Last friday I made an appearance on Crystal Kwok’s RTHK talk show Kwoktalk. It was an amazing and quite relaxing experience as Kwok is very sharp, accomodating and open-minded and we really went into the topic of cultural tastes in porn, online seduction by means of DIY porn as well as male/female body image and queer porn. My session was preceded by Belinda Flanders of the dating website Lovestruck, which is currently making waves in Hong Kong. I will talk more about the unbearable lightness of sex sites (and the annoying “seriousness” of dating sites) in my talk for the Anthropology Society at in the Museum of History on thursday 18 october.
Belinda Flanders, presenter Crystal Kwok and Katrien Jacobs
The experiments in feminine porn taste have begun here in Hong Kong and then will move onto Japan and the USA in June-July. I have started to do small-group screenings for women to discuss their reactions to different porn scenes. I have so far invited a class of my university students and collaborated with two lesbian organizations, Women’s Coalition of Hong Kong and G-Spot. Meredith Chivers’ thesis that women have very flexible desires and arousal patterns and do not need category-specific products holds up. (1)Each time we look at several porn scenes produced in “Asia” and “the West”–straight, lesbian, gay–and there has been lots of praise for the gay porn clip featuring Miles Pride and Kyler Moss. The reason why Pride and Moss win the vote is that they are very elegant lovers and just seem to be “much more into it” than the other actors/actresses? It seems easy for women to adore these male bodies, just as it may be even easier for them to take distance from gay sex. And why is it that this position of drifting in and out of does not work for straight men? Or is that just a piece of old news?
(1) Chivers et al, ” A Sex Difference in the Specificity of Sexual Arousal,” Psychological Science, 4:11 pp. 736-44.
I still live in Tai Wai but have moved to a building called Festival City, Phase II. This brandnew maximum-security residential complex is nick-named “the shield” because it is shaped like a tall weapon that cuts right through the urban environment. It was built in three “phases” and the last one is still under construction. Each phase consists of 5 huge apartment blocks, each stacked with 50 floors of bright and clean apartments , with 4 apartments on each floor.
It could now become a question on the analytical skills section of the Hong Kong college entrance exam–given that each apartment holds an average of 3 dwellers, how many apartment dwellers can we find in the Festival City? And then: How are those dwellers going to interact with each other, if at all, those who paid an arm and a leg to rent or purchase one the highly overprized little cubicles ? (The essay question)
We moved here three weeks ago and will report on private whereabouts and the social affect of futuristic high-rise culture. I start with a glorious view from the living room. I have previously shared dark thoughts about living in Hong Kong’s dense highrise buildings and imaging the sex lives of others–how it is perhaps even futile or impossible to cross the boundary to grasp other people, other bodies, other races.
I am reminded of a talk by Trinh T. Minh Ha from her book “Elsewhere, Within Here: Immigration, Refugeeism and the Boundary Event,” where she describes “the boundary event” as a process of self-torture where you try to cross over to another culture and confront an obstacle like a big wall. This wall may become a mental fixation and determines life expectations and moods. Then sometimes it is simply the case that you have not realized that you are already living on the other side. This is how I feel about myself and the Festival City. I definitely cannot imagine that I live here, but somehow it is true.
De foto’s staan als memory-kaartjes naast elkaar en zijn bepaald niet opwindend. Je ziet jong en oud, man en vrouw, met als enige gezamenlijk kenmerk: geen kleren aan. Ongeveer tweehonderd mensen, vooral Chinezen, hebben naaktfoto’s op internet geplaatst om de Chinese kunstenaar en activist Ai Weiwei te steunen. Boven de afbeeldingen staat ‘Luister, Chinese regering, naaktheid is géén pornografie’. Lees hier verder
Breast lovers of China see my guest blog for berfrois.com
From People’s Pornography: Sex and Surveillance on the Chinese Internet (Intellect Books)
While much of my meanderings through Chinese pop and porn culture usually originate from conversations with friends and colleagues, occasionally I receive a message from an anonymous party whose motivations are unknown. I once received a zip file attachment with DIY photos of a young couple “caught in the act”, photos snapped outside the window of a university dormitory. To receive such a gift, from an unknown and untested source,it made me a bit paranoid, but I also realized that I had to take it at face value, as it was saying” We do have sex in China. Please include us in your collection.”
The chapter Subterranean Journey into Cross-Dressing and Transsexualism starts in Shatin’s New Town Plaza! (a hotspot of queer rebellion! ;))
I have received lot of reactions on the Internet and in the media to my forthcoming book People’s Pornography: Sex and Surveillance on the Chinese Internet. It will officially be released on 26 november and soon thereafter be available on amazon.com.
Meanwhile I have signed a contract with the Hong Kong publisher UP publications for a Chinese translation of the book. The editor Chak interviewed me about the history of banned books for their monthly magazine Life and Reading Culture. I talked about the 1960s ban of Jean Genet’s books in the USA and said “I just hope that my book will not be banned in China.” I asked him if he thought it would be safe in China. He said he was not sure and pointed to the stuffed animal on my desk, the Chinese anti-censorship animal grass mud horse (ca0 ni ma) . The problem would be the horse. Now I need to think about a horse-less version of People’s Pornography.
For many years I have been asked to censor my publications and take out all kinds of sexually explicit images or vulgar language. I have always tried to compromise but somehow cannot separate from the horse –all the surreal motions of of power and lust that it represents–how it allowed me to project my own fables and finish my book.
So do you think that the book can exist without reference to the grass-mud horse?
While being interviewed extensively yet prematurely about People’s Pornography: Sex and Surveillance on the Chinese Internet, I am so impressed with Kim Renyi’s text about DIY porn for Marie-Claire Malaysia. This article came out a few months ago, and it is ahead of its time in respecting the thrust and flavors of DIY.