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,

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