A Porn against the homophobia (Final project)

Homophobia comes from different sources; it could come from the state, the individuals, and religious influences and represents one of the worst prejudices. İt also ends up influencing hate crimes towards lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans people. It’s hard you tell the reasons behind these hate crimes however we can easily claim that Turkey is not one of the most gay friendly countries. The minister of women and family affairs Sema Aliye Kaval in 2010 told the public openly, “Homosexuality is a disease and therefore, it should be cured”. However the LGBT movement in Turkey is rapidly growing. Since Gezi Park protests that includes different segments of Turkish society, homosexuality became more familiar. The movement around the park, brought LGBT people, football fans, anti-capitalist muslims, socialists, radical left groups and the white middle left all together against faschism.

Being trans is one of the things that one cannot hide during the sex change, speaking of visibility, I’d like to share with you a quite opposite situation from Berlin where you can see different LGBT groups who express sexuality in an exhibitionist way, fighting homophobia with a different manner: pornography.

Pornography is often described as sexist, vulgar, racist and kitsch. Is is usually blamed to be hateful towards women and people from different races. However what if you shot pornographic and erotic photography and videos which embrace differences, still be sexy and fights with mainstnstream ideologies? And what if you combined activism and art in the way you represent it?  That is what exactly Chris Phillips the photographer of the blog Pornceptual is doing in Berlin.

25 year old photographer moved from Brazil to Berlin to create his own art in an environment which is bullying free and liberal. Berlin is, I must admit, one of the most gay friendly cities, hosting one of the biggest gay prides such as St. Christopher’s Day where millions of LGBT people flock to the city from all over Europe, enjoying a day of liberty and exhibitionism. From BDSM (A variety of erotic practices involving dominance and submission, role-playing, restraint, and other interpersonal dynamics) enthusiasts to trans divas, from LGBT police groups to doctors, everybody is there. Well, in Berlin, even the mayor was gay and the town’s motto is “arm aber sexy” (poor but sexy). So it is not about money, where you come from straight or gay, you could join the LGBT events in Berlin. Because they always offer something “hip and sexy.”

Speaking of Chris Phillips, he comes from Brazil from actually a religious background. His father is actually a pastor! He says that Brazil is known for its carnivals and sexual freedom image but its not as it seems, it is actually very conservative. In an interview he gave to Berlin Art Parasites, he says, “I was taught that sex is a sin, and grappled with this conditioned guilt until I was around 18 years old. I thought sex isn’t like this; it can be something else. Of course I love my parents and I respect their beliefs, but I have different ideas and know I wouldn’t be happy if I was lying to myself/ I think sex is an important part of life. Making the website helped me deal with this.” Chris studied his MA in Visual and Media Anthropology in Berlin and saw that there is and upcoming marketing Berlin for art porn. So he invites artists and collaborates with people so that they can express their sexuality in a creative way. He claims that Berlin is the right city for it because people are very open-minded and appreciate the idea behind Pornceptual. Chris takes all sorts of provocative topics. Some are artistic and easy-going like “Tropical porn or Futuristic porn” and some are a direct attack to homophobic states like Russian porn and the video against Putin’s homophobic decisions. He shoots his materials in studios and his concept parties where he invites people who are curious in his works and shoots photos of people who want to express their sexuality in liberal ways. Chris sometimes have difficulties in producing his art when he wants to rent a studio saying that he is going to shoot porn, he gots negative replies. And sometimes, homophobic people attack him physically when he wants to put his posters around the town, which especially happened in his Russia Porn project. He claims that his work is more sort of an art project then political movement however he says, “I think the naked body is a very strong political statement by itself. It is a message of freedom, a way of praising the fact their someone can chose how to present their own body.” Chris says that he excludes discourses that are in mainstream porn; therefore he makes Pornceptual open to everyone. Most of all, he express their commercial porn is done with a straight male gaze. He says, “That is why art porn has a strong queer or feminist voice.” Again in an interview he gave to Berlin Art Parasites where he speaks with the journalist Marie J. Burrows, he says, “That’s one of the reasons I started the project, I think porn is very artificial nowadays. It’s so plastic and gay porn is even worse! It is always muscular, straight looking guys, who meet and have sex; they all follow the same script. It’s really annoying so that’s my project for the future, I really want to be a porn website and get more explicit, to have porn videos but done in an artistic way.”

One of Chris Phillips’ ambitions is to improve his skills in video and therefore he says that he really enjoyed working on his Futuristic Porn project where he discovers different possibilities of sex in the future through photography and video. However one of his most spectacular works is Russian Porn project, which was against homophobia in Russia and the new law that forbids any open speech promoting LGBT. The photographs and the videos shot during the Russian Porn party where sent to Russian embassy with the support of Russian LGBT. The event included live art performances, music, vodka and live porn shoot. The outcomes of this event as Chris’ art were very provocative and kinky. So far Chris did many Pornceptual parties in Berlin all of which were largely attended including the concepts like tropical, futuristic, masquerade, pagan and many more.

In Chris’ website, there is a section named “Get Naked” where people who want to model for Chris can let him know. The models are not paid because Chris wants to photograph people who wouldn’t do it for money but who are really passionate about expressing their sexuality. The link to his website where you can see his artwork is: http://pornceptual.com

While I am assuming that Turkey is far from creating her own art pornography that has a queer and feminist voice, it is not impossible as well with the growing movement and increasing awareness in LGBT topics. To 2013 Pride Parade that happened in Istanbul on Istiklal Street, more than 50.000 people attended, making it the biggest Pride Parade of South East Europe and Turkey. So we can easily assume that there is a great potential and the activism in Turkey is only destined to grow.

Erdem Lütfi Oraylı

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