Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
“Interracial” is a term that implicitly categorizes sex between Black cis men and white cis women within contemporary hardcore pornographic video. The artistic and research practice described in this paper is located in, influenced, and driven by pornography itself as an important entry point for thinking about racialized desire.
Looking with care and criticality at the pornographic representation of sex between Black men and white women can allow us to think about how issues of gender and race are key in constructing notions of desire and taboo in America. Through this work I begin to consider how racism and misogyny both infiltrate and structure the pornographic media landscape – constantly being performed/re-performed, rearticulated, and re-imagined within this circulated visual economy. I wade into the internalized feelings of shame and anxiety particularly for white folks in confronting notions of racialized desire, while sitting with the messiness that any project that deals with desire will ultimately encounter.
I approach porn tube sites like Pornhub, X-videos, etc as complex cultural sites, as living consumer-driven archives deserving of intense and nuanced critical exploration through artmaking. Reappropriating, recontextualizing, and manipulating found footage within my work has become an important tool in questioning agency and subjectivity within this space, as well as embracing the multiplicity that exists within any form of representational visual media.
As I consider some of these critical theoretical concerns, I begin placing them in dialogue with my desires, consumption, and relationships through a multidisciplinary art practice that traverses video, photography, sound, and performance. In sharing my own pornographic engagement, I hope to suspend viewers in a space where they can reflect upon their desires and become more active and analytical consumers themselves. This writing and the artmaking it discusses only scratches the surface of what will likely be a lifelong practice and process of examining sexuality, race, and gender within this space and beyond.
Christiansen, Megan, "Imaging "Interracial": performing racialized desire in "interracial" heterosexual hardcore pornography" (2021). Masters Theses. 699.
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