HEX THY SEXY PICS - 2022
video / installation
There’s a woman
she’s every fantasy
and no reality
Hex Thy Sexy Pics is a video work on manoeuvring sex-positivity, connecting authentically with one’s own desires and encountering Scopic Capitalism, or a general sense of being sexually objectified, and of being pushed to self-objectify.
The term has been introduced by Eva Illouz in her 2019 book ‘The End of Love: A Sociology of Negative Relations’. It describes a form of exploitation of the woman’s body that is based on the male gaze, as a basis of sociological changes due to modern dating apps and other ways by which female bodies and sexualities are being performed, reproduced and circulated online.
She states that they create pressure for a ‘selfhood in which economy, self-value and sex are seamlesly intertwined’. Women feel worthy to the degree that they can sell themselves as sex-object online, a hot commodity in demand. Men evaluate wome by such standards, with a comparison mindset, and create self-value based on their ability to ‘obtain accessibility’ to what is perceived as being in high demand, with a sense of navigating male competition. Most users are unaware that dating app algorithms are developed on exacerbated principles of slotmachines, thus transforming ‘dating’ into a highly addictive gamble.
‘Scopic Capitalism has had a deep impact on self-worth, ...generating new sources of uncertainty and creating new forms of social hierarchy, disturbing ...how people feel worthwhile in the eyes of others. Especially how women feel worthwhile in the eyes of the men, who continue to control and organise their social lives. ...
For it is mainly ‘women who groom their bodies to produce value, while men consume women’s production of their sexual value... .’
The video draws attention to the reality of revenge porn, leaked nudes, unsolicited explicits, social media child porn hunters (grooming minors for nudes for personal use, then uploading or selling online), hate sex, PuA and Incel culture, date rape and date rape drugs, the free online porn market, as well as nude-picture related mobbing, harassment and blackmail.
The video follows the artist who uses a technique of data bending - of changing digital files by deliberately breaking their code - to corrupt some of her most personal pictures. ‘To Hex’ has a double meaning. The artist works within the files’ so-called ‘hex color code’ (from the Greek word for ‘six’) using a hex-editor and copy pasting lyrics of a song by Iranian singer and producer Sevdaliza. She attempts to remove colour detail, so as to cover up the more explicit parts of each image. The artist is being dressed in the colours of the words being sung. ‘To hex’ (originating from German ‘Hexe’, meaning witch) also refers to witchcraft and magic, to hidden powers which have been traditionally assigned to women, and which have been used through-out history to demonise, control and murder them. Often this was related to their sexuality and allure, which has been considered a threat to male control throughout the ages. In recent decades modern women of all ages have cultivated a number of growing online communities and resources to reconnect through ancient practices of spell-work and spirituality. Most publicly when there was a heated debate whether or not to collectively hex Donald Trump out of office. The Wiccan movement reveals women’s need to be acknowledged for the ‘magical’ qualities that make them unique life-giving forces. At the same time it is symptomatic of women’s palpable political disempowerment and continuous, but ever-changing social oppression. The wallpaper stating ‘Don’t Bend, Ascend!’ calls out to stay true to how you personally wish to live your passions, and is a nod to two different ‘guerilla’ internet communities: The data bending community and the occult Wiccans online.
︎hard work & gentle labour - garden of delights. Feb-Mar 2022, Kunsthal Ghent, Belgium.
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