The Porn Project, 2013

I co-curated a ten-day participatory art campaign with 50 artists in Aotearoa New Zealand to make a space for public dialogue on porn. We aimed to walk a line that was collectively neither ‘pro’ nor ‘anti’ porn, but that instead celebrated diverse desires, bodies, sex and erotica, while at the same time refusing misogyny, sexism and racism. The project included:

I. The creation and distribution of a zine, Porn & Politics & Public?, that situated the campaign and offered a critical lens for people’s engagement; in 2014, it was published in full in Book Magazine, Russia.

II. A ten-day exhibition, The Porn Project, featuring two artists in a store-front; a five-day exhibition, Mi Casa, at a DIY gallery and studio space featuring 35 artists; a 48-hour pop-up exhibition, Implicit: Explicit, in an empty retail store, featuring 15 artists.

III. A series of guerilla actions, Dress Up Clean Up, that played with the codification of pornography as ‘dirty’; a Gender Smash guerilla action on a busy weekend street to illuminate and disrupt common-sense ideas about gender performance; a breast-feeding ‘sip in’ and discussion, Indecent Exposure, on the sexualization of the female body at a popular café; an afternoon street performance piece, Isobel In The Park, which toyed with the status of mainstream pornography as sex education.

IV. An opening event at a DIY gallery and studio space, Method & Manners, with art, installations, performances and approximately 300 guests; a performance poetry, acoustic session and open-mic night, Dangerous Tongues, at a popular café featuring approximately 20 poets and over 100 guests; a performance evening, Exhibitionists, to subvert common sense ideas around sexuality and porn, featuring 20 performers and with over 100 participants.

V. Three open-days at the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective to view materials on, and informally talk with sex-workers about, gender, power, sex and activism.

VI. An evening screening and discussion on misogyny and racism in pornography, What The Misogyny? What The Racism?; a panel discussion with Auckland Libraries, Shifty, on the changing in/visibility of sex featuring historians, librarians, authors and approximately 40 participants; a panel discussion, Explicit Details, featuring academics, artists and people in the sex industry debating ideas around pornography, sexuality, gender and violence.

VII. Facilitating debrief sessions with The Porn Project contributors; a talk at the Gus Fisher Gallery during the A Different View exhibition, to critically reflect on The Porn Project and consider the role of art in social change.