I would be interested to see what other people’s opinions are on the notion of pornography as an art form, or better, whether or not pornography is moving in that direction. I should add, by way of warning, that if you need to search for any of the concepts I am talking about, it is probably safer to do so through a neutral medium such as Wikipedia rather than through google.
First of all, I am not referring to whether or not we may consider the nudes of classic art as pornographic; however, if anyone feels that this is necessary to this discussion, I would be interested to hear their reasoning.
Recent years, and increased use of the internet worldwide, have seen pornography, as an industry, multiply its output and profits tenfold. Compared to just ten years ago, there are a great deal many more people consuming pornography on a regular basis.
I personally consider that pornography is primarily a form of vulgar titillation, rather than being genuinely erotic; my understanding of the erotic is that it is not primarily focused on the more ‘base’ desires of voyeurism and stimulation, that the notion of the erotic is synonymous with our procreative functions.
However, I am interested in areas of pornography which seem to be heading away from ‘pure’ titillation, and more into experimenting with what is possible in the context of pornography. For instance, the practice of Bukkake seems to be farther removed from the notion of ‘pure’ titillation than what is conventionally considered pornography – it strikes me as, presently, being more concerned with extremes of human endurance; further, it seems to question, by exposing one extreme of pornographic enterprise, the precise limits of what will be consumed by the pornography industry – that is, Bukkake strikes me as a question for the ‘art’ of making pornographic films, a similar enterprise to contemporary artists (from Duchamp onwards) questioning what is acceptable within the context of a gallery.
Hentai, similarly, seems far removed from pornographies primary purpose of vulgar titillation, insofar as it is not concerned with representing sex faithfully – in fact, Hentai thrives more on a sort of Freudian dreamwork, on delirium and visual association than what is conventionally considered titillation. Further, I have friends within animation who watch some Hentai videos for their animational skills, and consider the titillation factor minimal if not entirely absent.
So, given these instances (there are others as well), I am basically asking: Could pornography be considered art? Are we beginning to see pornography break away into areas not primarily concerned with titillation? In questioning, or challenging, ‘what is acceptable in pornographic film’ (as spurious as that sounds), what are the ends of contemporary pornographic films.
I don’t wish to give the impression that I am the world’s largest consumer of pornography, and I hope this forum will be good enough to consider my comments with at least a modicum of seriousness. Although pornography is not one of the most enticing areas of philosophical investigation, I’m sure some of you are aware of certain writers (Sontag, Barthes, de Beouvoir (sp?)) exploring the notion of the pornographic.
Opinions, any one?