Saturday, 28 February 2009



***Warning: The following thing contains certain amount of sexual/disturbing context which you might not like it. So please leave immediaetly if you feel uncomfortable with it.***

You fucked my wife: For the first time I cum in my life, last weekend. Bataille, you are outrageous.

The immense love and the vast lust, dream and desires, intimacy of trivial fetishism, and intensity that we endure, even the pain struck me. For this is so surreal, this is so surreal, that the world is flowing in pieces. The fragmented story, not chronically, even not linear narrative, fascinates me a lot. It questions me the generalised ideas of how sex supposed to be. (Does sex really have to be narrative? Or literature, in the same sense?)          (      -      )) It could never be defined, or explained about the shivering. Is it just the hallucination?


Un peu après (ayant retrouvé nos bicyclettes), nous pouvions nous offrir l’un à l’autre le spectacle irritant, théoriquement sale, d’un corps nu et chaussé sur la machine. Nous pédalions rapidement, sans rire ni parler, dans l’isolement commun de l’impudeur, de la fatigue, de l’absurdité.


Nous étions morts de fatigue. Au milieu d’une côte Simone s’arrêta, prise de frissons. Nous ruisselions de sueur, et Simone grelottait, claquant des dents. Je lui ôtai alors un bas pour essuyer son corps : il avait une odeur chaude, celle des lits de malade et des lits de débauche. Peu à peu elle revint à un état moins pénible et m’offrit ses lèvres en manière de reconnaissance.


Je gardais les plus grandes inquiétudes. Nous étions encore à dix kilomètres de X… et, dans l’état où nous nous trouvions, il nous fallait à tout prix arriver avant l’aube. Je tenais mal debout, désespérant de voir la fin de cette randonnée dans l’impossible. Le temps depuis lequel nous avions quitté le monde réel, composé de personnes habillées, était si loin qu’il semblait hors de portée. Cette hallucination personnelle se développait cette fois avec la même absence de borne que le cauchemar global de la société humaine, par exemple, avec terre, atmosphère et ciel.


La selle de cuir se collait à nu au cul de Simone qui fatalement se branlait en tournant les jambes. Le pneu arrière disparaissait à mes yeux dans la fente du derrière nu de la cycliste. Le mouvement de rapide rotation de la roue était d’ailleurs assimilable à ma soif, à cette érection qui déjà m’engageait dans l’abîme du cul collé à la selle. Le vent était un peu tombé, une partie du ciel s’étoilait ; il me vint à l’idée que la mort étant la seule issue de mon érection, Simone et moi tués, à l’univers de notre vision personnelle se substitueraient les étoiles pures, réalisant à froid ce qui me paraît le terme de mes débauches, une incandescence géométrique (coïncidence, entre autres, de la vie et de la mort, de l’être et du néant) et parfaitement fulgurante.


Mais ces images demeuraient liées aux contradictions d’un état d’épuisement prolongé et d’une absurde raideur du membre viril. Cette raideur, il était difficile à Simone de la voir, en raison de l’obscurité, d’autant que ma jambe gauche en s’élevant la cachait chaque fois. Il me semblait cependant que ses yeux se tournaient dans la nuit vers ce point de rupture de mon corps. Elle se branlait sur la selle avec une brusquerie de plus en plus forte. Elle n’avait donc pas plus que moi épuisé l’orage évoqué par sa nudité. J’entendais ses gémissements rauques ; elle fut littéralement arrachée par la joie et son corps nu fut jeté sur le talus dans un bruit d’acier traîné sur les cailloux.


Je la trouvai inerte, la tête pendante : un mince filet de sang avait coulé à la commissure de la lèvre. Je soulevai un bras qui retomba. Je me jetai sur ce corps inanimé, tremblant d’horreur, et, comme je l’étreignais, je fus malgré moi traversé par un spasme de lie et de sang, avec une grimace de la lèvre inférieure écartée des dents, comme chez les idiots.


Georges Bataille, Histoire de l'œil
(1re édition, 1928 ; J.-J. Pauvert, 1967)



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~ Fin ~



Whatever Happened to Sex in Scandinavia?

Office for Contemporary Art, Oslo, Norway
In 1960 the then US president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, described Scandinavia as a hotbed of ‘sin, suicide, socialism and smorgasbord’. Inspired less by prudishness than by rivalry-fuelled anxieties over the region’s prosperous leftist model of participatory democracy, the characterization stuck (and probably boosted tourism). It is precisely the intertwining of sex, politics and the Nordic countries’ relationship to the wider world that’s at the heart of ‘Whatever Happened to Sex in Scandinavia?’, an ambitiously widescreen, century-spanning endeavour that resists the simple designation ‘exhibition’, despite the 200 art works and artefacts displayed in OCA’s handsome new galleries: from Edvard Munch’s saturnine lithograph of a literal femme fatale, Vampyr II (1895), to Harun Farocki’s fantasy-foiling, deconstructive film of a Playboy centrefold shoot, Ein Bild (An Image, 1983). But, spilling over into ancillary screenings, lectures, a mooted book and an exhibition guide that’s a heavily researched historical essay in itself, this is essentially a labour-of-love research project with a visual component.
So, what you may have missed: 19th-century Scandinavia pioneered sex reform, hitching it to individual rights and endorsing sex education and contraception for the working classes (at OCA, magazine illustrations from c. 1930 by Käthe Kollwitz feature children dragging their emaciated mother down). There’s a copy of Wilhelm Reich’s The Sexual Revolution here, because Reich spent much of the 1930s’ in Scandinavia while fleeing the Nazis, and there are books by his intellectual heir Herbert Marcuse, whose vouchsafing of play and free love as an escape from repressive societies shaped the hippie movement. And it’s here that the show really catches fire, because its curator, Marta Kuzma, is interested in repositioning the art of the 1960s and ’70s – both in and out of Scandinavia – through novel optics. The show isn’t arranged chronologically, and almost everywhere you look there’s visual argument for the trickle-down of sexual liberation into art and the counterculture: Lee Lozano’s Marcuse-influenced 1960s’ paintings transforming instruments of labour into sexual organs – phallic screw threads etc; Thomas Bayrle’s hot-coloured screen prints, from 1970, in which neat little repeated iterations of miniature breasts and penises are mechanically built into fellatio scenarios and spread-legged women; Dan Graham’s Detumescence (1966), an outsourced text describing what happens to the male physiology after orgasm. This, in other words, is not the traditional model of cerebral Conceptualism. It’s hot and sticky – and that, so the argument goes, is indirectly due to Scandinavia, which produced films such as Vilgot Sjöman’s I Am Curious (Yellow) (1967), which was the subject of a landmark legal case that transformed American censorship laws.
Sex in the ’60s and ’70s was a smokescreen for radical thought: look at these copies of the Evergreen Review: breasts on the outside, ‘new story by Beckett’ (those were the days) on the inside. Sex was politics, as in Marie-Louise Ekman’s droll feminist painting Striptease (1973), in which, panel by panel, a woman regresses to an ape, then to an evolved man. Sex was a battleground, as the show’s screening of Obscene (2007), a documentary about Grove Press’ founder, Barney Rosset – who went to court in order to publish D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928) and Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer (1934) – reminds us. Often, though, sexuality here is interchangeable with unconstrained libidinal energy: Yayoi Kusama’s film Kusama’s Self-Obliteration (1967), with its wild fooling about putting dots on things in a wood (and its brilliantly woozy psychedelic soundtrack) has some nudity in it, but it doesn’t feel connected to sex. Nor, really, does Stan Brakhage’s 16 mm Prelude: Dog Man Star (1962), although that doesn’t stop this hypnotic, organic surge of diverse superimposed imagery from suggesting a lost world of mystic admiration for nature in all its forms.
Kuzma seems to have a sense of humour about the idea of sexualizing everything: this would explain why Claes Oldenburg’s Ray Gun Rifle (1960) is here, poking phallically from a corner. There are sheepskin rugs beside the stacks of monitors playing Jonas Mekas films, including his documentation of John and Yoko’s bed-in for peace. In the ’60s and ’70s, it’s jokily implied, slipping between the sheets was all anyone thought about. But the show’s undertone is markedly serious: Scandinavia and sex still go together in some minds, but there’s a chasm between the cliché of blonde nymphomaniacs consorting in saunas and the long-gestating arc towards emancipation that this show cogently delineates. Then again, and regarding the titular question: if this show doesn’t answer it, a Jägermeister-fuelled skiing holiday in Kvitfjell might.

Martin Herbert
http://www.oca.no/discourse/whss.shtml