Teaching Post-Pornography

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Tim Gregory
Astrid Lorange

Abstract

This article introduces the term ‘post-pornography’, drawing on diverse texts from the last three decades. We propose that ‘post-pornography’ expands Porn Studies beyond its focus on explicit representations of sex. First, we outline the history of post-pornography as a concept that emerged in the sex-positive, anti-censorship and queer/feminist moment in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s and has subsequently been taken up by a diverse group of artists, activists and scholars to describe practices that both reference and attempt to move beyond pornography. We define post-pornography as characterised by three aspects—the denaturalising of sex, the de-centring of the spectator and the recognition of media and technology as inseparable from sex. We examine the history of Porn Studies in the university, including in our own faculty at UNSW Art & Design, and the singular influence of Linda Williams in defining its place and setting out its pedagogical methods. We propose post-pornography as a framework that can confront prevailing assumptions about sex and sexuality that underpin Porn Studies and its critique of pornography, and outline a set of concepts that have emerged from the development of the second- and third-year art theory course Post-Pornographic Bodies.

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Articles (Peer Reviewed)
Author Biographies

Tim Gregory, University of New South Wales

Tim Gregory is an artist and theorist, with a research focus on the politics and distribution of representation of sex and sexuality. He is currently a lecturer in Art at UNSW Art & Design.

Astrid Lorange, University of New South Wales

Astrid Lorange is a writer and artist. Her research focuses on contemporary poetry and poetics and its relation to politics. She lectures in Art Theory at UNSW Art & Design.