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Digital Proximities: Internet Art and the Economies of Porn

Tuesday, 8 November 2011, at 18:30
Concordia University, EV-1.605

Kelly Dennis
University of Connecticut

The intersection of art and pornography on the radically dispersive Internet activates multiple discourses surrounding nudity, obscenity, feminism, voyeurism and exhibitionism, as well as the increasingly warring agendas of corporate profit and community and amateur ideals. As one commentator acknowledges, "[t]he debate over Internet porn isn't community standards vs. free speech. It's community standards vs. a free market." Even as pornography is enviously acknowledged as a communications technology pioneer by the corporate sector, many artists are attuned to the implications of this envy. Though the artists discussed in this talk deal ostensibly with pornography, they also negotiate many of the terms of pornography's own negotiation of the Internet: its economies, its communities, its sexisms, and its surveillance.

Kelly Dennis is Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History and the History of Photography. Her first book, Art / Porn: A History of Seeing and Touching (Berg Publishers, 2009), concerns the impact of photography on depictions of the nude and on art-historical paradigms of mimesis. Her work on photography, performance art, and pornography has appeared in such books as Photography: Theoretical Snapshots; Strategies for Theory: From Marx to Madonna; Analecta Husserliana: The Yearbook of Phenomenological Research; and Solitary Pleasures: The Historical, Literary and Artistic Discourses of Autoeroticism. She has also published in Art Journal, History of Photography, and n.paradoxa, and in encyclopedias and exhibition catalogues.

Image: Thomas Ruff, Nude ez 14, 1999.