A history of porn, piracy and digital art

If you don’t know me, please let me introduce myself. I am Domenico Barra, I am an Italian artist exponent of the artistic movement known as Dirty New Media. I work with different digital media approaching with critical and tactical spirit both the tools and the different cultures conditioned by the use of computers and other devices connected online producing numerous works “at the speed of the internet”.

“…people could also enjoy this digital art physically…”

If you haven’t seen much of my works then you are welcome to go on http://dombarra.tumblr.com and you will see that I created many works, mostly gifs but also videos and still images on various topic such as online surveillance, spam, malwarez, emotions and porn and what you will find on my Tumblr be aware that there is very hardcore material coming up as you scroll.

“…the use of the body online that is totally influenced by The Media…”

Basically what I do is… [appropriation] via “save as”+ screen-capturing / [remixxxing] via databending >>> [producing] && [problemizing] distribution and consumption {of porn} via dirty new media DIY practices focusing on professional and amateur players in the realm of cyber sex && pornography, the various (sub)-realities canalized&connected&&defined by communication toolz & peculiar languages influenced by the ever growing and dynamic and and shapeshifting inter(net)worked social/political//economical///technological scenarios.

If you want to know why and what I do please read this . . .

Dirty_New_Media_Art highly addictive

Well, it all started when I was at school at the age of 12/13. I was producing and distributing pirate porno material for my school friends, it was a little hobby and a little business too as I was charging for the costs and the efforts. I was also taking advantages of the scanner and printer and paper, VHS recorder, floppy disks and then the internet and CD-ROM and CD burner. I came across the work of Stan Brakhage when I was studying at the Leeds College of Art and Design for an Access Diploma for Higher Education and I was fascinated by the practice and the different creative qualities of bleaching, burning and piercing 8MM films and photo film. When I came across glitch art and I was exploring the vast landscape for databending digital format, I was also realizing how much the web and social network were influencing our relationship with our body, with others body and sex. Massive focus on online production and distribution of porn material, especially amateur and I wanted to work on this hot topic, thanks also to the collaboration with jonCates and Shawné Holloway for the http://dirtynewmedia.tumblr.com — I wanted to hack and remix the porn online visual presence and the porn industry aesthetic experimenting the web and the digital for DIY production and distribution of Pirate_Porno_Material. My idea was that of creating with digital matter what Stan Brakhage with 8MM films. I was also motivated into approaching digital as Brakhage did with film by a conversation with Nick Briz that with his works on glitch art was inspired by Stan Brakhage too. Databending digital format for me was like bleaching, burning, and piercing film. I wanted to use the web to diffuse my works and use hashtag to make it reachable and spreading the projects on different channels, from Tumblr and Instagram, Facebook and Reddit, maybe disappointing who search for “real porn” and found “glitch porn” as I was tagging a lot of my works just #porn. I wanted to use social network for my works because porn and sex were becoming and now definitely are a social created and distributed act and event. I published my works also on porn channel such as X-Tube, disappointing the audience even more probably. I arranged all of the works in different projects and published them on Tumblr. I chose Tumblr because it allowed a lot of porn and people went looking for porn more on Tumblr than on Youporn, as porn on Tumblr maybe gets perceived, as I said, more social and so real. Especially because the porn industry was dying in its pathetic and stereotyped narrative and fantasy and horrible cinematography. You can view the works on Tumblr in this large full screen template and scrolling you see all of the works that mesh into one big messy glitch animated picture. I was very much interested in the way that porn gets consumed online, scrolling becoming the act of porn reading, we never consumed porn this way before, infinite porn scrolling & reading. In this way the computer screen and the Tumblrs were a sort of Internet era Peep_Show where people enjoy porn at home on computer desk screen or away on tablets and smartphone screens. This reminded me of the works of Lasse Braun that totally revolutionized the way porn was distributed and consumed and produced in the 60’s and 70’s and I thought that combining a dirty new media / DIY approach and using databending as creative technic using social network to make those glitched remixed works available was a good way to depict the reality of contemporary online porn and cybersex in the age of social media. Also the idea that people could also enjoy this digital art physically, I mean literally physically, it was an intriguing aspect that moved me to create many and different series of works on this topic. Of course when working with porn and appropriating online found pictures it is unavoidable to touch more than one aspect of online porn and sex such as the appropriation of other people’s body by downloading the pictures and publishing or using those photos for different purposes but that’s why I tried to make my databending very hardcore to the point of making the original picture nearly unrecognizable as I only needed a digital image to start to work with. Of course we live in times where we pay little attention to what we share online and who we share these contents with, we are little aware of the consequences of all of our online acts, especially regarding the use of the body online that is totally influenced by The Media, even if sometimes a body online can lose its identity, I hope my works, approached critically, can bring up these type of questions in the viewers mind and people before posting nudes online will think twice (photos of nudes online are perceived as pornographic) as online fame can cost a big price as revenge porn, bullism and gratuite public shaming. Of course, I didn’t make my works to advocate porn but I am very positive about pornography, with the depiction of sexual acts in all of its forms and also as a way to achieve self-confidence, as a job or just as a way of living and having fun. I hope that people becoming some time the main subject of their porn experience and experiencing porn and sex in a more social way can have a better picture of the state of the art of pornography and become more smart about sex and respect sex workers and whoever gets involved in this sexy world.

Screenshot of http://piratepornomaterial.tumblr.com

I also built a bridge between the offline and the online world making dirty new media pornography accessible in public spaces like streets, parks, bars, trains, toilets thanks to the use of stickers and QR-Code coining the hashtags #DNMStreetArt and #DNMAccessPoint.

RED_LiNK_DiSTRiCT sticker access point in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Last year (2016) I was invited to go to Chicago where I had the chance to present my works and to talk about pornography, sex revolution, the Berlusconcene and the objectification of women on Italian TV, DIY practices for adult material production and distribution, the use of the body online and glitch art. The presentation took place at the Leroy Neimar Center of the SAIC (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) for RE:MESH.WWWERK/s: an international series curated by jonCates.

Doing that DIRTYNEWMEDIA talk at at the Leroy Neimar Center of the SAIC (School of the Art Institute of Chicago)

These are the slides that I showed during my talk…

Here below some of the works most representative of what I have described so far.

> Pirate_Porno_Material_01 > http://piratepornomaterial.tumblr.com/

> Pirate_Porno_Material_02 > http://piratepornomaterial2nd.tumblr.com/

> Red_Link_District > http://redlinkdistrict.tumblr.com/

> Dirty_Screen > http://dirtyscreen.tumblr.com/

> Rural_Sex_Remixxx > https://www.xtube.com/video-watch/RUR4L-S3XXX-R3M-XXX-b-ts-25650071

> XXX_Tribute_Me_XXX > https://www.xtube.com/video-watch/XXX-TRIBUTE-ME-XXX-26128371

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