She realized that such love as hers was a tiny spark from the furnace of God’s love for mankind, she had to use the language of human love—the love between man and woman, between mother and her child–for all love here on earth is but a feeble ray from the sun of Eternal life. Such rays may light up a soul until it mirrors God. — Catherine of Siena, by Undset
For what society tries to recycle as truth or classic, is nothing more than a prison or cemetery for the dead.
There are no greats—when they are not living. No one should make apologies for not worshiping icons of today (whom are not creators but are mainly copy-artists) and legends of the past: whose work has been borrowed and regurgitated, leaving us to think that the best work can A) either be stolen and replicated or B) are not alive (or renewed through new genius) to appeal to modern times for further enlightenment and self education.
What of the old that we hold onto, supports our handicaps and fear of change; and this goes against our natural evolution, which we enjoy bragging as being superior in intelligence to lower creatures. Yet our materialistic society relies on our devolution to keep us engaged in debates—so that we can remain in arguments that go in circles, so we can be comfortable in our negative discomforts, to keep us divided rather than to unite. So that we can be limited rather than free. So that we can be liked rather than strong.
Currently and for the past millennium, debates about sex are secured to keep people controlled and confined by their irrational relationship to their own body parts. The convoluted rationalizations and mystique wrapped around sexuality predate the Christians, monks and religious powers that operate as front runners negotiating our passions. I believe that I have ended the argument with L.A./ love actually (.) even if that’s hard to fathom on the surface. I amuse myself just by believing in it.
Taboos never belong to the artist, rather to society’s inventions, built up as walls to keep people mentally corralled. Art is used to take down those walls and melt them, so that we can be free to form our own personal truths.
What society dislikes is usually mirrored through Art. If Art agrees with us, we are better off dead for we would fester in stagnation…and all life is motion. It is a constant process of renewal of something new…of flow.
The film-work I do usually involve lesbians yet they are not films about lesbians. They are about people fucking and lovemaking, but the modus operandi is about feeling and feminine expression; which to me, is the whole basis of human and creative self expression.
The Feminine is the feeling element that’s missing in society and greatly missing in Art. And this feeling element that I portray in films is not the same as emotionality (emo) found in romance novels and movies.
The feeling element is the hidden beauty that secretes color like a sunset. Figuratively, this is the emotional alchemy that transforms us from within.
When I portray lesbians lovemaking, the intention is not to worship the female body: but to worship it enough with immense feeling, in order to get over it and beyond it. The sex I portray in films are raw and unfiltered, where the physical body is used as device to go beyond the physical; moving deeply into the feeling aspect. To achieve this, I cannot neuter the genitals or censor the truth about the body. Numbing sensory images doesn’t resolve, tame art or make it any more “tasteful.”
So the feminine principle in film is what concerns me, not femininity. The feminine principle is used in my work to transform the physical into moods, moods into feeling, feelings into becoming, the obvious into the invisible. The Feminine is a signature found in all aspect of life—male and female, plants, nature, philosophy (the melding of beauty with logic) and art.
Femininity however, is behavioral…therefore shaped by man, like a man-made tree in a world of concrete.
Some of the women in my flicks are “butch” (or masculine). This aesthetic choice hardly placates mainstream attitudes about masculinity and femininity, rather stirs up confusion in viewers. The butch theme alters sexual perception, where male and female are no longer divided concepts. The gender confusion is reflective of how much we can relax our attitudes. This rewires the brain…to move it a little from the left—over to the right so you can perceive in stereo…where feeling restores divisions in the mind.
Some people generally imagine others as “sexual” (creatures) before relating to them as human. It is a reptilian brain kind of hard wire that gives people self permission to persecute, especially in the case of transgenders. That is why sexual prejudice exists in society, because people are programmed to believe in certain aesthetics that define what “beauty,” human or “acceptable” is. To re-program this you have to come up with new images. I decided to work with this dilemma by making butch women sexual—at most I try to make them superhuman, enigmatic. But by no means is this choice subject to personal taste. I also do the opposite by using “straight-looking” models in films to deconstruct what certain groups comfortably define as “lesbian.”
The things that have been said about sex have carried on for many centuries. It is a comfortable argument that limits our state of consciousness. For the most part, it creates division in society–which is a friction that keeps people in business. The “sex sells” modality works but it isn’t the model that I conform to–despite outer appearances and first impression of my artistic motives.
In the future, Art may serve a different function and perhaps less needed to challenge social opinion (if and ever society becomes more balanced). Ideas held today may be outmoded tomorrow. When something cannot be outmoded—this is when you know you’ve touched the face of Truth.
If you love Art, you have to accept that IT changes as society changes. People think that Art is beauty. Some say that Art imitates life. Others say that Life is art and that Art is therefore artificial. These are opinions society has formed around Art. But has anyone listened to what Art says?
Art mirrors our imperfections. It doesn’t agree with us. The moment it does, it no longer serves us because we have created something that panders to our ignorance.
Imperfection leaves room for improvement by insuring that the message is always new.
It is the ultimate goal of Art to keep us moving and to expand us. This is why it highlights undercurrents of things that we disagree with….
Until we are able to see ourselves objectively, we need art for reflection.
- Ji, Los Angeles