Camera as Penis
 
Taking photographs of another person has always been a very voyeuristic and sexual act to me. It is an act of objectification and domination, where the model is often the subject of a subtle, yet violent gesture. The body of the camera itself can be viewed and conceived as a phallic symbol of the male genitalia. You gain pleasure in pointing the long lens of a camera at another person and derive sexual pleasure from this act…as if you are having intercourse with the person you are capturing. And of course, when you capture somebody else’s image, you are, in a way, metaphysically stealing and capturing her soul and essence by making her the object and the locus of desires, gaze, and domination.

What you do when you take a photograph of somebody is that you look through a dark hole (the lens) in order to highlight the best and the most coveted part of that person to capture the most desirable moment of her current mode of existence. The more intimate we wish to become with that person (when we want to capture a close up, for example) the closer we need to zoom in on her, and the longer the camera lens needs to be extended. The extension of the lens could be seen as a metaphor for the penis that is becoming longer and more erect. When our model finally discloses the vigorous emotional output and when the moment of ecstasy is revealed, you press the button on the camera to capture this fleety, and climatic moment. This is when a metaphorical orgasm occurs. The rhythmic flashing of the camera symbolizes the patterns of ejaculation, as photon particles from the flashlight ‘shoot’ out spasmodically like sperms to end up on the face and body of our model.

This notion of objectifying the figure can be extended to cinematic pleasure in Hollywood films in which gender is an issue. In practice, women are often “objectified” on screen, as they are displayed for the visual pleasure of male viewers both within the film itself and in the audience that watches the film. With the aid of film cameras and the way they can capture and objectify an individual from multiple perspectives of desires, mainstream Hollywood cinema fetishes the female form as embodied in the ‘perfect’ figure of Hollywood actresses. The audience (mostly middle classed males) shares identification with the male actors on screen (often the protagonist) to adopt male desire in looking and gazing at the female on screen. This act of erotic speculation and gazing can extend itself beyond the horizon of merely “looking” and “imagining”, as it is often the case that male spectators would actually masturbate to the characters or events in a film…an act that expends the perceptual limitation of cinema and art as they mentally, and to a certain degree, physically “interact” with the objects inside the screen.

In fact, watching a film can be viewed as an act of voyeuristic pleasure in and of itself. Movie-goers can all be conceived as Peeping Toms who derive pleasure from watching others without the acknowledgements from objects that they desiring and observing. In other words, the audience’s vicarious enjoyment of watching a film in a darkened room is voyeuristic because pleasure is derived from the viewer’s awareness of seeing without being seeing. The characters in the film have no power over their representations, as they become, again, objects of desires for the spectators that are sitting in the dark, watching events unfold with an eye that is unlike the camera lens itself.
 

 
Too Many Holes on my Body

 

 
Making Meanings

 
It seems to me that it is the mechanics of the brain and mind to automatically and rationally to organize the absurd, the chaotic and the uncertain events and structures in the universe and put them into a perspective that makes sense to the individual. The mind is a narrative making system, evolved by natural selection to structure the world in order to navigate in it spatially and temporally for the purpose of survival. But thought is one thing, reality is another. The conscious brain, the “meaning-making” part of the mind is only a small part of the mind as a whole. Most of what goes on in our brain is unconscious, and most of what’s unconscious are forces that are uncaring, violent, anarchic, instinctual, irrational, and unacceptable by cultural standards. The interior reality and external reality, the dream world and the waking world, and the conscious and the unconscious should undergo processes of unification, in order to become a totality of an open whole. The interior and the external forces are not contradictions, but are rather reciprocal attractions and interpretations that systematically act upon one another.

The world doesn’t always make sense, and it’s hard for people to accept this notion. The idea that things sometimes happen for no reason, and that events sometimes have no meaning is disruptive and threatening to society and to our consciousness.

The world is full of “pre-personal singularities”. Meaning that language cannot fully organize reality’s free-roaming fluxes and chaos. We attempt to use concepts, symbols and languages and thoughts to label, systematize, and even tame reality, but we ultimately fail at this doing this because reality in itself has no order or fixed being – concept and language create this order, while at the same time, failing to capture the very orderliness that it creates. Science tries to quantify and “cut up” reality, categorizes and spatializes it into discrete parts in order to form a whole. But modern physics shows us that the Whole, or reality itself, is made up of fragmentations of irrationality, chaos, randomness and principles that are based on uncertainty. To predict and measure one thing is to distort the outcome of its very own measurements and predictions.

I think that dreams and the unconscious – the irrational, the random, and the absurd are unvalued. The futile attempts by human beings to impose rationality and order on an otherwise irrational and chaotic universe could be a violent gesture. Perhaps people need to stop being so concerned with manufacturing the rational by putting everything into perspectives and just embrace, from time to time, the organic chaos of the world. I think to perceive the world as a whole and to deepen the foundation of the reality and be ever more passionate about the world, we should embrace both aspects of reality; the rational and the irrational, dream and reality, the conscious and the unconscious, the real and the symbolic as if they are one and the same thing, and not privilege one over the other.

What I try to do in my videos and sculptures is to express and invoke the irrational and the surreal. I have problem with people not “getting” my work because I think to a certain extend, as llong as you figure out the meaning behind a piece of artwork or a film, it ceases to become interesting. People tend to look at a certain pieces of artwork, read a poem, or watch a film and walk away with a befuddled expression and call the work weird and senseless. Yes, it is baffling to the mind to not be able to fully comprehend the meaning of behind a piece of work, but sometimes that is exactly what the artist or the writer’s intention was – to emphasize the randomness and the chaotic nature of reality and to show the observer that not everything is, or needs to be rational, and that sometimes not making sense is where it makes the most sense.
 


 
Nipple Universe.

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