An Interactive Documentary On Lesbian Porn? Hell Yes: "I Love Your Work"

[youtube ZyesJ_Dkwro 628 353]This right here is really unusual but also a real treat. Jonathan Harris spent ten days following around nine different women, attaching himself to each for about twenty-four solid hours, and took ten-second video clips every five minutes. The resulting six hours of footage is now online in an interactive interface and it's hands-down one of the coolest documentaries we've ever seen.

How do we begin talking about such a massive project with so many possible avenues of social and intellectual exploration? Let's start with the women involved. Harris followed:

· Jincey Lumpkin: porn director, columnist, former lawyer, all-around powerful lesbian maven of New York sex smartness. · Jess (Jett Bleu): queer bike mechanic, spoken word artist, and porn performer. · Dylan Ryan: one of our all-time favorite pornstars. · Ryan Keely: former stripper, nude model, occasional porn performer, and generally another of our favorite ladies. · Luna Londyn: camgirl, writer, professional escort, and according to her bio on "I Love Your Work," a practicing Satanist. · Dolores Haze: queer porn performer, former dominatrix, current pursuer of a Public Health degree. · Ela Darling: former librarian turned nude model/performer who specializes in fetish work with food, feet, and zombies. · Nic Switch: sex educator and performer who gives tours of the Kink Armory in San Francisco. · Joy Sauvage: fashion/photography stylist and Jincey's assistant.

What connects these women? During these ten days in May of 2010 in Manhattan and Brooklyn, they all worked on (whether in front of or behind the camera) a new porn by Juicy Pink Box called "Therapy." Still with us? Awesome. It's a formidable ninesome, but after watching these ladies live their lives for a few hours, you won't feel nearly as intimidated by them. (Or perhaps you'll feel more intimidated--who can say?)

Why ten seconds? Forgive us for paraphrasing the FAQ page of this project, but Harris says that he chose this constriction specifically because ten seconds is the usual amount of time put into teaser videos offered on many porn sites. As a further constriction, "I Love Your Work" is only viewable by ten people per day, and each person only has access to the site for twenty-four hours. Why? "As an experiment in delayed gratification. Internet porn is abundant, and most websites attempt to accumulate as many viewers as possible. It seemed interesting to do the opposite." So there.

So far we've spent about sixteen hours (minus about six hours of sleep) browsing the site, and our minds are refusing to let us pass judgment on the documentary as a whole. Yes, there are definitely porny parts with graphic erotic action, but they're rare, and somehow feel less significant than all the other plain, honest, quotidien business that goes on. Harris says, "The project is less about porn, and more about nine different women navigating the complexities of life, youth, fame, privacy, gender, and sexuality in America today." Even with those themes in mind, we have trouble drawing meaning from the footage. Yes, these women are youthful, famous, gender-conscious, openly sexual, and semi-private (and alive), but all we care about is that they're human and most of their days are spent whittling away the hours.

Now and then, you may stumble upon one of the women passionately and honestly discussing her feelings and beliefs about sex work and how it changes a person's life, but keep in mind, you'll only get to hear ten seconds at a time. That's a few words of passionate argument, a giggle about yelling the word "orgasm" in the middle of Midtown, and then suddenly they're in the subway trying to find a non-awkward place to rest their eyeballs.

To be honest, the only way we can possibly communicate all the complicated feelings and thoughts that this project produces is to mimic Harris's format and deliver it in our own brief blips:

It's strange to see Dylan, such a confident performer, fold herself in half as she navigates a mass of bodies to walk up the subway stairs.

Half an hour of playing with her phone in bed.

12:05pm, Ela's knees are nervous.

Later that night, she passes out face down in a restaurant. (What restaurant stays open past 3am?)

9:10pm, pieces of Luna's diary. We've heard her talk but this is the first time we've seen her handwriting and it's beautiful and controlled.

1:00am, end of a sentence, "it won't mean anything until you're older, and probably a lot more sober."

6:55am, Luna's loose fist while she sleeps.

9:50pm, horror as Dolores realizes something. "They're in the bag! That I tried to give to the neighbor! I'm sorry!"

10:05, "Lesbians are obsessed with lesbians and I'll tell you why. A, we're marginalized. B..."

For days and days this goes on. Moments stolen and saved. How much does being watched affect them? If it makes them put up a shield or a persona, how long can they sustain it before we see a nervous twitch and then we have them forever?

Friends, you absolutely have to go check this site out. Whether you sit down and watch all six hours back to back, or you click around through the gorgeous interface (this exquisite tapestry is just one of the options you have for visualizing the footage) at random, you will be confronted with something that is beyond any voyeuristic thrill we've ever encountered. You can get access for just $10 a pop, and you better set aside time for viewing, because it's painful to pull yourself away.

· I Love Your Work (iloveyourwork.net)

[At top: trailer for "I Love Your Work" (youtube.com)]

Tagged in: art, new york, video, lesbian, websites, review, joy sauvage, dolores haze, jincey lumpkin, jonathan harris, nic switch, luna londyn, interactive, jett bleu, ryan keely, documentaries, ela darling, dylan ryan, top, pornstars

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