If you read about “The Great Wall of Vagina,” you know that walls made of modeled human genitals are nothing new, but student artist Peiqi Su’s 3D printed “Penis Wall” raises the bar. This interactive installation is composed of 81 interactive phalluses, which go erect and flaccid according to the viewer’s presence and gestures, each of which is registered with ultrasonic sensors. These little guys can be linked to stock market and translate data visually, or they can be programmed to play along with “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.
Inspired by the widespread notion that “everyone on Wall Street is a dick,” Su satirizes the male sexual organ. But she also treats it with the utmost reverence, referring to it as “one of the oldest and probably the most attractive thing that humans can interact with.” The wall is a very literal manifestation of male desire; the viewer is in total command of the erections, which rise like small columns of vertebrae, giving new meaning to the term “boner.” (via Animal New York, Lost at E Minor, and Huffington Post)
Dancing along to Tchaikovsky’s recognizable composition, the phalluses look delicate and agile as a prima ballerina; instead of the deliberate, immaculate movements of the female form, we see a surprising representation of male sexual impulse. These penises seem not like organs governed by erotic urges but rather like whole creatures with minds of their own, capable of executing the most complex choreography. Like ocean tides, their careful movements speak to a strange and unexpected unity and harmony between the self and the community. Here, the genitals aren’t base and vulgar but intelligent and thoughtful. What do you think?
Javier Pérez’s video, En Puntos, features a ballerina who puts on a pair of pointe shoes that are extended by a pair of sharp kitchen knives. Once she has the shoes on, she begins to balance herself on top of a grand piano, the tips of the knives scratching, scraping, and cutting the surface of the piano. At times, she finds herself on the edge of the piano, and she yelps as she struggles to keep her balance and maintain her strength. At the end of the video, the curtains close on her “performance” in an empty theater. Meant to resonate with the idea of a music box, Pérez’s video captures the fragility and discipline embodied in ballet, while also demonstrating the vulnerability and despair brought to stage performance in general. Also apparent is a delicate violence that makes you wince as the ballerina traverses the piano’s surface.
“Through this work, Javier Perez investigates and reflects once again upon the human condition. Using a strongly metaphorical language rich in powerful symbolism, he reveals the weaknesses that become the boundaries between seemingly irreconcilable concepts such as: beauty and cruelty, fragility and violence, culture and nature or life and death.” (via)
I’ll be the first to admit that I know absolutely nothing about dance, especially when it comes to ballet. I am, however, a huge Fall fan, which led me to these videos of choreography by Michael Clark, a British dancer who famously shook up the modern dance world by staging avant-garde productions often set to experimental or post-punk music. These clips come from a 1988 ballet called “I Am Curious, Orange” which was scored entirely by The Fall. As far as I can tell, there hasn’t been much proper documentation done of this work, but these YouTube clips, taken from Charles Atlas’ long out of print film Hail the New Puritan will have to suffice.