Spent 2009 (ongoing)
Materials: Artist's Semen, Universal Litmus Paper
A true, all RAW, DADDY BEAR, GANG BANG FUCK FEST! COCKED AND LOADED features 7 hot Daddies fucking 1 lucky bottom boy…a total cast of 8 ass ploughing, cum eating studs, fucking non-stop for 80 minutes all for your pleasure…COCKED AND LOADED features real man to man ass banging…with some of the most awesome feltching scenes you will ever see. And, of course, all the trademark close-up shots by the legendary Michael McKey as he zooms in so you get to see every drop of cum and every man-ramming minute.
8.01. That’s what it says on the porn star’s watch as he begins his ecstatic, over-acted climax. I can see it clearly on the screen, a silver digital watch with a grey face and black LED numbering. The counter on the silver DVD recorder shows me that I am 28 minutes and 39 seconds into the ‘fuck fest’. The clock on my mobile telephone lying next to the bright orange sheet of universal litmus paper shows me that it is 10.30 exactly. A triangular interface of three separate moments all ‘shot’ through by a porn stars’ orgasm. Maybe there is another kind of a clock in the room, the fingers of my hand wrapped around my dick, a five-digit flesh metronome, each stroke of my hand keeping time, the rhythm see-sawing, faster and slower, creating a score of the fizzing pressure of my own orgasm, getting nearer, ebbing away, getting nearer again, as my hand strokes and hesitates, strokes and hesitates.
The DVD’s that I have been watching are getting progressively more explicit, no frills, no music, no soft lighting just hard, super-sharp fucking. I have produced over one hundred and fifty semen drawings. I described them once as a mapping of desire for an exhibition catalogue. I was wrong. They don’t map desire; they map mechanical reproduction, repeatability, and the boredom of making over and over again. The material evidence of these drawings reduces my orgasm to a mere methodology, an A to a B. My need for explicit images is a need to get it over with, to make the composition, make it number one hundred and fifty one. It is not porn that is brutalising me but drawing, the voluntary act of turning my body into a system, a sequential unit of pictorial production.
My experience is fractured, not the self-absorbed onanistic pleasure of libidinal need but an array of necessities that disperse the encounter with myself. Propped up awkwardly on a cushion leaning on my left arm, remote control in hand. The litmus paper in front of my cock angled slightly up to the left so that the ‘composition’ can be framed on the paper. My eyes shift from screen, to remote, to paper…back to screen. The rhythm of intercourse on the screen falls into the rhythm of my hand and then my hand falls behind, the endless edited thrusting explored from every angle, known visually from all sides. The ache in my left arm reminds me that it needs to move; I angle my body closer to the paper.
The porn stars eyes have betrayed him. As he waited his turn at the ‘cum hole’ his eyes flicked towards the camera. I am no longer the eternal voyeur visually eves-dropping, the straight trajectory of his desire has been disrupted and he has acknowledged his performance within the scene no matter how quickly he takes his eyes away again. The remote, the paper, frame my own scene, puncturing the smooth flow of my own desire. The shadow of a boom mike crosses his leg and then quickly withdraws, as he steps towards the bed he reveals a clothed boy behind him sitting on a sofa. How old is he? Early to middle twenties? He is wearing a grey t-shirt and blue jeans, a clipboard clutched to his chest with campy efficiency. His gaze is not boredom, or invested physical interest, but a kind of efficient directorial stare at a job getting done. I too have bodies to direct, and paper, an orange screen for my efficient ejaculations, director and performer, a producer and consumer. My arm begins to hurt, time to shift again, angling my body further from the paper this time.
Fast forward, rewind, trying to get just the right moment. I can digitally control these porn stars, get them to re-enter or cum again and again endlessly repeating their contorted faces at the moment of orgasm, finding my favourite position, my eyes eating the screen. Click, not close enough, click, not extreme enough, always trying to see more, to catch every texture of the skin of the cock, to scoop up the last visual viscosity of the semen as it spatters onto the face and chest of the ‘bottom’.
I am never in it. No imagined positions or transference, no attempt to be a top or bottom my eyeballs are dispassionate and disconnected to the rest of my body but slip over not into the screen. I can feel my balls beginning to tighten, here is the familiar conclusion, not eagerly anticipated but not necessarily uninvited either. End of the process. I move my hand quickly up and down my cock, the rhythm quickening pace with the porn star so that we can come together. He is purely focused on the money shot, isolated in his own universe and strangely separate from the bottom who watches with a staged anticipation but also with a kind of locked out distanced look on his face.
If I am so separate from the screen then why do I ‘cum’ with him? Why do I want to perform this sexual swoon at exactly the same time? Am I slipping into the directed fantasy of the film, are the cries of “yes, yes cum, shoot it” for me? To me? Of me?
In-take of breath…eyes too wide to see and then the charges through my body and the separate thrusts of my balls as the semen is pushed out of my dick. I am not lost in the drenched feeling of orgasm, never un-tethered or oblivious as my eyes quickly dart downwards across my chest and down onto my penis. This is my money shot, making sure the semen hits the orange of the paper, the litmus target. I try not to compose, not to frame the orgasm but, as the now dead, meaningless and hollow sounds of the porn movie continue on with its ‘fuck-fest’, I move my cock around so that it creates flicks and splashes, an onanistic Pollock tracing loops. As soon as the semen hits the litmus paper it turns green, no longer anything to do with me, that green is the shut off, the severing away from myself. That green is the objective, dispassionate evidence, an aesthetic mould that bleeds away from the private, the inside and onto the public.
Press the off button.
Cum time: 10.56
Cum Date: 06/08/09
Spent 2009 (ongoing)
Materials: Artist's Semen, Universal Litmus Paper
Masturbating. Onanism. Self-love. Auto-affection. Auto-eroticism. Self abuse. Self-pollution (selbst-befleckung). Defiling with the hand. Playing with yourself. Wanking. Frigging. Beating off. Fingering. Tossing off. Beating the beaver. Flogging yourself. Gerkin jerkin’. Jacking off. Digitizing. Chocking the bishop. Mangling the midget. Punching the clown. Spanking the monkey. Whipping the pony. Chafing the weasel. Flogging the dog. Strangling the snake. Shooting your load. Squirting. Ejaculating. Spent.
Here is the rub: what is this corporeal violence, this vicious carnality, this fierce appetite, this pathology of the imagination, the solitary pleasures of masturbation, this act of ejaculation? Cruel? Murderous? Necrophilic? Frequently. Atheological? Yes. A case of dwarf love, coulrophobia, zoophilia or animal cruelty? Sometimes. Sadistic? Over and over again. Masochistic? Time and time again. Repetitive? Repeatedly. Sado-masochistic? Undeniably. Narcissistic? Always.
Masturbation, the solitary vice, you just can’t beat it.
Masturbation is an act of profound narcissism. It is a love for the self. Of the self. It is enacted by a subject who takes itself as its own love object. It bespeaks the dangers of human solidarity itself. However secretive or furtive, however under-hand, it still leaves an indelible mark. Even in private it is the act of the exhibitionist. Asocial sociality. We make a spectacle of ourselves. (And we watch ourselves doing it.) Masturbation evinces an excessive need for admiration and affirmation, a selfish-ness, a disregard for others. It is a perversion par excellence, a perverting of desire, polymorphously so: an aberration, libidinous, carnal, an instinctual act of self-presentation, and likewise a coming-to-death, always pertaining simultaneously towards both life and lifelessness. With a shiver, a shudder, with in-joyment we surrender ourselves to sensual, jubilant, excruciating paroxysmal pleasure. Spent. It is the death instinct turned around upon our own ego, an infinite delay and pleasure, a sexual satisfaction crucial for masochism’s contractual, destructive attitude.
Which is not to say it necessarily happens alone. We inflict pain and pleasure, harm oneself as if another, harm oneself and another, be harmed by them. Then they call it ‘mutual’ or parallel masturbation, reciprocal and reciprocated, but nonetheless there’s something asymmetrical in, always a sadistic edge to, this pleasure from the law of coming or squirting at or on or into the mouth or arse or cunt of an other.
Masturbation is all about contact. Touching. Touching the self. Touching the other. Touching the other as self. Skin on skin. The skin, wrote Freud, is a sensory filter between the internal and external worlds. Fair enough. But skin, the largest of the body’s organs, is also continuous. Inside and outside. Continuous contours. Baroque. Touching is for Freud a source of pleasure, much as it is a danger, and even a perversion if, as he warns, the individual becomes preoccupied by lingering over the stage of touching at the expense of and to the extent that the ‘sexual act’ is no longer the desired outcome of any given encounter. This is touching for its own sake. Imminence itself. Touching as touching, then, a touching of the self, an act of auto-affection, a solitary pleasure.
When it comes to such touching, there is of course something manual, instrumental, about such handy work. Such contact. Such control. Painfully intimate and yet strangely dissociative. But where is the locus of power, the management of such a regulative regime? For Luce Irigaray, auto-affection for men always already involves some kind of mediation by way of a tool or an instrument: a hand, a device, a woman’s body. Here, because of this enforced distance that he has from himself while touching himself, he can only touch himself as other to himself. Contrary to this, as Irigaray makes clear, woman’s masturbation needs no mediation. She touches herself ‘in and of herself.’ Leo Bersani, always ready to queer things a little further, suggests that the authority lies elsewhere since for him ‘in masturbation the… body, more specifically the penis, disciplines the hand that would rule it.’
Masturbation is aeconomical. This touching, this contact, is against the economy of heterosexual genital intercourse. It is that dangerous supplement deceiving nature – because it supplants rather than complements nature – and thus the natural order of things. It is non-procreative eroticism. It leans away from husbandry and towards squandering (extravagant spending, and scattering too) and wastefulness. Its precious seed, in all of its purity, dirtiness, and abject material-ness is spilt wondrously, wastefully, exhaustively. Spent. Its true worth is finally fully understood as George Bataille’s celebration of the philosophy of dépense, of expenditure or waste. Against classical utility, masturbation is generative and non-generative, productive and disposable, a perverse sexuality that speaks of a non-genital finality, a matter of ‘non-logical difference’. As symptomatic of Bataille’s general economy, it is unproductive expenditure par excellence. Unproductive activities always lead and are tied to economic anxieties. Masturbation is an autarky: economically self-reliant and self-sufficient. Convenient. Cheap. Free even! All strong motives. Supply and demand are endless – physiologically and socially: alone, in pairs, with lots of people, etc. Masturbation is a quantitative problem. This is no economy of scarcity. As Thomas Laqueur writes, there is no bottom line in the masturbatory economy. You come, come, and come again. Spurt. Trickle. Gush. Repeatedly so. Serially. Daily. Spend. Spend. Spent. Fiscally-speaking, especially in this climate, who can afford (to waste) the money shot?
Masturbation has an aesthetic all of its own; it is the ultimate incitement of the theory of the qualities of feeling. It is graphic; material, embodied, enfolded. It demands we ask a Proustian question: how is that (by, from) me? Squirting, ejaculating has a trajectory, a temporality, a rhythmic pulsation, and the beginnings of a narrative. It has a morphology, it is morphogenic even. It also has a spatiality, a spacing, a gradual bleed, for instance, across the litmus paper. Form and formless-ness. And repetitive, where repetition is boredom, banality, chaffing, soreness, an operation in the service of the death instinct. Squiggles. Baroque. In the end it is perhaps a little like Darwin’s aevolutionary coral.
This masturbatory aesthetic has taken many forms, and formless-nesses.
Date: 10th November 2005, Guggenheim, NYC, 5pm-12am: In ‘Seven Easy Pieces’ Marina Abramovic re-performs five earlier performances by other artists and two of her own, including Vito Acconci’s ‘Seedbed’ (1972). In re-performing ‘Seedbed’, she remembers, repeats, and works through the original, re-enacting the self-pleasure of another as her own. The audience are raucous, cheering and jeering her efforts. She has four orgasms.
Date: 1994-2002: In ‘The Cremaster Cycle’ Matthew Barney acts out an eight-year extended exercise in narcissism and anal sadism. This masturbatory machine, this investigation into the creative potential of perversion with its Vaseline and tapioca sculptures, circles around the cremaster muscle, the muscle that covers the testis, that raises and lowers the scrotum in order to regulate the temperature of the testis and promote spermatogenesis. Feel it ripple. Barney has put the masturbation into Cremaster.
Date: 1991 (and other times): In penning her ‘Woman’s Ejaculation Guide’, performance philosopher Shannon Bell is intent on a re-eroticisation of female ejaculation by speaking about her own ejaculating female body, with its rushing and gushing fluids, and of how female ejaculate serves the purpose of pleasure. She writes about the Greeks such as Galen and Hippocrates who believed in the female seed, about Aristotle who understood the fluid as pleasurable, as evidence of the female prostate, and mentions the Ugandan Batoro who have a custom called ‘kachapati’ which translates as ‘spray the wall’. Her ‘how to’ guide produces results.
Date: 4th October, 1991: former porn star turned performance artist Annie Sprinkle is at the Live Theatre in Newcastle-upon-Tyne contributing her ‘Sluts and Goddesses’ workshop to an event entitled ‘Burning the Flag? American Live Art and Censorship’. The workshop includes a re-staging of her regular ‘Public Cervix Announcement’, and culminates in ‘The Legend of the Ancient Sacred Prostitute’, a magic masturbation ritual in which Sprinkle charms her audience by orgasming multiply on stage.
Date: 1970-73: Valie Export masturbates in a tub for Mann & Frau & Animal.
Date: 15th-29th January, 1972: For ‘Seedbed’ Vito Acconci is under a false floor in the Sonnabend Gallery for eight hours a day, three days a week. With his black jumper on and his cock out, he performs an action. Repetitively. Solipsistically. His body a mere means, an instrument, his goal is to produce seed. He masturbates, out of view and by way of a disembodied voice vocalises through loudspeakers his fantasies about the visitors to the gallery.
Date: 1946: Duchamp’s ‘Paysage fautif’, a stained landscape of dried and gluey fluid is later identified by the FBI laboratories in Houston, Texas, as human semen.
Date: March 1920: Picabia’s blasphemous and iconoclastic ‘La Sainte Vierge’ (1920), his ink stain as the Virgin Mary on paper from his journal, was illustrated in the Dada periodical 391. Whether seminal or urinal, it echoes both the accidental blot drawings of 18th century English landscape painter John Robert Cozens and anticipates Jackson Pollock’s joyless and boorish hyper-masculinist action painting.
There are of course others. This is a never-ending sadistic, masochistic, sado-masochistic, vicious cycle – always the same, always different - of corporeal violence and solitary pleasures, of narcissism, touching, unproductive expenditure, a unique quality of feeling, and a graphic self-making. Jordan McKenzie is just the latest. There will be others to come.
Give the masturbator a hand.
Spent 2009 (ongoing)
Materials: Artist's Semen, Universal Litmus PaperMasturbating. Onanism. Self-love.