Project blog posts:
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SoF #1: Music | SoF #2: Music (Part II) | SoF #3: Confess | SoF #4: Tests 1, 2, 3
SoF #5: Fall In Love With Me | SoF #6: I Have Nothing Left | SoF #7: Tests 4, 5, 6 | SoF #8: Confessional
SoF #9: Thank You | SoF #10: Confessions | SoF #11: Confession Cards
The Sexuality of Fear is the working title for my FMP on the Foundation Art and Design course at the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design. The project hopes to explore the similarities in the anonymity of the Catholic confessional and the anonymity and confession found in sex club dark rooms. They're both places where people discuss and act upon things they wouldn't anywhere else, perhaps because they have some degree of anonymity to hide behind. They're also places where people confront fears but at different levels. I am also interested in exploring how sexual fetishes and general fears and phobias sometimes interlink. This project is also influenced by my current job as a webcam performer.
From February to April I collected secrets and confessions. I asked people to tell me things that they hadn't told anyone before; secrets and confessions both big and small to do with absolutely anything. I also wanted people to think about their fears and phobias and contemplate on why they might have them. I wanted people to search inside themselves and see if any of these things overlapped into their sexuality.
I wanted them to see me as someone that wasn't going to judge them. I wanted people to see it as an opportunity to release feelings that they would usually keep to themselves. I asked people to send me anonymous messages to my Tumblr ask box. I also gave people the chance to post their secret or confession directly into my Confession Box on the following dates:
March 16th, 7pm-late - The Ritas present... at The Islington, 1 Tolpuddle Street, LondonApril 2nd, 6pm-late - Bar Wotever, Royal Vauxhall Tavern, 372 Kennington Lane, London (included a participatory performance)April 15th, 12pm-2pm - School of Art (Bournville) canteen, Maple Road, Birmingham (all 70 confession cards had been used by this point so this was abandoned)Thank you for participating in my project.
Free Live Breakdown
On January 23rd I broadcast live on my Ustream account for two hours as I listened to a playlist made up of 26 songs that I find emotionally effect me the most. This videos shows me listening to six songs that effected me the most. (Spotify playlist)
Test video experimenting with close-ups of parts of my body. Intended to be looped.
Test video experimenting with slowed down shots of a hospital corridor. Intended to be looped.
Fall In Love With Me
Video based on Arthur Aron's theory that all it takes for two strangers to fall in love is for them to reveal intimate details to each other and then stare into each others eyes for four minutes. This formed a sort of confessional for me as I revealed things about myself that I'd previously only told a handful of people.
I Have Nothing Left (first edit)
The idea for this performance piece came to me after working only a week as a webcam performer, as well as after talking to other sex workers about how their job makes them feel. I felt I had nothing left of myself that was private. I felt as if complete strangers had stripped away my identity and personality. I recorded Fall In Love With Me a few days prior to this performance as I wanted it to work alongside I Have Nothing Left; the disclosure of secrets and the feeling of vulnerability. During the performance, as I ripped off the secrets that I had attached to myself, my skin began to get more and more red and when the performance had finished, I noticed that I'd began to bleed in certain areas. Although unintentional, it can be translated as the pain I experience emotionally when revealing intimate details about myself to strangers, clients and friends. The soundtrack is an instrumental cover version of Suede's Pantomime Horse performed by Felix LeMans of The Choir Invisible, which is a song that both upsets me and turns me on.
Clips of my participatory performance Confessional. I ask the participant two questions. The first question is "What is your fear or phobia?", the second question is "What is your fetish or what turns you on?". I write each participant an sexual act combining the two answers. I hand the note to the participant under the toilet door. I tell the participant that they must act out what I have written in order to get over their fear or phobia. Total participants: 17. This performance relates to how people use sexual acts or fetishes to overcome phobias. It also relates to elements of anonymity and trust found in dark rooms, cruising spaces and confessionals. Filmed at Bar Wotever at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, London on April 2nd 2013.
© Olivia Sparrow 2012