Postmodernity: Consumption As Aesthetics


ˈärt, ərt noun: the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects.
From la wik:

The second and more recent sense of the word “art” is as an abbreviation for creative art or fine art, and emerged in the early 17th century.

Fine art means that a skill is being used to express the artist’s creativity, or to engage the audience’s aesthetic sensibilities, or to draw the audience towards consideration of the finer things.

The finer things.

From artist Clayton Cubitt, whose work has been described as “a threeway between Terry Richardson, Nick Knight and Irving Penn,” comes (pun intended):

Hysterical Literature: a viral video art series exploring mind/body dualism, distraction portraiture, and the contrast between culture and sexuality.

Translation: Post-scarcity enlightenment, descriptors for description’s sake.

Cubitt’s work consists of several videos where some women read edgy and profound works of (300-level) literature while someone off-camera diddles their coochies with a back massager.

(As an aside, this is what happens when equality intersects with education: the difference between pornography and art becomes a matter of degree(s). The existential crisis of thinking man is resolved with objectification.)

The videos are in black-and-white, which is supposed to be symbolic, to express difference, to project meaning.The lack of color signals to the audience that there is gravitas, a depth behind the work, like a contrast or something.

…Meanwhile, some bitch is getting her depth wet. Har-har-har.

The trick is that you are supposed to see these women as real, and not actors, professional objects (porn stars).

The con is that you are supposed to believe this is an actual work of genuine creativity, and not a contrived sales pitch.

The delusion is to be convinced that a video of a woman orgasming in black-and-white can be as enduring an aesthetic work as a van Gogh.

Because Art in this day and age is an expression of humanity’s pains and struggles, an extension of, reflection upon man’s greater journey towards an ultimately unattainable perfection…

Except our age’s Art has fuck-all to do with that, it’s really about a woman getting jilled-off.

I can hear Charles Bukowski laughing in Hell right now.


Salon magazine, naturally, will have what Stoya™ and her fellow props are having.

Quoted below is the most interesting segment from their interview with Cubitt:

I’ve long been fascinated with the concept of control and authenticity in portraiture, especially in these modern times of personal branding, Facebook self-portraits and incessant Instagram self-documentation. What is left for the portraitist to reveal? How can we break through to something real? So I’ve had several projects related to distracting the sitter from their practiced poses into something more akin to reality, albeit an artificially engineered veneer of it.

I’ve made large-format still image formal portraits of sitters as they tried to maintain eye contact with the camera while being vibrated or tickled. I’ve made a video series called Long Portraits where subjects were filmed for five minutes or more just looking into the camera.

These are all attempts to see something they’re not trying to show me.

“Attempting to see something not shown.”

You have all the time and credit in the world, and you spend it trying to find God by dildoing some actresses while they recite fucking Walt Whitman.

The ancient world gave up on the idea of transmuting iron to gold; when are we going to give up on the idea of transmuting the vulgar into the ineffable?

You fucking love science because it cannot return the insult.

I’ll spare a bit of empathy here: it’s gonna be pretty fucking miserable for Cubitt when (if) he finally realizes that there was and is nothing left to discover in the first place.

Sexuality is but biological necessity, brute animalism; it always has been, it always will be. Your individual gina tingles will not alter this reality; you are but a sack of meat with an expiration date. Nothing new under the sun.

The beauty, the Art, comes from seeking something beyond the base and the vulgar. The aesthetic ideal of human coupling emerges from a denial of the easily-instinctual. The ideal is a result of work, effort, pain and conflict… All aimed towards something enduring (love).

Simply achieving your tingly crotch-sneeze is the end-goal for a pre-human existence: no amount or combination of pretentious words and contrived video editing can ever change this fact.


Cubitt’s videos amount to a childish expectation of effect without effort. Contra Salon and their 50 Shades of demographic, this opus does not turn orgasm into art, but vice versa.