New York

Carnival Knowledge, “The Second Coming”

Franklin Furnace

Despite its seeming exoticism, pornography as a genre is distinguished by repetitiveness, by a limited range of characterization and narrative, and by a deadly seriousness. Since it is geared to prescribed expectations, it cannot describe what is outside the motor that thrusts toward sexual arousal. That in the Western tradition it privileges male phantasy over female is as important an issue, for what it reveals of the historical suppression, or even disavowal, of women’s phantasy life, as the more common debate on pornography’s reification and “violation” of the female body. “Could there be a Feminist pornography?” Carnival Knowledge, a collective of feminist writers and artists, framed the question through an exhibition of “hot” books, bizarre artifacts, and a series of performances which attempted to provide an alternative to the proscriptive stance of the antipornography lobby.


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