Intimacy unveiled: |fōn’ seks| pushes envelope with graphic images of relationships
Relationships and intimacy have a variety of different forms, especially in the 21st century. In the traditional sense, intimacy is something that is left behind closed doors, but recently sex and intimacy have transformed and become much more public. There has been, what Millisom Henry-Waring and Jo Barraket would call, an exponential rise of communications technologies.
In their journal, International Journal of Emerging Technologies & Society, Henry-Waring and Barraket said that “global trends” have influenced the formation of intimate relationships through technological means. This is what UIS’s Visual Arts Gallery, |fōn’ seks|: Digital Devices and the Transformation of Intimacy, sought to express through several works of art.
“We decided digital technology was sort of interesting in terms of how it transforms relationships,” said Visual Arts Assistant Professor Dave Kube.
|fōn’ seks| features 18 pieces of work from 12 different artists. According to Kube, there was a national call for artists who had work that could go under the category of intimacy and technology. Kube and Michael Murphy, assistant professor of women and gender studies, worked side by side setting up the gallery.
This gallery has mixed mediums of artwork. It includes videos, paintings, tapestries and “fleshbooks.” Jon Henry and Laura McGinn painted many of the displayed pieces. Henry’s painting is of photographs that have either been taken by someone else or were bathroom self-portraits. The artist said, the “arrangement can reveal a user’s underlining motivation.”
One video that is highlighted is SIRI: Your wish is my command video. It received an honorable mention. This video brought light to how SIRI is a sexual slave to men. This artist uses videos from YouTube and mashed them together into this one cohesive piece.
“I thought it was interesting, I never really noticed anything like that [referring to the SIRI: Your wish is my command video] before,” said Ciera Hoosier. Hoosier is a freshman biology major. She does not have an iPhone, but she expressed that this video was an eye opener for her how a lot of technology is geared toward men.
“I was not expecting to see what I saw,” said Daniel Owusu-Bempah, a freshman computer science major.
His favorite piece was the painting by McGinn. He said that he liked the colors of her work and it stood out the most to him. One piece of work he could not fully grasp was the fleshbooks. He interacted with them, but did not get why this artist chose to make a laptop out of flesh.
The artwork that was awarded best in the show was Sean Fader’s ‘Sup?. This piece of work is personal; he went on dating sites to find men who would go on dates with him. When he first met them he took a picture that represented their online relationship. The second picture he had of them represented who they actually were, basically, “how he sees them as a person not as an online identity,” said Kube.
He went on to say that this piece “touched what the show was really about.” Because this artist won the best in the show award, he will have a solo showing next spring.
This gallery was opened on March 4 and it will be open until April 11. It is located on the 2nd floor of HSB and it is open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.