I’m not sure how to start this one off because this week, well this week it was just weird and slightly uncomfortable. Warning: this post contains descriptions of what I can only call pornography.
Sidsel Meineche Hansen is an artist based in London whose research-led practice manifests as exhibitions, interdisciplinary seminars and publications. Her work takes the form of woodcut prints, sculptures, CGI and VR animations that typically foreground the body’s industrial complex in the pharmaceutical, porn and tech-industries. The artist talk will focus on the female avatar ‘EVA v3.0’, a royalty-free product sold online by TurboSquid, a company that supplies stock 3D models for computer games and adult entertainment. The EVA v3.0 avatar is the main protagonist in Sidsel Meineche Hansen’s recent work (The CGI and VR animations: Seroquel®, 2014; No right way 2 cum, 2015 and DICKGIRL 3D(X), 2016) – and an object in her research on post-human sex.
Website: Sidsel Meineche Hansen
Exhibition at Gasworks, London.
Sidsel Meineche Hansen, SECOND SEX WAR, 2016.
Interview in Fader Magazine: SECOND SEX WAR Explores The Limits And Freedom Of Our Bodies In Virtual Reality http://www.thefader.com/2016/03/24/sidsel-meineche-hansen-second-sex-war-interview
Sidsel Meineche Hansen “INSIDER” at Cubitt Gallery, London, November 5, 2014
Source: Information email received prior to the talk
I have to say that throughout this talk, I was talking notes, and every time I looked up, it was some sort of new CGI porn. Yes, you did read that right and I do not blame you if you had to re-read that a few times. What made it even weirder was that Sidsel mentioned at the very beginning that she is not used to talking about her artwork because she is usually teaching.
Sidsel’s work looks lot at the gender aspects of the working relation and looks a lot at the porn industry and how this can be recreated without humans, by using different programmes and creating CGI porn herself.
This is what Sidsel mentioned that she feels like a lot of her work is based on. This was seen in the video that she showed us (mentioned below). There were also quotes that references her work from Sadie Plant and VR, which has not only inspired her work, but also helped it grow. ‘How can institutional critique in art be redefined…?’ and ‘What is an artwork doing?’ are just some of the questions that were displayed.
The first piece that was shown to us however, was not porn. Seroquel, the video, looked at an anti psychotic drug and mentioned very mentally heavy topics such as life, suicide, and questions as to whether pharmaceuticals will help in these situations. She uses specifically CGI within this video, which is also the means to produce the 3D porn. This video had in the background very strange music that almost matched up with what was on the screen. There was also a somewhat robotic voice that lead us through the questions and the journey that they were going to take to kill themselves and through to the drugs. The visuals at several points did make it feel as though I was on these drugs.
Sidsel mentioned that she bought a programme called EVA V3 to build the characters, rooms, situations and pretty much everything else to produce the videos. Through this programme, she looked at how gender is commodified and often how things can be both object and subject at the same time, perhaps seen in pornography. Through this, Sidsel also looked at the simple reproduction of the gender binary e.g. as often in EVA V3 there were hands that looked like either men’s or women’s – there was no middle ground.
I did think at first that Sidel’s work was only bordering on pornography, however, I became very uncomfortable and aware that it was not bordering, but rather it was pornography, when she showed us ‘No Right Way 2 Cum’. This is a CGI video of a woman fingering herself and then cum spraying over the screen. Not what I was expecting.
Sidsel also pointed out that her aim is to bring feminist discourse and technique into the performance space, whether that be the video, etchings, woodcut prints or clay work that she produces. Linking into this, she often looks at the relationship between the avatar, space and sex. She often looks into the porn industry to see the changes that have been made in relation to the feminist discourse and technique. She also explores the genre of porn and body horror and the effect of these on the body, which she looks at through her work.
Source: Cubitt Artists
Source: Torture me so I can learn
Source: Second Sex War
Source: Second Sex War