Saturday, August 19, 2017

How to Break Free from Your Jealousy?

Jealousy is a killer. Relationships end because of jealous conflicts and people kill other people because they are jealous.

Imagine this. You are at a party and someone is friendly and you smile. Your partner thinks that you are betraying her. Or your partner tells you a funny story about a former lover and you feel threatened. You feel the anger and the anxiety rising inside you and you don’t know what to do.

Susan could identify with this. She would glare at her partner, trying to send him a “message” that she was really annoyed and hurt. She hoped he would get the message. At times, she would withdraw into pouting, hoping to punish him for showing an interest in someone else. But it didn’t work. He just felt confused.

At other times Susan would ask him if she still found her attractive. Was he getting bored with her? Was she his type? At first, he would reassure her, but then—with repeated demands for her for more reassurance—he began to wonder why she felt so insecure. Maybe she wasn’t the right one for him.

And when things got more difficult for Susan, she would yell at him, “Why don’t you go home with her? It’s obvious you want to!”

These kinds of jealous conflicts can end a relationship.

But, if you are jealous, does this mean that there is something terribly wrong with you?

Let's look at what is going on when you are jealous and how you can handle it.

Jealousy is angry agitated worry.



When we are jealous we worry that our partner might find someone else more appealing and we fear that he or she will reject us. Since we feel threatened that our partner might find someone more attractive, we may activate jealousy as a way to cope with this threat. We may believe that our jealousy may keep us from being surprised, help us defend our rights, and force our partner to give up interests elsewhere. Similar to worry, jealousy may be a “strategy” that we use so that we can figure out what is going wrong or learn what our partner “really feels.” We may also think that our jealousy can motivate us to give up on the relationship—so that we don’t get hurt any more. If you are feeling jealous, it’s important to ask yourself what you hope to gain by your jealousy. We view jealousy as a coping strategy.

Similar to other forms of worry, jealousy leads us to focus only on the negative. We interpret our partner’s behavior as reflecting a loss of interest in us or a growing interest in someone else: “He finds her attractive” or “He is yawning because I am boring.” Like other forms of worry, jealousy leads us to take things personally and to mind-read negative emotions in other people: “She’s getting dressed up to attract other guys.”

Jealousy can be an adaptive emotion.

People have different reasons—in different cultures—for being jealous. But jealousy is a universal emotion. Evolutionary psychologist David Buss in The Dangerous Passion makes a good case that jealousy has evolved as a mechanism to defend our interests. After all, our ancestors who drove off competitors were more likely to have their genes survive. Indeed, intruding males (whether among lions or humans) have been known to kill off the infants or children of the displaced male. Jealousy was a way in which vital interests could be defended.

We believe that it is important to normalize jealousy as an emotion. Telling people that “You must be neurotic if you are jealous” or “You must have low self-esteem” will not work. In fact, jealousy—in some cases—may reflect high self-esteem: “I won’t allow myself to be treated this way.”



Jealousy may reflect your higher values

Psychologists—especially psychoanalysts—have looked at jealousy as a sign of deep-seated insecurities and personality defects. We view jealousy as a much more complicated emotion. In fact, jealousy may actually reflect your higher values of commitment, monogamy, love, honesty, and sincerity. You may feel jealous because you want a monogamous relationship and you fear that you will lose what is valuable to you. We find it helpful to validate these values in our patients who are jealous.

Some people may say, “You don’t own the other person.” Of course, this is true—and any loving relationship with mutuality is based on freedom. But it is also based on choices that two free people make. If your partner freely chooses to go off with someone else, then you may rest assured that you have good reasons to feel jealous. We don’t own each other, but we may make affirmations about our commitment to each other.

But if your higher values are based on honesty, commitment and monogamy, your jealousy may jeopardize the relationship. You are in a bind. You don’t want to give up on your higher values—but you don’t want to feel overwhelmed by your jealousy.

Jealous feelings are different from jealous behaviors

Just as there is a difference between feeling angry and acting in a hostile way, there is a difference between feeling jealous and acting on your jealousy. It’s important to realize that your relationship is more likely to be jeopardized by your jealous behavior—such as continual accusations, reassurance-seeking, pouting, and acting-out. Stop and say to yourself, “I know that I am feeling jealous, but I don’t have to act on it.”

Notice that it is a feeling inside you. But you have a choice of whether you act on it.

What choice will be in your interest?



Accept and observe your jealous thoughts and feelings

When you notice that you are feeling jealous, take a moment, breathe slowly, and observe your thoughts and feelings. Recognize that jealous thoughts are not the same thing as a REALITY. You may think that your partner is interested in someone else, but that doesn’t mean that he really is. Thinking and reality are different.

You don’t have to obey your jealous feelings and thoughts.

Notice that your feeling of anger and anxiety may increase while you stand back and observe these experiences. Accept that you can have an emotion—and allow it to be. You don’t have to “get rid of the feeling.” We have found that mindfully standing back and observing that a feeling is there can often lead to the feeling weakening on its own.

Stop comparing yourself to others

As said, some (not all) jealousy may be driven by low self-esteem. "How could they love me? I don't understand how someone like them could be attracted to someone like me!" We none of us are supposed to understand exactly why someone loves us. Does the Mona Lisa painting know why it is so valuable? Of course, you may be able to appreciate attractive qualities in yourself, but consider this:

There are better looking, richer, funnier, smarter, younger people around than just about all of us, but these are qualities of a 'product'. If he or she loves you, it will be because of an extra, indefinable quality you have that they couldn't even explain - some deep part of your humanity they connected to which transcends looks, youth, wealth, and so forth. Some of the most loved people in history have been well down the list when it comes to looks or wealth. Stop trying to 'work out' why they can possibly like you.



Recognize that uncertainty is part of every relationship

Like many worries, jealousy seeks certainty. “I want to know for sure that he isn’t interested in her.” Or, “I want to know for sure that we won’t break up.” Ironically, some people will even precipitate a crisis in order to get the certainty. “I’ll break off with her before she breaks off with me!”

But uncertainty is part of life and we have to learn how to accept it. Uncertainty is one of those limitations that we can’t really do anything about. You can never know for sure that your partner won’t reject you. But if you accuse, demand and punish, you might create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Stop confusing make-believe with reality

Jealousy, like many psychological problems (from hypochondria to paranoia), is driven by the destructive use of the imagination. The imagination is great...if you use it for your own benefit, not if it messes with your mind. Stephen King has a stellar career from making stuff up and writing about it. But he distances himself (thankfully for him!) from stuff he creates in his head. He doesn't believe everything he writes is real just because he imagined it. Right now, I can imagine an alien invasion headed right towards Earth. I can vividly 'see' the pesky aliens about to land the mother ship in my local park, but I don't believe it.

Stop trusting your imagination so much. Think about it:
·         Your partner is home later than you thought they were going to be.
·         You start to imagine them having an intimate drink with that handsome guy you saw working in her office or that luscious sister of his new gym partner you happened to see one time.
·         You become angry, upset, frightened - without having any evidence that what you imagined is real.
·         They come home and you react 'weirdly' by being very cold or you have an outburst of anger toward them.
·         They become defensive and angry back in turn.

Examine your assumptions about relationships

Your jealousy may be fueled by unrealistic ideas about relationships. These may include beliefs that past relationships (that your partner had) are a threat to your relationship. Or you may believe that “My partner should never be attracted to anyone else.” You may also believe that your emotions (of jealousy and anxiety) are a “sign” that there is a problem. We call this “emotional reasoning”—and it is often a very bad way to make decisions.

Or you may have problematic beliefs about how to feel more secure. For example, you may believe that you can force your partner to love you—or force him or her to lose interest in someone else. You may believe that withdrawing and pouting will send a message to your partner—and lead him to try to get closer to you. But withdrawing may lead your partner to lose interest.

Sometimes your assumptions about relationships are affected by your childhood experiences or past intimate relationships. If your parents had a difficult divorce because your father left your mother for someone else, you may be more prone to believe that his may happen to you. Or you may have been betrayed in a recent relationship and you now think that your current relationship will be a replay of this.

You may also believe that you have little to offer—who would want to be with you? If your jealousy is based on this belief, then you might examine the evidence for and against this idea. For example, one woman thought she had little to offer. But when I asked her what she would want in an ideal partner—intelligence, warmth, emotional closeness, creativity, fun, lots of interests—she realized that she was describing herself! If she were so undesirable, then why would she see herself as an ideal partner?

Listen to your partner

If your partner tells you she will be late for dinner because of work, try to trust her. This is easier said than done, but give it some time. In the beginning, you won’t trust your partner and you’ll feel restless. But after a while you’ll see that by trusting your partner the jealousy slowly fades away.

What happens if you don’t trust your partner? You’ll probably check your partner’s whereabouts and you’ll only be satisfied when you have proof… for a while. Because every time your partner is somewhere else, you need to feed the jealous wolf inside you. If you can’t feed the jealous wolf, it becomes hungrier and more upset (your jealousy becomes worse). By checking if your partner spoke the truth you are actually feeding the wolf (and so you keep the wolf alive). So basically, dealing with jealousy means that you stop checking your partner’s whereabouts, and start to believe your partner. Another tip: write down or think of all the possible reasons your partner may have to be late, or to act ‘mysterious’. Write down your jealous making thoughts the last. Then rate them: how likely is this reason (in percentage). Make sure you start with the first one you wrote down and make sure they all add up to 100%. Now, check the results.

Use effective relationship skills

You don’t have to rely on jealousy and jealous behavior to make your relationship more secure. You can use more effective behavior. This includes becoming more rewarding to each other—“catch your partner doing something positive.” Praise each other, plan positive experiences with each other, and try to refrain from criticism, sarcasm, labeling, and contempt. Learn how to share responsibility in solving problems—use “mutual problem solving skills.” Set up “pleasure days” with each other by developing a “menu” of positive and pleasurable behaviors you want from each other. For example, you can say, “Let’s set up a day this week that will be your pleasure day and a day that will be my pleasure day.” Make a list of pleasant and simple behaviors you want from each other: “I’d like a foot-rub, talk with me about my work, let’s cook a meal together, let’s go for a walk in the park.”



Stop limiting your partner

Jealous people love to limit their partner as much as possible. You might not want to admit it, but it is true. Dealing with jealousy like this is the easiest way. It makes you feel good to know that your partner is not in touch with A or B any more. But does it make you trust your partner more? No, not at all. Why? Exposure. I will use an example to illustrate this.

The first time you did something exciting (bungee jump, driving a car, or having sex) it was amazing and you were high in adrenaline. Just thinking of this experience made you feel excited again. However, after doing a lot of bungee jumps, driving the car a lot or having a lot of sex with the same person, it becomes less exciting. What does this have to do with jealousy? Well, imagine that your partner chatting to your rival is like a first bungee jump, it’s very scary and you will feel a lot of adrenaline. But the more your partner talks to your rival, the more normal it becomes. Normal things do not make you upset or anything.

But pay attention: you will constantly find something new in your partner’s behavior to be jealous of (she touched his arm, she kissed him too close to the mouth when saying goodbye, she smiles too often <— but this is your imagination). Give your partner the chance to show that they can be trusted. Not limiting your partner is scary in the beginning, but a very effective way of dealing with jealousy on the long run.

Look at the Big Picture

We can get so wrapped up with what we have that it's hard to maintain a realistic perspective on things sometimes. If there is something that's stopping you from being satisfied with the way things are, try to find the root of the issue. Talk it out or take some time for yourself to reflect on what steps need to be taken to make these changes. Address potentially invisible issues or dissatisfactions before they become real problems.

Per the relationship experts Susie and Otto Collins in an article on World of Psychology, it's important to stop stalking and start talking when jealousy hits. If you have a gut-wrenching feeling that your partner is cozying up a little too closely with someone else, vocalize rather than accuse. There may be something missing or just something that's needed to be talked about for a while that you couldn't even see because you were too busy focusing on your suspicions.




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Monday, March 13, 2017

How Much Czar Alexander II Assassination affected Future of Russia?

Russia – a huge country somewhere far away, a country with almost no history of real democracy, a country, which is currently responsible, directly or indirectly, for many negative political processes in the modern World, a country, which decided to revise the established borders and order by capturing territories of the neighboring countries – Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine.

But why the country with huge territory and enormous natural resources has not turned to the prosperous establishment, but merely managed to supply oil, gas, gold, and educated human resources to the World, remaining almost permanently on the list of the “outlaws”, together with N. Korea, Venezuela, and Iran.

But maybe, just maybe, the reason, at least partially, the reason of the unfortunate past can be attributed to this day in the history, the event that happened exactly 136 years ago.

This day, March 13, 1881 (March 1 – Old Style), Czar Alexander II, the ruler of Russia since 1855, was killed in the streets of St. Petersburg by a bomb, thrown by a member of the revolutionary “People’s Will” group. The People’s Will, organized in 1879, employed terrorism and assassination in their attempt to overthrow Russia’s czarist autocracy. They murdered officials and made several attempts on the czar’s life before finally assassinating him.

As czar, Alexander did much to liberalize and modernize Russia, including the abolishment of serfdom in 1861. However, when his authority was challenged, he turned more repressive, and he vehemently opposed movements for political reform. Ironically, on the very day he was killed, he signed a proclamation–the so-called Loris-Melikov constitution–that would have created two legislative commissions made up of indirectly elected representatives, offering the substantial step towards democratic constitution.



Alexander II Reforms

Alexander II’s ‘great reforms’ stand out as among the most significant events in nineteenth century Russian history. Alexander became known as the ‘Csar Liberator’ because he abolished serfdom in 1861. Yet 20 years later he was assassinated by terrorists.

Why did Alexander decide to introduce a program of reforms, and why did these reforms fail to satisfy the Russian people?

The reforms were a direct response to Russia’s defeat in the Crimean War and were intended to liberate Russian society from some of its most archaic practices, improve the economic and military efficiency of the war and preserve the existing socio-political structure by a process of modification. The essentially conservative nature of Alexander’s reforms is betrayed by the continuity in policy from the reign of his predecessor Nicholas I (1825-1855). Yet this conservatism, far from guaranteeing the safety of the aristocracy, jeopardised the stability of Russia because it left a 50-year legacy of social and political dissatisfaction to Alexander’s successors.

Emancipation: The Fundamental Reform

The need for reform was evident well before the reign of Alexander II. The Decembrist Revolt of 1825 occurred just as Nicholas I acceded to the throne. Although it was unsuccessful, the uprising demonstrated that the autocracy could not continue to ignore demands for reform indefinitely. The condition of the peasantry was perhaps the most prominent weakness in Russian society. The Pugachev Revolt (1773-75) had served as a reminder of the threat that a dissatisfied peasantry could represent.

Nicholas I introduced a series of minor reforms which improved the conditions of state and crown peasants and which were intended to serve as a model to the dvoriane (nobility) as to how they should treat their private serfs. Most landowners, however, took little notice of these measures and continue to extract feudal dues and labour services from their serfs without regard for their welfare. It is clear that Nicholas I abhorred serfdom: in 1842 he declared to the Council of State: ‘There can be no doubt that serfdom in its present situation in our country is an evil… [It] cannot last forever … The only answer is thus to prepare the way for a gradual transition to a different order…’ However, the conservatism of the autocracy was such that it would not compel the dvoriane by abolishing serfdom unilaterally. It took the shock of Russia’s disastrous performance in the Crimean War, the concomitant death of Nicholas I and the accession of Alexander II to alter the situation.

Alexander II had served on the committees of inquiry into serfdom and he was acutely aware of the weakness of the Russian state. Defeat by Britain and France now demonstrated that Russia was lagging behind her European counterparts. In the autumn of 1856 Yuriy Samarin, a prominent Slavophile, articulated the concerns of political society when he wrote that 'We were defeated not by the external forces of the Western alliance but by our own internal weakness.' Criticisms of serfdom were echoing from many quarters. General Dimitry Milutin, later Minister for War (1861-1881), advised the new Tsar that reform of the Russian army was impossible while serfdom continued to exist. Only by reforming the very foundations of Russian society could effective military capacity be restored and great power status recovered Serfdom was also condemned as economically inefficient. K. D. Kavelin, a liberal university professor, wrote a critique of serfdom in 1856 in which he observed that 'In the economic sphere, serfdom brings the whole state into an abnormal situation and gives rise to artificial phenomena in the national economy which have an unhealthy influence on the whole state 'organism of the state’. It was argued that serfdom impeded the emergence of a modern capitalist economy because the existence of an inelastic labour force and the absence of a money economy retarded industrial development It was further argued that serfdom was an inefficient and unproductive form of agriculture because, essentially, it was forced labour, and so the serfs had no incentive to do any more than subsist.

Despite these powerful arguments in favor of abolishing serfdom, it was still difficult for Alexander II to overcome the inertia of the dvoriane on the issue The Csar had to conjure up the specter of widespread peasant revolt in order to persuade his reticent nobles that there was no alternative to Emancipation. In a speech to the Tver nobility, he declared that 'It is better to abolish serfdom from above than to wait for the time when it begins to abolish itself from below.'



Other Reforms

In response to the overwhelming defeat (1856) suffered by Russia in the Crimean War and to attempt to keep pace with military advances in other European countries, Alexander II appointed Dmitry Milyutin to carry out significant reforms in the Russian armed forces. The changes included universal military conscription, introduced for all social classes on 1 January 1874. Prior to this new regulation, as of 1861, conscription was compulsorily enforced only for the peasantry. Conscription had, prior to this reform, been 25 years for serfs that were drafted by their landowners, which was widely considered to be a life sentence. Other military reforms included extending the reserve forces and the military district system, which split the Russian states into 15 military districts, a system still in use over a hundred years later.

The building of strategic railways and an emphasis on the military education of the officer corps comprised further reforms. Corporal punishment in the military and branding of soldiers as punishment were banned. The bulk of important military reforms were enacted because of the poor showing in the Crimean War.

A new judicial administration (1864), based on the French model, introduced security of tenure. A new penal code and a greatly simplified system of civil and criminal procedure also came into operation. Reorganization of the judiciary, to include trial in open court, with judges appointed for life, a jury system and the creation of justices of the peace to deal with minor offences at local level.

Alexander's bureaucracy instituted an elaborate scheme of local self-government (zemstvo) for the rural districts (1864) and the large towns (1870), with elective assemblies possessing a restricted right of taxation, and a new rural and municipal police under the direction of the Minister of the Interior.

The Impact of Alexander II's Reforms

Significant though the reforms of Alexander II were, they failed to create popular support for the Tsarist regime. In 1862, Alexander granted Poland limited autonomy, but the Poles were traditionally hostile to the Russian Empire and in 1863 they rebelled. The Polish Revolt was countered with repression, the orthodox policy of Tsarist autocracy. In 1866, Karakazov, a former student of the University of Kazan, fired a pistol shot at the Tsar. This unsuccessful attempt on Alexander's life resulted in the replacement of Golovnin, the Minister of Education, by the conservative Dimitry Tolstoy, who acted to restrict access to university education.

Russian intellectuals interpreted Alexander's reforms as an attempt to perpetuate the existing political system. Historical opinion has for the most part agreed with this assessment. Florinsky, for example, has suggested that the reforms were nothing more than ‘halfhearted concessions on the part of those who (with some exceptions) hated to see the disappearance of the old order and tried to save as much of it as circumstances would allow’. The response of the Russian intelligentsia was the Populist 'going to the people' in 1874. When this failed, propaganda gave way to terrorism, which culminated in the assassination of Alexander II in 1881. Although it did not achieve its objective of igniting a revolution in Russia, Populism was nevertheless significant. It made a start in developing the political consciousness of the people and its terrorist actions inspired later insurrectionists. The Social Revolutionaries, descendants of Populism, were the most important insurgent group at the turn of the century.



No Constitution for Russia

Alexander II's death caused a great setback for the reform movement. One of his last acts was the approval of Mikhail Loris-Melikov's constitutional reforms. Though the reforms were conservative in practice, their significance lay in the value Alexander II attributed to them: "I have given my approval, but I do not hide from myself the fact that it is the first step towards a constitution." In a matter of 48 hours, Alexander II planned to release these plans to the Russian people. Instead, following his succession Alexander III under the advice of Konstantin Pobedonostsev chose to abandon these reforms and went on to pursue a policy of greater autocratic power.

The assassination triggered major suppression of civil liberties in Russia, and police brutality burst back in full force after experiencing some restraint under the reign of Alexander II, whose death was witnessed first-hand by his son, Alexander III, and his grandson, Nicholas II, both future emperors who vowed not to have the same fate befall them. Both used the Okhrana to arrest protestors and uproot suspected rebel groups, creating further suppression of personal freedom for the Russian people. A series of anti-Jewish pogroms and anti-Semitic legislation, the May Laws, were yet another result.

Finally, the csar's assassination also inspired anarchists to advocate "'propaganda by deed'—the use of a spectacular act of violence to incite revolution."

The downfall of the Romanovs came in 1917 under Nicholas II, largely due to the incompetence of the tsar, a reactionary but weak leader, who not only alienated the lower classes, but also the nobility, who were critical of the influence of the Tsarina and Grigori Rasputin on government affairs. There is no doubt that Nicholas faced a number of great difficulties when he came to the throne, but his lack of leadership and political authority exacerbated these differences, and despite measures which may have temporarily appeased radicals (such as the October Manifesto of 1905), Nicholas II’s mishandling of domestic politics largely contributed to the downfall of the Romanov monarchy.

The legacy of Alexander II is mixed - despite emancipating the serfs, he laid upon them a great burden in the form of redemption dues. Alexander II’s death did result in a reactionary government under Alexander III, but this reactionism, and the problems it later caused for Nicholas II, may not be sufficient enough to explain the reasons for the downfall of the Romanovs in 1917.




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Monday, December 19, 2016

Whitman, Emerson Artistic Reading and… Female Orgasm: Hysterical Literature

The project, we will present in this post, is quite controversial. While it is quite innocent from the official guidelines – there is no nudity or an adult language, it still reveals the most intimate moment in the women’s life – her orgasm.

The standard plot of each video episode is this: Women enter into a room, sit down at a table, and read an excerpt from a book of their choosing. As time progresses, the pace of their reading begins to change, as does their breathing and body positioning. Under the table, outside of the subject's control, an unseen assistant distracts them with a vibrator. The subjects stop reading when they're too distracted or fatigued to continue, at which point they restate their name, and what they've just read. The pieces vary in length based on the response time of the subjects.

The viewers have the opportunity to see the women faces, postures, gestures, and voice expressions in progression from the initial stimulation to the catharsis and to the post-orgasmic relaxation. And that is amazing transformation, you can see in the human body. That is a great secret every woman keeps – of how much she can be radiant, shining, and beautiful after the orgasm.



In the videos below, a series of women sit at a desk and read a book of their choosing aloud. As their reading session continues, you may notice a quickness of breath, some fumbling over easily legible words, light panting, shivering, giggling and moaning.

Clayton Cubitt, has titled his video artistic presentation as “Hysterical Literature”.

“I sat the readers at a table,” Cubitt admitted, “and I showed what society wants to see on top of the table, and I hid the sex under the table. I wanted to see what people would react to more: what they could see, or what they imagined.”

“Bibliothecaphilia” addresses the quiet, mystical allure of the library — a space of escape, of solitude, of transcendence. With the rise of eBooks and library apps, these strange sacred spaces sometimes teeter on becoming obsolete. The group show features artists who unpack our appetites for libraries in all their physical and mythical glory.

While Cubitt’s video series certainly touches on the love of libraries, it simultaneously explores themes of feminism, sexuality, hysteria and authenticity. The moving portraits, shot in stark black-and-white, are part fine art, part viral click-bait, part literary ode, part pornography.

“I’m quite fascinated with the concepts of control and release when it comes to portraiture, especially in this modern of era of social networking profile self-portraits and Instagram, when everyone has a well-practiced notion of personal branding,“ Cubitt explained. “What’s left for the portraitist to capture? One can shock the sitter out of that plastic smile. I’m attempting to lead them back to something real.”



Despite the obvious erotic appeal of Cubitt’s project, the importance extends beyond just sex. For many of the female participants, the session presented an opportunity for women to proudly express their sexualities and retain their power — a man is never pictured on screen. “This is my revolutionary act of selfishness,” wrote one participant of her experience, “my virtual picket sign... my one-woman rally... my rebel yell... my sedentary march... a call for dialogue and understanding.”

Other participants commented on the biased and frustrating response to the piece, which unapologetically displayed the taboo image of female pleasure. “But despite being a project I’m deeply proud of, it has been challenging to deal with the intense scrutiny by the art world for my participation in this work, while my male counterpart rarely dealt with any,” said photographer and artist Marne Lucas, who appears in session nine.

Videos (all 12 episodes)


Where did the idea for Hysterical Literature come from?

The project is an extension and refinement of earlier Cubitt’s video works that explored the concept of distraction and fatigue in the poses of portrait sitters. Today, everyone has a well-practiced pose for "selfies" and social media, and he was interested in how he might make a portrait that makes it impossible for the sitter to maintain this pose. So he did a video series called "Long Portraits" which filmed subjects just sitting making eye contact with the lens for five minutes or longer.

“But this series, as much as I liked it, and as popular it became, was in many ways too anonymous for me. What did it really say about the sitter? It was interesting, but it was mute. And it was conceptual ground already traveled by Andy Warhol's "Screen Tests." I had also created an earlier video piece called "Hitachi Magic Interview" where I interviewed a woman while she was being distracted by a vibrator. It was also interesting, but it felt too close to an interrogation, and I wanted to remove myself from the process as much as possible. So I asked, what if the women could in some way have a conversation with themselves, through the reading of a passage from their favorite book? This would allow self-expression, without the pressure to pose or sound a certain way in a formal portrait or an interview. It would also remove me from the on-screen experience, make for a fascinating battle between the mind and the body, and create a conceptual contrast by blending two areas that society tends to want to view through different lenses: art, and sex. So I put the art on the table and the sex under the table. That's how Hysterical Literature was born”.



What are you trying to say with Hysterical Literature?

Cubbit: “The series examines the battle between the mind and the body. It also explores the cultural contrast between art and sex, particularly how people react to the mixture of the two, and the battle over female sexuality and society's concepts of shame”.

 Why is it called "Hysterical Literature?"

Cubbit: “The title references the ancient concept of "female hysteria," especially the Victorian-era medical treatments meant to "cure" it. At the time it was a catch-all diagnosis for almost any "disruptive" behavior in women, and a variety of treatments were used to cure it, from isolation, to hydrotherapy, to early electric vibrators. The past's confusion and shame attached to female behavior, especially female pleasure, was something I wanted to explore in a modern context, so referencing it was natural. That the word could also mean "funny" was lagniappe, since the videos are quite funny, and many of the subjects laugh at some point in their reading”.



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