The art of it (Part 3)

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January 3, 2006

Internet pornography can be art.

This is a pretty bold statement, but if artistic merit is what makes non-art into art, and consists of quality, insight and the manipulation of a media to affect a sense of beauty, then as surely as Michael Jackson exists, Internet porn can be art.

First of all porn has quality even in it's rawest form. I'm not talking about bit rates, although this certainly does affect the beauty of an image, but rather style. Just like any art, there is a multiplicity of porn styles. Gonzo, as it is widely perceived, offers a subjective camera style taken from the vantage point of the main character to show what he sees and elicit greater identification with the events. Reality porn uses a direct cinema approach so as not to interfere with the sex events that happen as they unfold in reality. Other sites are more formalistic and employ greater stylistic techniques including more elaborate locations, costumes, narrative, music and even mise-en-scene.

In using style, porn often, although not always, manipulates its medium to elicit a sense of beauty. The most obvious example of this is porn's emphasis on the tightly framed close-up. It is said that legendary filmmaker D.W. Griffith invented the close-up to capture the beauty of his leading lady's face in detail and it's no secret that there is a direct relationship between female beauty and the camera. In porn it isn't the beauty of her face, but the beauty and perhaps even mystery of her pussy, and in this respect it might also be interesting to posit the beauty of male ejaculation as adding to the artistic merit of porn.

Each of these styles and image manipulations tells a story about sex, so in fact porn can provide insight into different modes and cultural thoughts on contemporary sexuality and gender relations, and in the end porn does elicit an aesthetic or emotional reaction, which has always been, in my opinion, the attempt of art. Of course, not all porn has originality and intent, but neither do all Hollywood films, erotic novels or erotic paintings, yet these are all considered art, whether good or bad. In this light, certainly porn can be art.

And just in case you think you can tell the difference between art and porn, here's a cool quiz for you! :-)

Posted by sloth at January 3, 2006 1:21 AM

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