the Art of Re-Envisioning Gay Pornography

This is the 3rd portfolio of my recent body of work around a theme I’ve been exploring for some time now … my rather fraught and complicated relationship with gay pornography. I’ve been re-visioning some of the images I’ve collected over the years, establishing them in a new context, from a different perspective. All of the men in these images have been collected from ‘hard porn’ sites and I’ve re-positioned them, re-imagined them in a different context using my own photographs as the basis for this re-visioning. So each work is a layering and re-contextualizing of two very different images. The work is rather emotionally driven. Each of these men or couples has touched me on both an emotional and aesthetic level – caught my eye (and my “heart” so to speak) from a perspective other than raw sexuality, and I strive to communicate that vision in each piece. My thought is to perhaps humanize, respect and admire them from an angle other than the one in which they were originally captured. Each of these men exists, after all, outside of the context of pornographic performance. I fully recognize the issues of exploitation and objectification inherent in pornographic images, and I know, firsthand, that I am fully capable of objectifying myself and others, and often times my interaction with pornography has nothing to do with its aesthetic qualities…..My engagement with these images encompasses many hours of re-thinking and re-imagining who these men might be and my own sense of relationship with them.
Ultimately, I consider it an act of romance.
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Prints of these images can be purchased on my website at:
artbyjohnwaiblinger.com

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Music: Moonlight on Verlaine - Atlas Sound/Bradford Cox

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the Art of Re-Envisioning Gay Pornography

John Waiblinger Plus

It is my desire to convey that there is both beauty and interesting bizzareness, issues, and stuff in gay sexuality as reflected in 'our pornography' ... Perhaps the "object" of desire can also be re-envisioned by the heart and mind...

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It is my desire to convey that there is both beauty and interesting bizzareness, issues, and stuff in gay sexuality as reflected in 'our pornography' ... Perhaps the "object" of desire can also be re-envisioned by the heart and mind...

In addition to the work I’ve done with still photography (artbyjohnwaiblinger.com ) I’ve also worked this theme in a number of video projects. My art has grown out of a desire to perhaps articulate and experience a new relationship with those pornographic images that cross my screen. In taking an image that strikes an emotional cord with me, and re-envisioning how I see it allows me to move beyond seeing the man (men) in the image as merely an “object” of desire.

Again, the process here is to start with a porn film in which the performer(s) have captured my imagination in a way that extends beyond a simple viewing of the film as porn, a perspective or viewing that extends beyond the “act of sex” and begins with a consideration of how I see the performer(s) from the perspective of a “feeling”. That focus of this viewing is generally a shift from their cocks to their faces, and what intrigues me then is thinking or feeling about who they might be as a person beyond just a sexualized image … which, of course, completely shifts the focus/nature of my viewing of the film. I am then inspired to contextualize them within a different framework, with a desire to communicate the feeling that has been generated within me. It’s a complicated scenario that I’m not sure I’m explaining well.

The process always starts with me “saving” that particular film, because it has struck me, and on some level moved me beyond the simple act of masturbation. I should add that it is only an occasional film that strikes me in this way, but I have a collection of such saved films on my hard drive. It then becomes a matter of hearing a song and thinking about how to combine the porn clip (which I extensively edit) with other footage I have shot or saved. That is generally an intuitive, spontaneous process, that strikes me often times unaware, and motivates me to return to that old, saved footage and rework it into a feeling that’s captured my imagination. So now you know that I walk around with a whole host of porn images in my head just waiting to jell into a project! In my work with these clips, there is actually nothing “sexual” in the process. They subsequently provide me the space to establish an emotional relationship with the performer(s). I spend hours upon hours reflecting on the images and what I want to add to it in terms of feeling and beauty, and might I even add, “love”? … because in spending so much time with these images, I have indeed established an emotional investment and created an internal sense of “feeling” for the individual(s) portrayed, that goes well beyond a simple sense of sexual desire or release.

The act of this “project” for me has also considerably changed how I view pornography, since I am now always looking for that image that I want to take beyond the space of mere masturbatory fantasy, and I am caught in the fact that the viewing is also generating feelings for me. I find that interesting.

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