Looking At Her, Looking At Me

Looking at Her, Looking at You | post-production

duration TBC | installation 23 Paul Street Townhouse of Striptease | director Ellen Pearson

"The birth of the internet enabled the mainstreaming of the consumption of pornography at home. Today, some porn sites get more traffic than news sites.

In 2018 journalist John Ronson was in a hotel lobby waiting to interview a porn star for a podcast series he was working on about how free internet porn changed the adult film industry. When the performer walked in, he noticed the hotel receptionist staring at her, with 'a look of total contempt'.

Why is society comfortable with porn stars on their screens, but not in person? Why has the consumption of pornography become commonplace, yet sex work still not understood as legitimate labour?

When free porn sites were created, individuals took over from porn production companies and pornography became crowdsourced — with 'amateur' now being one of the most searched terms on porn hub. This move from bigger productions, fantastical storylines, to a DIY home-video style, could be seen as a more intimate and 'authentic' approach. On top of this is a greater demand for 'porn for women', marking a craving from porn-watchers for a sense of 'realness' when they’re getting off.

I started looking at comments on videos of women masturbating to the camera, where there was a direct relationship between the viewer and the person inside the laptop screen. The women were revered and many of the comments were the same - requests from viewers to identify who the person on the screen was.

Yet there is a disparity between the desire for a more human, emotional connection to the person behind the camera and the stigma towards performers in every day life that still presides. This film investigates the fantasy and reality within pornography, forcing the viewing to face their desires, and an attempt to humanise those that work within the industry." - Ellen Pearson

© 2020