Midori

MIDORI

ArtNet.com “A more personal work is Midori’s InVocation, a 20-foot-tall interactive textile sculpture that appeared in the Leslie-Lohman show. Visitors are invited to step inside the hemp rope curtain, which is interwoven with garments and other objects once used by queer sex workers. They’ve ritualistically retired these once-precious belongings, imbuing the piece with a sense of collective memory…. The work on view is thought-provoking, offering an illuminating portrait of a marginalized segment of society forced to operate in the shadows. “Sex Workers of the World, Unite: A Pop-Up Museum in New York Is Dedicated to Practitioners of the Oldest Profession

The pop-up is advocating for sex worker human rights.

Sarah Cascone, March 10, 2020 ArtNet.com

HuffPost Interviews Midori about InVocation. Full article at: https://bit.ly/2UpABmH

 

Photo of Midori in Bettie Page’s gloves by dear friend, Steve Diet Goedde

 

This week’s SF Chronicle column is Considering Torture, and the Rise of Harsh Bondage – Violet Blue: Erotic art prankster Midori’s show “Taken” puts Amnesty International in the dungeon. Snip:

Conservatives and feminists love to freak out about BDSM practices and imagery. CIA doctors can perform human torture experiments in the name of national security, but show a few pics of the Folsom Street Fair on Fox News and you’ve got a nice hysterical anti-kink TV segment to make the uptight neocons and feministas all riled. All the same, it seems as though people who decry kink don’t realize that it’s made of elaborate fantasies about bad nurses, not actual doctors who waterboard, and that the participants are playful, consenting adults, not helpless prisoners.

Published in Best Sex Writing 2009, Morgana Maye wrote “An Open Letter to the Bush Administration” — where she appeals to the administration then in power because they are doing her job better than she can, and it’s hurting her as an American small business owner. Maye said, “Your administration has successfully organized what has to be the longest nonconsensual public edge-play scene in recent history. I look at your capacity to manufacture fear, degradation, torture and absolute powerlessness, and I can’t top that.”

Similarly, people who practice BDSM forget — or blatantly do not want to acknowledge any relationship to — the real events that inform dark fantasies. Author, sex educator, bondage expert and artist Midori tells me, “Lately I’ve noticed a definite increase in interest for harsh bondage imagery in porn, mainstream entertainment and personal sexual play that depicts harsh incarceration, kidnapping and interrogation. It’s just not the Betty Page in fuzzy cuffs anymore. I am not sure why this is, but it’s happening.”

It’s that very line of thinking that fueled Midori’s most unforgettable art performance to date: The shocking stunt she pulled off at Art of Restraint, local gallery Femina Potens’ amazing bondage-based art event series. Midori recounts, “I began to compose this piece ‘Taken’ several months back. Then the Iranian election revolt erupted, which further inspired me.” (…Read more, sfgate.com)

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SF Gate logoConsidering Torture, and the Rise of Harsh Bondage / Violet Blue

Erotic art prankster Midori’s show “Taken” puts Amnesty International in the dungeon

Violet Blue, special to SF Gate – http://bit.ly/1Fx6IW8
Violet Blue – https://about.me/violetblue
Published September 10, 2009        

Conservatives and feminists love to freak out about BDSM practices and imagery. CIA doctors can perform human torture experiments in the name of national security, but show a few pics of the Folsom Street Fair on Fox News and you’ve got a nice hysterical anti-kink TV segment to make the uptight neocons and feministas all riled. All the same, it seems as though people who decry kink don’t realize that it’s made of elaborate fantasies about bad nurses, not actual doctors who waterboard, and that the participants are playful, consenting adults, not helpless prisoners.

Published in Best Sex Writing 2009, Morgana Maye wrote “An Open Letter to the Bush Administration”—where she appeals to the administration then in power because they are doing her job better than she can, and it’s hurting her as an American small business owner. Maye said, “Your administration has successfully organized what has to be the longest nonconsensual public edge-play scene in recent history. I look at your capacity to manufacture fear, degradation, torture and absolute powerlessness, and I can’t top that.”

Similarly, people who practice BDSM forget—or blatantly do not want to acknowledge any relationship to—the real events that inform dark fantasies. Author, sex educator, bondage expert and artist Midori tells me, “Lately I’ve noticed a definite increase in interest for harsh bondage imagery in porn, mainstream entertainment and personal sexual play that depicts harsh incarceration, kidnapping and interrogation. It’s just not the Betty Page in fuzzy cuffs anymore. I am not sure why this is, but it’s happening.”

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It’s that very line of thinking that fueled Midori’s most unforgettable art performance to date: The shocking stunt she pulled off at Art of Restraint, local gallery Femina Potens’ amazing bondage-based art event series. Midori recounts, “I began to compose this piece ‘Taken’ several months back. Then the Iranian election revolt erupted, which further inspired me.”

According to gallery witnesses, Midori (@planetmidori) was working on a bondage art demonstration with CCTV-style surveillance cameras rolling. Mid-demonstration, the SFPD burst in with a SWAT team and literally wrenched the gallery door open and hauled out a “dissident.”

Gallery patrons were so shocked, one woman reeled, stumbled and fell stunned (she was okay.) It all happened in just under 30 seconds. Strangely, I was driving on Market Street by the gallery when this happened; I remember seeing a police car out front and thinking I should tweet what I had witnessed. From the street it looked like a gallery raid. When I got home I started checking the Twitter streams of friends I knew who were at the event, and texting them to see if everything was okay. Nothing.

Turns out, all was well and the supposed “SWAT” team had in fact worked in tandem with an SFPD escort, and when they pulled the “dissident” from the performance they dropped special Amnesty International flyers on the way out. The surveillance cams were just for Midori’s performance. It was an action.

I asked Midori about the police—were they really SFPD? She told me, “No, the ‘uniformed men’ who busted into the gallery to perform the ‘Taken’ performance are friends of mine acting the part. We rehearsed this many, many times to get it realistic with speed and safety. Their part of the performance action took 28 seconds! I called the SFPD in advance to notify them of the details of the performance. The last thing we needed were well-meaning citizens calling the police and SFPD arresting my performance group. It would have been a big bummer for my performers and waste of police time and tax dollars, right? I wanted to buy my performers beer, not bail. The SFPD were totally great. The two officers that showed up understood the nature and purpose of the performance; they were really nice and supportive. They took up a comfortable, out-of-sight location and made sure that it all went well. After the performance we signaled that it was over, they smiled, waved and went on their merry way.”

Midori added, “Many of us in the crew are individuals whose citizenship status has changed for various reasons, experiencing the impermanence of national identity. We come from different political beliefs, original citizenships, income levels, ethnic identity, orientation and genders. We came together for this performance action believing in liberty being a good thing. That we could do this, as we did, and not face dire consequences, this alone is remarkable. We’re actually quite grateful to our local police.”

The “dissident” was present at the event all evening; I wondered if this person was an innocent bystander? Who was it? Midori explained, “‘The Target’ was intentionally chosen. He is a person likely to be profiled as potentially undesirable, by authorities in many of today’s nations. This particular performer is someone who was granted political asylum based on being a persecuted minority—he was brutalized at the hands of the authority in his country of origin for being queer.”

I had to know why Midori would stage a surprise mock abduction during a sexy bondage event. Surely this is the kind of association that most makes BDSM practitioners uncomfortable. She tells me:

“My understanding is that the Art of Restraint isn’t a sexy bondage event. It’s about performance and visual art using the words, images and iconography of bondage as a departure point. If someone wants a sexy bondage event, there are plenty of fetish parties or nightclubs to go to. A person hooded, on the floor, naked and cuffed: If the only context or response that a person has to this image is a fun Saturday night of role-playing at the local kink party, are we starving our own humanity?”

I’m not saying that we should not play with our dark fantasies and archetypes, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the real-world human events that necessitate these narratives.

So many of us take for granted the enormous luxury of privacy and civil liberties. We assume that our homes and closed-door places of gathering will keep us safe. We speak and write our thoughts without fearing major consequences. We take for granted the notion of justice and individual rights. Yet for many around the world, as well as in our own back yard, these are ideas that are beyond their grasp, even as they struggle towards it.

People like us, those privileged with privacy and civil liberties read the headlines and watch the news. Subsets of this privileged citizenry are also those who enjoy the pleasures and luxury of adventurous sexual self-expression. Which is a fantastic luxury—beloved so here in the cradle of the Sex Positive movement. We play with fantasies, innocent to intense, often borrowing themes and imagery from the darker sides of human behavior and history. Humans have always taken narrative from conflict and taboo, whether in forms of story telling, theater or sexual fantasies—that’s nothing new. What’s new is our near total separation of our places of perceived danger from places of personal safety.

Maybe it’s a war-weary culture’s subconscious search for a coping mechanism. Maybe it’s over saturation of images and reports on violence by governments and power-holders. Maybe it’s a desensitized culture seeking stimulation. Maybe it’s just another sexuality trend, and this too will come and go. I don’t know.

I am disturbed, though, that so many who enjoy consuming or acting out fantasy actions of detention and incarcerations don’t seem to think of the reality of where these images come from. Arty kinkster hipsters chatter on about how bondage is freedom and art and so on, but so often it just feels like lip-service to transgressiveness when we’ve nothing to struggle against.

The parallel between fetish and freedom is so apparent and important, I have to wonder—what if sites like Kink.com and Twisted Factory made vocal, visible and generous donations to Amnesty International?

Don’t lose that handcuff key. Read Midori’s post-“Taken” notes here (livejournal.com). Midori’s new one-woman show “Plastics” at Femina Potens continues through October 1st, with a performance highlight opening on September 19th at 7:30 pm.

Violet Blue is a Forbes “Web Celeb”, notorious blogger (Laughing Squid), high-profile tech personality and one of Wired’s “Faces of Innovation.” She writes for outlets ranging from Forbes.com to O, The Oprah Magazine. She is regarded as the foremost expert in the field of sex and technology, a sex-positive pundit in mainstream media (CNN, The Oprah Winfrey Show) and is interviewed, quoted and featured prominently by major media outlets. Violet has many award-winning, best-selling books, a famous podcast, is fun to follow on Twitter, and is a San Francisco native.

Blue headlines at conferences ranging from ETech, The Forbes Internet Leadership Conference, LeWeb and SXSW: Interactive, to Google Tech Talks at Google, Inc. Her tech site is Techyum; her audio and e-books are at Digita Publications.

For more information and links to Web sites discussed in Open Source Sex, go to Violet Blue’s Web site, tinynibbles.com.

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Design Behind Desire coverDesign Behind Desire: The Sensuous Textures of Wanting

Lisa Z. Morgan, Curated Collection 2011 

DESIGN BEHIND DESIRE is a beautifully conceived book about wanting, longing, yearning, generating and fulfilling of a highly sexual and erotic nature and, as an entity within itself, becomes an object of desire as each sensuously laden page is turned. It both demonstrates and embodies desire by exploring the most beautiful objects of and for desire where integrity, beauty, sexuality and sensuality are at the heart of the creations. Many of the striking objects that are depicted are quite dark, bondage inspired, some surreal, others delicate, there are voluptuous pieces and there are one or two eccentric but never the less brilliant creations. All are united in the strength of their vision, conceptual depth and a high degree of craftsmanship with desire and sexuality at their core. Each curated object inspires the imagination, which is the nourishment and fountain of our desires well-being. DESIGN BEHIND DESIRE also demonstrates how many items and genres from the world of fetish wear and bondage are inspiring and provoking fashion and design in a tangible way. How there is a tactility and truth to materials, which shifts the sexy to profoundly sexual and where desire as both a concept and motivational force becomes more powerful where there is duality or contradictory forces at play. Traversing the pages of DESIGN BEHIND DESIRE the heat rises as we explore desire through the three chapters and phases; Generating, Contemplating and Fulfilling. Hidden within Fulfilling desire we also discover the Cabinet of Desire; a small immersive volume of desirous text where the mind is encouraged to wander and dance.

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