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The production and consumption of the sexually explicit : a painterly exploration into the pornification of culture


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Ward, MC 2009 , 'The production and consumption of the sexually explicit : a painterly exploration into the pornification of culture', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This research project examines the phenomena of Porni.fication, a term invented to describe the proliferation and commodification of sexually explicit material within contemporary culture. The central proposition has been to produce a unique suite of paintings that respond to pornography's current position within mainstream society. The research was conducted with the aim of pictorially representing the variety of ways individuals engage with pornography, including as a means for sexual arousal, personal expression and as a cultural informer, and seeks to further both the understanding and proliferation of sexually explicit imagery in order to reflect the influence that pornography has on daily contemporary life.
The desire to produce this thesis comes from a personal attraction to sexual imagery and an intellectual curiosity as to the positive and negative outcomes of the embrace of pornography that is currently taking place, on many levels, throughout contemporary western culture.
Conceptual and formal development of this project is indebted to the work of artists Marcus Harvey, Jasper Goodall, Richard Larter and Eric Fischl. Sexuality and the sexual image lies at the core their respective practices, exploring homemade pornography, porn chic and the crossover between the public and private domains. Theoretical analyses of Pornification, provided by authors Ariel Levy, Catherine Lumby and Susanna Paasonen, were instrumental for understanding how pornography is used in western society and how it has moved from the fringes of culture to its current prominent position. The researching and discussion of these works was critical in providing context for the development of the paintings and establishing where the project sits within the field.
Three specific lines of enquiry were pursued. First, porn chic was examined through Generation Y' s embrace and employment of the pornographic aesthetic. Second, an exploration of pornography's infiltration into the mainstream psyche via the domestic environment and last, the production and consumption of pornography was investigated utilizing homemade pornography sourced from the Internet.
The works produced in this thesis provide a critical re-presentation of the differing ways we, as a society, engage with the sexually explicit. The outcomes highlight the variety of contexts in which pornography is produced, consumed and commodified across different generations, social structures and technologies. The paintings are produced with the intent of broadening the understanding of how we interact with pornography and how it has become firmly entrenched in our society. In this way they contribute, visually, to the body of knowledge concerning sexually explicit material in western culture.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Ward, MC
Keywords: Pornography in popular culture, Sex in mass media
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Copyright 2009 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (MFA)--University of Tasmania, 2009. Includes bibliographical references

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