Pornography’s inscriptions in representation have troubled feminist writers, who since the 1970s have been critically addressing issues related to the presentation of the female body. Porn, it was contended, is for the most part a heterosexist genre, and its market circulation serves male libidinal pleasure, fixing the position of pleasure for both wo/men and abiding by patriarchal, gendered and sexually imposed norms. Later, the term was reclaimed under a critical re-perception of porn, cast as a gaze upon different others. This time race, religion, class came to the forefront. From Rosi Braidotti (m.s.) who addresses issues of racism in islamophobic representations such as the documentary ‘Fitna’, to the many commentators who related pornography to acts of torture, most notably in Abu-Ghraib (McClintock 2009) – pornography becomes a ‘concept metaphor’ that haunts autonomy (the laws of the self) through an heteronomous (laws of the other) affect (cf. Nancy 2007). Similarly, in debates over forced sex-work, the voyeuristic humanitarian gaze produces its Others either by sexualizing the other’s body, or by desexualizing the human in it.
On the other hand, many newly emerging artworks, documentaries, and porn productions, attempt to exscribe from porn its initial, normatively repressed qualities, and re-inscribe a feminist or queer perception of enjoyment and pleasure through feminine jouissance and the possibilities to push the limits of representation. In such tactics (de Certeau 1984), porn does not only become a concept-metaphor but, rather, it is being worked through a radical metonymic approach which seeks to transgress norms, explore desires and open up to affects. Tactics thus become tactile.
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Let me begin by posing a simple question: Why are so many scholars today in the humanities and social sciences fascinated by the idea of affect? In an obvious sense an answer is not difﬁcult to ﬁnd; one has only to attend to what those scholars say. “In this paper I want to think about affect in cities and about affective cities,” geographer Nigel Thrift explains, “and, above all, about what the political consequences of thinking more explicitly about these topics might be— once it is accepted that the ‘political
decision is itself produced by a series of inhuman or pre-subjective forces and intensities.’”
Excerpt from Ruth Leys’s “The Turn to Affect: A Critique” via Critical Inquiry
ALL the major religions place great importance on compassion. Whether it’s the parable of the good Samaritan in Christianity, Judaism’s “13 attributes of compassion” or the Buddha’s statement that “loving kindness and compassion is all of our practice,” empathy with the suffering of others is seen as a special virtue that has the power to change the world. This idea is often articulated by the Dalai Lama, who argues that individual experiences of compassion radiate outward and increase harmony for all.
As a social psychologist interested in the emotions, I long wondered whether this spiritual understanding of compassion was also scientifically accurate. Empirically speaking, does the experience of compassion toward one person measurably affect our actions and attitudes toward other people? If so, are there practical steps we can take to further cultivate this feeling? Recently, my colleagues and I conducted experiments that answered yes to both questions.
Excerpt of an article written by DAVID DeSTENO, NYT. Continue HERE
On May 14, Jeannette Ginslov gave a Medea Talk about the developmental stages of the AffeXity project, the interdependence of the collaborators, the relational and dynamic formation of technical and human intervention, the encounters of the carnal and the digital, the dialogic and temporal scaffolding of encounters of techne and the hands that attempt to capture affect.
JEANNETTE GINSLOV is Medea’s artist-in-residence this spring. Her roots are as performer, choreographer and artistic director in South Africa, but for the last five years she has focused more on interdisciplinary platforms investigating the crossover between the media/dance/cinema/video and the internet.
Her work centers around affect, haptic and digital materiality on several platforms: stage, screens, online and new media applications. Ginslov is currently working with Prof Susan Kozel at Medea on the project AffeXity that draws together screendance, visual imagery and mobile networked devices.
Text Via MEDEA
Amanda Whittaker, 27, has an unusual condition known as objectum sexuality, which means she falls in love with inanimate objects.
The monument is the latest in a long line of objects that Amanda has fallen in love with, as she admitted to the Sun on Sunday that she had a passionate affair with a drum kit in her teens.
Speaking to the newspaper, she said: ‘She is my long-distance lover and I am blown away by how stunning she is.
‘Other people might be shocked to think I can have romantic feelings for an object, but I am not the same as them.’
Amanda has filled her home in Leeds with memorabilia related to the statue and revealed that she has often thought about tying the knot with the object, which she affectionately calls ‘Libby’.
Text via Metro
Image above: Amanda Whittaker has a shrine to the Statue of Liberty in her home (Pic: Ross Parry)
For more on Objectum Sexuality see our previous post on Erika Eiffel (aka. Mrs. Berliner Mauer) and her love story with the Berlin Wall.