Reading in Spirit fold | with Barbora Trnková ft. Vašulka Kitchen Brno
Image Barbora Trnková, #another_layer_of_aestheticizing_problem #celebrate_acceleration_of_biases #camera #portrait_of_the_camera #selfie #slotmachine #auto_portrait #look_of_internalized_machine_gaze #synthetic_thinking_about_photography #your_addictions_is_the_message #the_art_of_angry_sexualized_woman #insta_recursion, #nightmare_of_imagination #ai_art_is_a_new_historicism #make_cameras_not_photos #going_back_is_the_new_way_forward
5:00 – 6:00 pm CEST
online and on-site
Vašulka Kitchen Brno
Center for New Media Art
Brno House of Arts
Malinovského nám. 2a
602 00 Brno
This reading group event is part
of SEA Foundations’ longer-term
research of art and sustainability
fold #08 on Spirit
The event is free of charge,
organised by artists and volunteers
of the SEA Foundation.
Moderated by Michaela Davidova
The upcoming monthly reading is scheduled for Thursday, the 26th of October. This time we are going to hold the circle in Brno, in the Center for New Media Art Vašulka Kitchen which kindly offered to host the reading on-site in their location with Czech artist and curator Barbora Trnkova as a reading guest. For the reading within our fold #08 on Spirit, she chose an essay Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power written by Audre Lorde and reprinted in the book Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches which can be accessed presently in our library at SEA Foundation.
Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power
“The erotic has often been misnamed by men and used against women. It has been made into the confused, the trivial, the psychotic, the plasticized sensation. For this reason, we have often turned away from the exploration and consideration of the erotic as a source of power and information, confusing it with its opposite, the pornographic. But pornography is a direct denial of the power of the erotic, for it represents the suppression of true feeling. Pornography emphasizes sensation without feeling.” (p. 59, Lorde, 1984)
Within this essay, Audre Lorde highlights the importance of keeping the power of erotic expression within our bodies as well as the spiritual and political realm. Erotic connection means deeply sharing joy with each other and self-affirming women’s position in the patriarchal, racist and anti-erotic society. The erotic charge comes from an emotional rather than rational standpoint, and it is a resource of a feminine power which is long-term oppressed. The erotic is a tool to empower women rooted in their spiritual core. Thus, stimulating erotic knowledge means we deeply connect with all aspects of our lives and through this fulfilled enjoyment we free ourselves from societal and patriarchal control.
Audre Lorde (1934 – 1992) was a US-American poet, writer, feminist and activist, also warrior and mother, writing mainly on the topics of lesbian feminism and racial issues. She was a founder of Kitchen Table: Women of Colour Press, an activist feminist press that was closely related to the National Black Feminist Organization and devoted to publishing writings of underrepresented women, women of colour of all racial/ethnic heritages, national origins, ages, socioeconomic classes, and sexual orientations.
In context of the digital technology
In the context of Trnkova’s artistic practice, the erotic and pornographic are examined through the series of synthetic photographs which use a generative artificial intelligence program MidJourney to produce aesthetically styled photographs based on cultural assumptions and artistic biases. These photographs explore the reproduction of metaprograms incorporated into the technology of learning algorithms and serve as a critique of the construction of such tools and of the society which provided the source data in the first place.
Finally, via the curatorial platform ScreenSaverGallery, the theme of erotic vs pornographic is unfolded in the projects AI:All Idiots and A Darkside Moonwalker. The first one investigates the language of the algorithms as uncompromising and vulgar. On the sample of the representatives of the Czech art scene, the project explores art in the context of digital technology, as recognised by the algorithmic non-human program. The latter presents the side of the internet which is not intentionally visible to a common user – a dark, censored, bent to the power structures; and it leaves us questioning the available content on the internet.
Bio Barbora Trnková
Barbora Trnková is an artist, photographer, curator and a postgraduate student at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Brno University of Technology. In her work, she focuses on formulating a shift in photography from taking photos by camera to creating cameras instead. Her dissertation examines aspects of human-inhuman communication both in the development of technology and as an accompanying phenomenon of the very process of working on a work of art in any medium. She is co-founder of ScreenSaverGallery (together with Tomáš Javůrek and Marie Meixner), and part of the art duo &. Together with Tomáš Javůrek, they create applications, wifi installations, mobile applications and web works under the common name & at their site metazoa.org. They critically examine various aspects of digital technology, with irony and self-irony.
Barbora Trnková website
Vašulka Kitchen Brno
Vašulka Kitchen Brno (VKB) is a place for research, artistic experiment and informal education in the field of new media art. It consists of the archive of Woody and Steina Vašulkas’ work and a permanent exhibition of their selected works. They organize events aimed at commemorating and developing the artistic and philosophical legacy of the Vašulkas, pioneers in new media art with personal ties to Brno, and they support new media art production.
Vašulka Kitchen website
The programme of reading sessions:
More any suggestions for reading? Check out the Spirit recommended booklist