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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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Top 20 most bizarre Google searches in 2016

We live in an age where if we're unsure of a fact, we can just Google it.

And it appears many people ask the search engine some strange questions and rely on it to provide guidance in the event of an existential crisis, asking 'when will I die?' and 'why are we here?'

Thousands of people ask Google if they are pregnant, whether pigs sweat and where to hide a dead body, every month.



The most popular question on the pictorial chart, created by marketing agency Digitaloft is: 'Am I pregnant?'

A staggering 90,500 women ask the search engine this question every month, presumably hoping it can provide an answer in lieu of a pregnancy test.

The second and third most popular questions on the list are: 'How do I get home?' and 'are aliens real?'
While the first question may seem downright daft, a box pops up allowing users in input their postcode or zipcode, to help them with their journey, but unfortunately the search engine is not able to beat Nasa in its quest to find alien life, which it hopes to do before 2025.



Of course many people use Google as a digital doctor, searching for answers to embarrassing ailments. So it's no surprise users ask it bizarre questions about their body.

According to the chart, 49,500 people a month ask whether passing wind burns calories, but unfortunately the myth this bodily function burns 67 calories is false.

Some 22,200 are curious as to why men have nipples, while a more troubled 4,400 people a month Google 'why does my bellybutton smell?'





Worryingly, 3,600 people a month ask whether men have periods, with another 2,900 querying whether men can become pregnant, displaying a rather poor grasp of biology.

A whopping 49,500 people ask the search engine 'when will I die' every month and it seems users are just as clueless when it comes to animals.

Some 18,100 people ask Google whether penguins have knees every month, 8,100 want to know if pigs sweat and 2,900 are curious whether worms have eyes – they don't.

An insecure 2,900 people every month ask the search engine 'does my dog love me?' every month.

Other popular but worrying questions people ask Google every month, include ' how do I hide the dead body? – with 480 queries and 'what happens if I drink blood?' with 880 queries a month.
Some 800 people a month ask Google 'can I marry my cousin?' according to the infographic, meaning 10,560 people a year might be considering popping the question to a relative.
Others are in search of answers to life's mysteries, with 8,100 people asking Google 'why are we here?' every month and the same number asking if the tooth fairy is real.
A clueless 880 people ask where dinosaurs live every month and a further 5,400 whether the Earth is flat – just a couple of thousand years after Aristotle provided evidence for a spherical Earth in 330BC.




Saturday, November 19, 2016

How Many Pilgrims Came to America on Mayflower?

The Thanksgiving Holidays are coming soon, and thoughts of the Americans are coming back through the Ages to the historical background. We all know that the Pilgrims came to this country on the ship, and this ship is Mayflower. Well, the question is if all the passengers on this historical voyage were Pilgrims, and how many of them were coming to step on the unknown continent. I did not know the answer. Do you?



In September 1620, a merchant ship called the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, a port on the southern coast of England. Typically, the Mayflower’s cargo was wine and dry goods, but on this trip the ship carried passengers: 102 of them, all hoping to start a new life on the other side of the Atlantic. Nearly 40 of these passengers were Protestant Separatists–they called themselves “Saints”–who hoped to establish a new church in the New World. Today, we often refer to the colonists who crossed the Atlantic on the Mayflower as “Pilgrims.”

Pilgrims Before the Mayflower

In 1608, a congregation of disgruntled English Protestants from the village of Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, left England and moved to Leyden, a town in Holland. These “Separatists” did not want to pledge allegiance to the Church of England, which they believed was nearly as corrupt and idolatrous as the Catholic Church it had replaced, any longer. (They were not the same as the Puritans, who had many of the same objections to the English church but wanted to reform it from within.) The Separatists hoped that in Holland, they would be free to worship as they liked.

In fact, the Separatists (they called themselves “Saints”) did find religious freedom in Holland, but they also found a secular life that was more difficult to navigate than they’d anticipated. For one thing, Dutch craft guilds excluded the migrants, so they were relegated to menial, low-paying jobs. Even worse was Holland’s easygoing, cosmopolitan atmosphere, which proved alarmingly seductive to some of the Saints’ children. (These young people were “drawn away,” Separatist leader William Bradford wrote, “by evill [sic] example into extravagance and dangerous courses.”) For the strict, devout Separatists, this was the last straw. They decided to move again, this time to a place without government interference or worldly distraction: the “New World” across the Atlantic Ocean.



The Mayflower

First, the Separatists returned to London to get organized. A prominent merchant agreed to advance the money for their journey. The Virginia Company gave them permission to establish a settlement, or “plantation,” on the East Coast between 38 and 41 degrees’ north latitude (roughly between the Chesapeake Bay and the mouth of the Hudson River). And the King of England gave them permission to leave the Church of England, “provided they carried themselves peaceably.”

In August 1620, a group of about 40 Saints joined a much larger group of (comparatively) secular colonists– “Strangers,” to the Saints–and set sail from England on two merchant ships: The Mayflower and the Speedwell. The Speedwell began to leak almost immediately, however, and the ships headed back to port. The travelers squeezed themselves and their belongings onto the Mayflower and set sail once again.

Because of the delay caused by the leaky Speedwell, the Mayflower had to cross the Atlantic at the height of storm season. As a result, the journey was horribly unpleasant. Many of the passengers were so seasick they could scarcely get up, and the waves were so rough that one “Stranger” was swept overboard and drowned.



The Mayflower Compact

After two miserable months at sea, the ship finally reached the New World. There, the Mayflower’s passengers found an abandoned Indian village and not much else. They also found that they were in the wrong place: Cape Cod was located at 42 degrees’ north latitude, well north of the Virginia Company’s territory. Technically, the Mayflower colonists had no right to be there at all. In order to establish themselves as a legitimate colony (“Plymouth,” named after the English port from which they had departed) under these dubious circumstances, 41 of the Saints and Strangers drafted and signed a document they called the Mayflower Compact. This Compact promised to create a “civil Body Politick” governed by elected officials and “just and equal laws.” It also swore allegiance to the English king.

Plymouth Colony and The First Thanksgiving

The colonists spent the first winter, which only 53 passengers and half the crew survived, living onboard the Mayflower. (The Mayflower sailed back to England in April 1621.) Once they moved ashore, the colonists faced even more challenges. During their first winter in America, more than half of the Plymouth colonists died from malnutrition, disease and exposure to the harsh New England weather. In fact, without the help of the area’s native people, it is likely that none of the colonists would have survived. An English-speaking Pawtuxet named Samoset helped the colonists form an alliance with the local Wampanoags, who taught them how to hunt local animals, gather shellfish and grow corn, beans and squash. At the end of the next summer, the Plymouth colonists celebrated their first successful harvest with a three-day festival of thanksgiving.

Eventually, the Plymouth colonists were absorbed into the Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony. Still, the Mayflower Saints and their descendants remained convinced that they alone had been specially chosen by God to act as a beacon for Christians around the world. “As one small candle may light a thousand,” Bradford wrote, “so the light here kindled hath shone to many, yea in some sort to our whole nation.”



Who Came with Mayflower?

Detailed below is a list of the passengers on board the Mayflower during its trans-Atlantic voyage of September 6 - November 9, 1620, the majority of them becoming the settlers of Plymouth Colony in what is now Massachusetts. Of the passengers, 37 were members of the separatist Leiden congregation seeking freedom of worship in the New World.

The Mayflower launched with 102 passengers, as well as at least two dogs. One baby was born during the trip and named Oceanus Hopkins. Another, Peregrine (meaning "wanderer") White, was born on the Mayflower in America on November 20, before the settlement at Plymouth. About half of these emigrants List of Mayflower passengers who died in the winter of 1620 - 1621|died in the first winter. Many Americans can trace their ancestry back to one or more of these individuals who, 'Saints' and 'Strangers' together, would become known as the Pilgrim Fathers|Pilgrims.

The names of those which came over first, in the year 1620, and were by the blessing of God the first beginners and in a sort the foundation of all the Plantations and Colonies in New England; and their families.

Mr. John Carver, Katherine his wife, Desire Minter, and two manservants, John Howland, Roger Wilder. William Latham, a boy, and a maidservant and a child that was put to him called Jasper More.

Mr. William Brewster, Mary, his wife, with two sons, whose names were Love and Wrestling. And a boy was put to him called Richard More, and another of his brothers. The rest of his children were left behind and came over afterwards.

Mr. Edward Winslow, Elizabeth his wife and two menservants called George Soule and Elias Story; also a little girl was put to him called Ellen, the sister of Richard More.

William Bradford and Dorothy his wife, having but one child, a son left behind who came afterward.

Mr. Isaac Allerton and Mary his wife, with three children, Bartholomew, Remember and Mary. And a servant boy John Hooke.

Mr. Samuel Fuller and a servant called William Button. His wife was behind, and a child which came afterwards.

John Crackston and his son John Crackston.

Captain Myles Standish and Rose his wife.

Mr. Christopher Martin and his wife and two servants, Solomon Prower and John Langmore.

Mr. William Mullins and his wife and two children, Joseph and Priscilla; and a servant, Robert Carter.

Mr. William White and Susanna his wife and one son called Resolved, and one born a-shipboard called Peregrine, and two servants named William Holbeck and Edward Thompson.

Mr. Stephen Hopkins and Elizabeth his wife, and two children called Giles and Constanta, a daughter, both by a former wife. And two more by this wife called Damaris and Oceanus; the last was born at sea. And two servants called Edward Doty and Edward Lester.

Mr. Richard Warren, but his wife and children were left behind and came afterwards.

John Billington and Ellen his wife, and two sons, John and Francis.

Edward Tilley and Ann his wife, and two children that were their cousins, Henry Sampson and Humility Cooper.

John Tilley and his wife, and Elizabeth their daughter.

Francis Cooke and his son John; but his wife and other children came afterwards.

Thomas Rogers and Joseph his son; his other children came afterwards.

Thomas Tinker and his wife and a son.

John Rigsdale and Alice his wife.

James Chilton and his wife, and Mary their daughter; they had another daughter that was married, came afterward.

Edward Fuller and his wife, and Samuel their son.

John Turner and two sons; he had a daughter came some years after to Salem, where she is now living.

Francis Eaton and Sarah his wife, and Samuel their son, a young child.

Moses Fletcher, John Goodman, Thomas Williams, Digory Priest, Edmund Margesson, Peter Browne, Richard Britteridge, Richard Clarke, Richard Gardiner, Gilbert Winslow.

John Alden was hired for a cooper at Southampton where the ship victualed, and being a hopeful young man was much desired but left to his own liking to go or stay when he came here; but he stayed and married here.

John Allerton and Thomas English were both hired, the latter to go master of a shallop here, and the other was reputed as one of the company but was to go back (being a seaman) for the help of others behind. But they both died here before the ship returned.

There were also other two seamen hired to stay a year here in the country, William Trevor, and one Ely. But when their time was out they both returned.

These being about a hundred souls, came over in this first ship and began this work, which God of His goodness hath hitherto blessed. Let His holy name have the praise.

(From William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation,1650).

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