There’s this delightful sense of yin and yang balance to this image.
Imagine there’s a diagonal line dividing the frame from the lower left to upper right; note: how with the exception of the highlight on the shoulder & back of the arm in the upper left corner, almost everything in the upper portion of the frame is composed of shadow to midtones (with heavy preference given to shadow areas); in the lower part of the frame it’s the inverse mostly highlight but hints of mid-tones, too.
I also really dig how the area of shadow at the left of the frame suggests a right pointing triangle–which strengthens the urge for the viewer’s gaze to move from left to right across the image. This in turn conveys a sense of the extended tongue slowly advancing over highlight-blown, pale skin.
There’s a second triangle formed between the slightly parted lips, tongue and shoulder grasping hand at frame right–which forms a roughly up pointing triangle. (This is part of why the image reads as if the tongue is being dragged upward and not downward.)
It’s nice how the image begins with the darkness of the underlit separation between bodies; whereas, the grasping hand at the right seems to merge two bodies into something singular and inseparable.
Plus, it’s really great how this is technically ‘gram safe–attending to the letter of the law while flipping both middle fingers in the direction of the the spirit of that law.
Most impressive, however, is the rare care both in underscoring the voyeurism inherent in the image as well as telegraphing that you are welcome to watch but this isn’t for the viewer or about the viewer so much as the viewer is just being allowed to see something and they should be grateful for the glimpse.
Source unknown – Title Unknown (20XX)
The way I feel about the Marquis de Sade is not unlike how I feel about hentai–downright irresponsible in its extremity but at the same time relevant and necessary due to its radical openness to a dizzying spectrum of non-traditional experiences.
It’s like that infamous Terrence quote: homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto, or for the non-Latin kids: I am human, and nothing of that which is human is alien to me.
Sure, that doesn’t go along way to explain tentacle sex, and I’m not going to start going out of my way to become familiar with hentai but I do feel that there’s a virtue to obsessively cataloging depravity in all it’s shapes and forms.
Yes, it’s easy to see that sort of thing as a checklist or map–a curriculum for sexual deviance. But, two counterpoints: if so, why bother–I mean isn’t the fun of it at least partly in the novelty? And, those who insufferably follow maps and extant formulas obsessively, lacks the proper imagination to truly embrace depravity.
I feel like–at its best–hentai manages to invent simple, straightforward means of depicting expressions of sexuality that are like nothing I’ve ever seen before and also vaguely synesthetic. For example, looking at this it’s almost as if I can feel it as if I were there.
A lot of words get bandied about with regard to their work: dark, kink, fetish. All lazy designations. The work Inside Flesh makes fixates on the violence of physicality. Depictions of intercourse are reduced to a visual amalgamation of genitals, erogenous zones all while imposing a rigid post-human mechanical anonymity.
I appreciate the attention to detail, the seamlessly glitchy/degraded production aesthetic. Further, a good bit of their work I have explored, not only embraces but emphasizes the potential beauty of the viscous effluvia accompanying human carnality.
It’s interesting that in its mission to counter the inconsistent production ethos of mainstream porn and in it’s implicit critique of the tendency of said industry to reduce expressions of sexuality to a field of grinding, thrusting genitals, Inside Flesh actually recreates much of the insipid repetition they claim to oppose.
All that being said, in spite of my general objection to the decontextualization of close-ups, I really do like this image. The sickly light emanating from what appears to be florescent tubes glaring off the coloration mottling the swollen glans, the saliva wet texture of the curled tongue and toothy pearl glint.
Source: as best as I can tell these six images were likely gathered and arranged by fulme. (The top-center image seems to predate this assemblage.)
In theory, I am a proponent of bricolage.
However, if you are working digitally, there is very little that isn’t at hand for you to use. To me this muddies the already precarious distinction between ‘formal’ collage and MacGyver free association.
I don’t know how to illustrate it except to point to another image that was making the Tumblr rounds back in early October. It’s a really solid idea but the execution is lame brained–half a grapefruit on a white background super-imposed over what looks like the legs of a model wearing a white one-piece American Apparel swimsuit.
On the other hand, the six images above were carefully selected. The similarity in tonal range and luminosity is striking. Further, the arrangement serves to activate the images in different ways, promoting interplay, building and relieving tension by means of line, color, echoing of shape, conceptual mirror, etc.
It’s not without some profound reservations that I am posting this image. There are a host of things that are problematic about it: the indeterminate age of the young woman who could be older than she appears but given the doll and her bracelet probably isn’t. Add the random detritus strewn about the background along with the lurid reflected flash and there’s no denying the unsettling vibe– like some sick fuck uncle is directing his niece for a camera in Grandma Gardenia’s basement.
All that is an enormous put off for me–I know and care deeply about too many friends who have weathered such abuse. But I keep coming back to this image. Beyond everything fucked with it, something about it resonates with me.
A Google Image search returns a single hit for this: a 2009 blog post by a young Swedish woman who gravitates toward the macabre.
This does not exactly set my mind at ease regarding questions of exploitation but the text accompanying the image in the aforementioned post amplifies the resonance I feel towards this image:
Sen lekte vi med dockor.
För det var det som väntades av oss.
(Then we played with dolls.
For that was what was expected of us.)
There are two sides to expectation: what is expected of one and what one expects of oneself–I am expected to play with dolls but I don’t want to play with them or play with them in the way that is customary.
The starker the dichotomy, the greater the feeling of bodily frustration–a deep navel throbbing for physicality, no matter how self-destructive, anything to achieve even a moment’s peace.
A body with only anger to hold it– knows to trust the ruptures; wherever lies the greatest weakness, there also is the greatest need. In such moments the tang of plastic melting into the curled tip of a tongue is so empty and wrong that something has to rush in to fill the space–something no less hopeful because it is broken beyond repair.
Clips from the first part of this scene can be seen on XVideo.
My first instructor in film school was a regal woman of Indian sub-continental extraction. On the first day while I second guessed all the decisions that had brought me there, she went around the room, greeting everyone by name with a Namaste + a bow; she explained it meantthe spark in me acknowledges the spark in you.
About a month ago, an acquaintance/friend was chatting with me. We had been talking about a number of superficial things when the topic suddenly shifted to childhood trauma. I had to figure out ways to deal with [the] darkness, and they were definitely not healthy, she said.
When I was eight I was preoccupied with black holes. They intrigued me because light could not escape them.
I wondered if one could focus darkness in the same manner as a flashlight focused light + and the respective beams were pointed directly into each other which would win out?
Why isn’t there a word for the darkness in me will not turn away from the darkness in you?
There is but it is not a word. I speak it with lips, with tongues + touch. And while I speak everything is dew wet—new and true.
This darkness in me stares into the darkness in you.
Onomatopoeic words tend to grate on my ears even if I am intrigued by the concept of a word’s sound being its meaning.
Similarly synesthesia fascinated me; although, again, I am less interested in someones seeing the number one as blue than in the fact such an associative experience happens.
These and other word-concepts like them make me wish there were a term indicating a unity between medium and message. It would prove a helpful too for talking about images like this where the medium and the process involved in creating the final image bestows great authenticity to the truth of the message– watercolor, the wet and mess of lips, tongues and teeth & the surreal impression of immediacy, color and texture upon execution that is rendered when the colors dry, respectively.
Then I noticed the boy’s expression which reads to me as a sort of haughty bitch-why-aren’t-you-deep-throating-my-shit-already pout. Uh, hello Fuckwit. She has her soft, warm tongue on the most sensitive part of your anatomy. Please die. Now.
I should have left it at that. But no, I am trying to be a more thorough curator. I just had to query TinEye.
And le sigh, it’s true the images are part of a series. It’s hosted on BeataPorn. (There’s a FREE PREVIEW of the series but probably unnecessary spoiler: it’s the same old eyes-bleeding-from-uninspired-repetition-of-the-routinzed-hetero-normative suck-and-fuck charade.)