We rehearse for the big death through the little death of orgasm, through erotic living. Death as transfiguration.
She has hands that surround books with their cartilage of honey. She has breasts of uncooked meat, so small, whose pressure drives one mad; her breasts are network of fibers. She has a thought that belongs to me, a thought that is insidious and twisted, that unwinds as from a cocoon. She has a soul.
Antonin Artaud, from Heloise and Abelard in Art and Death, translation by Helen Weaver
3. An artist’s relation to the erotic:
– An artist should develop an erotic point of view on the world
– An artist should be erotic
– An artist should be erotic
– An artist should be erotic
- Marina Abramovic, An Artist’s Life Manifesto
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Vaughan unfolded for me all his obsessions with the mysterious eroticism of wounds, the perverse logic of blood-soaked instrument panels; seat-belts smeared with excrement, sun-visors lined with brain tissue. For Vaughan, each crashed car set off a tremor of excitements in the complex geometries of a dented fender, in the unexpected variations of crushed radiator grilles, in the grotesque overhang of an instrument panel forced on to a driver’s crotch as if in some some calibrated act of machine fellation.
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As erotic language, such as we use in dalliance, is a kind of secretion, a concentrated juice that flows from the lips only in moments of the most intense emotion, of plaint, as this language is, in other words, the essential expression of passion, each pair of lovers has its own peculiar language, a language which has a perfume, an odor sui generis which belongs only to that couple…
There is horror in being: this horror is repugnant animality; this does not repel me, on the contrary, I thirst for it; far from escaping, I may resolutely quench my thirst with this horror … for this I have filthy words at my disposal, words that sharpen the feeling I have of touching on the intolerable secret of being … at this moment I no longer doubt that I am embracing the totality without which I was only outside: I reach orgasm.
Georges Bataille, The Accursed Share, translation by Rowan G. Tepper
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Eroticism is one of the basic means of self-knowledge, as indispensable as poetry.
Poetry leads to the same place as all forms of eroticism—to the blending and fusion of separate objects. It leads us to eternity, it leads us to death, and through death to continuity. Poetry is eternity; the sun matched with the sea.
Seduction involves the appeal of destroying that which seduces us.
Georges Bataille, L’érotisme
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Study for George Bataille’s Histoire de l’oeil by Hans Bellmer, 1946
"Only once woman has reached the peak of her experimental calling, is amenable to permutations and algebraic promises, and is willing to submit to transubstantial whims, only once she is ductile, shrinkable and equipped with an epidermis and joints that are equal to the obvious inconveniences involved in post-hoc assembly or disassembly, only then we will finally be able to clarify the anatomy of desire."
— Hans Bellmer, L’Anatomie de l’Image (Anatomy of the Image)
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Erotic desire is the desire that triumphs over prohibitions: it assumes the opposition of man to himself.
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Art is in the mind, say its protectors, not in the crotch. Is this sanitizing of art truth or compulsive hand washing?
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Technology is never grasped except in the (automobile) accident, that is to say in the violence done to technology itself and in the violence done to the body. It is the same: any shock, any blow, any impact, all the metallurgy of the accident can be read in the semiurgy of the body - neither an anatomy nor a physiology, but a semiurgy of contusions, scars, mutilations, wounds that are so many new sexual organs opened on the body. In this way, gathering the body as labor in the order of production is opposed to the dispersion of the body as anagram in the order of mutilation. Goodbye “erogeneous zones”: everything becomes a hole to offer itself to the discharge reflex. But above all (as in primitive initiation tortures, which are not ours), the whole body becomes a sign to offer itself to the exchange of bodily signs. Body and technology diffracting their bewildered signs through each other. Carnal abstraction and design.
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Each mark, each trace, each scar left on the body is like an artificial invagination, like the scarifications of savages, which are always a vehement response to the absence of the body. Only the wounded body exists symbolically - for itself and for others - “sexual desire” is never anything but the possiblity bodies have of combining and exchanging their signs. Now, the few natural orifices to which one usually attaches sex and sexual activities are nothing next to all the possible wounds, all the artificial orifices (but why “artificial”?), all the breaches through which the body is reversibilized and, like certain topological spaces, no longer knows either interior nor exterior. Sex as we know it is nothing but a minute and specialized definition of all the symbolic and sacrificial practices to which a body can open itself, no longer through nature, but through artifice, through the simulacrum, through the accident. Sex is nothing but this rarefaction of a drive called desire on previously prepared zones. It is largely overtaken by the fan of symbolic wounds, which is in some sense the ana-grammatization of sex on the whole length of the body - but now precisely, it is no longer sex, it is something else, sex, itself, is nothing but the inscription of a privileged signifier and some secondary marks - nothing next to the exchange of all the signs and wounds of which the body is capable. The savages knew how to use the whole body to this end, in tattooing, torture, initiation - sexuality was only one of the possible metaphors of symbolic exchange, neither the most significant, nor the most prestigious, as it has become for us in its obsessional and realistic reference, thanks to its organic and functional character (including in orgasm).
Eroticism is first and foremost a thirst for otherness. And the supernatural is the supreme otherness … the unspoken, the spirit, the soul.
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