IIPC Debate 31 May

IIPC Debate #98

Thu 31 May, 4 pm, Lecture Hall Hovi (Atrium building, Kaivokatu 12, Turku)

Associate Professor Mariana Baltar (Fluminense Federal University, Brazil)

Porn Attractions: excess and carnal resonance as expressive of dissident bodies and pleasures

This paper focuses on Latin American (Post)Porn in order to present the theoretical frames of my research project “Excess, affect and attractions at contemporary audiovisual culture”. I will argue how a popular cultural matrix based on aesthetic excess (that in Latin context can be specifically traced to Telenovelas and melodramatic imagination) is ironically presented as a tool for celebrating dissident couples and pleasures. I address examples of Latin post porn, Juntitos, by Diego Stickar and Acento Frenético (Argentina, 2010), Amoramor, by Edgar de Santo (Argentina, 2014) and Boda Negra by La Bala Rodriguez (Mexico, 2015), in order to show how elements of excess symbolizing the romantic couple coexist with the generic codes of pornography. It is precisely this coexistence that places these films within the realm of post porn politics. The films deploy specific mechanisms for displaying bodies that recuperate the regimen of attractions, which, according to Tom Gunning, characterized early cinema. The cinema of attraction is a valuable framework for thinking about pornography in that it mobilizes bodily expressions in particularly cinematic ways in order to capture/grab the attention and the body of the spectator. I argue that the concepts of affect and attraction are essential to understanding the centrality of embodiment in contemporary film and audiovisual culture, and for analyzing images that propose a sort of sensorial and affective engagement by capturing the spectators’ bodies through bodily gestures and performances. Finally, contemporary context is marked by what Brazilian Scholar Jurandir Freire defines as somatic culture, emphasizing the centrality of sensations, affects and emotions in managing modes of being and politics of subjectivity.

Mariana Baltar is Professor of Film and TV at Universidade Federal Fluminense (Rio de Janeiro) where she also did her PhD on the dialogue between documentary and melodrama in Brazilian contemporary documentaries. She directs the research group NEX – Studies in Excess at Audiovisual Narratives and, under a fellowship of CNPQ (Pq-2), she has developed a line of research on the role of excess in the contemporary culture, focalizing specifically on body genres and its politics. She is also member of the Editorial Board of Porn Studies journal (Routledge) and the author of a chapter in Latin American Melodrama. Passion, Pathos, and Entertainment (University of Illinois Press, 2009). She has presented many papers at the Porn Studies section, at MAGIS Gorizia International Film Studies Spring School, organized by Universitá Degli Studi di Udine, in Gorizia/Italy (years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016). She recently edited the book E PORNÔ, TEM PORNÔ? – A Panorama of Brazilian Porn, part of the series CINEMA / Mapping Pornographies: Histories, Geographies, Cultures, from Mimesis International Publishers.

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