not their mother.

I wish I could say more about the movie, but I’m trying to write this in a way so that you will watch the movie. So I will try my best not to spoil too much or preferably none at all.

The general mood was very minimal yet at the same time surreal. Visually there was a pleasing lack of detail that contrasted perfectly with the high complexity and intricacy behind the characters’ relationships. Clean and pristine, the audience is presented with the ideal life on a cursory level. This allows us to not be distracted by anything else and pulls our focus on perverse nature that lies within the boys as their distrust for their mother grows larger and larger.

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Most horror movies depend on striking images that evoke a sense of revulsion in the viewer. “Goodnight Mommy” at its core is no different. However, it is not necessarily what is explicitly shown that really makes our stomachs curl. Rather, it is what is suggested by the images. If played a different way, the masks the boys wear would actually be kind of cute. I mean, it’s not unnatural for a little boy to draw monsters or alien creatures out of their imaginations… I think… Anyways, in this movie, the circumstance in which the masks appear are certainly not symbols of innocent innovation. Although it starts out to seem that way.
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The covering of the face is essential to the movie. For a child, part of trusting their parent is knowing who they are physically. But what’s to say, the same doesn’t go for the parent?  The face after all is a piece of our identity not just on a personal level, but a more social level as well. Because of this lingering thought, the masks become more unsettling than ever as the sons too begin to push away from their mother who seems to already be drifting.

Composition is also an important piece of the movie that is very much worth paying attention to. You will find that the Lukas and Elias are unusually close even for twins. And every time they are parted–whether it be forcefully or in a playful game–something makes you feel uncomfortable. Perhaps it’s because we are so used to seeing them together and we feel that they should be. yay.jpg

We also find discomfort when the whole family is together or even when the mother is near even just one of them.creepers.jpg

But I’ll let you figure out the rest of that!

“Ich Seh Ich Seh” is clearly not your cliché horror film. Like any good psychological horror it really leaves a lasting image in your mind. If you watched the trailer for this, (like I was) you are probably scared out of your wits. But honestly, it really isn’t the kind of scary that jumps out at you.

Though I will say that it sent shivers down my spine multiple times.

-A.J.C.

“Ich Seh Ich Seh”