A list explaining the origins and inspirations for Pia Palladino
1. British mentalist and illusionist, Derren Brown.
Brown is in a different category of magician than David Copperfield, Chris Angel and Penn and Teller. This is how Wikipedia describes him:
Brown does not claim to possess any super-natural powers, indeed his acts are often designed to expose the methods of those who do, such as faith healers and mediums. He makes clear in his performances that all of his apparent abilities, which manifest on stage/screen as feats of memory, intuition, mind-reading and control of other objects/people, are achieved through a variety of psychological means, such as hypnosis, suggestion, cold reading, misdirection, and showmanship, and in many cases he will often give detailed explanations of his specific methods during or after the performance. In some performances he also uses his techniques to explore issues of personality such as fears and motivation.
Brown's psychological focus is infinitely interesting to me. I've watched almost all his shows and what finally struck me was when I finally grasped the concept of vision. We see the world in a specific, narrow way. And it is on the outreaches of this vision is where magicians work. This caused me to question my own vision, and my own desires to want to believe certain things.
A German businessman documents his affair with his secretary: the art of anxiety.
The photographs and notes came from a suitcase that was purchased at an estate auction. The identity of those involved are unknown. All we know about the woman photographed was that her name was Margret, she was married and 24. The businessman was 39 and also married. This happened between 1969 and 1970.
The person who purchased the suitcase put together all of this material and created an art exhibit which was shown about a year ago.
The businessman made notes of their encounters, took many photographs of Margret (none of which are pornographic), and even saved a sample of her hair. I think it's fair to say that the businessman was quite smitten with her.
As for what she possibly thought of him, her expressions are revealing. Sometimes she seems annoyed, challenging, playful, formal, even bewildered as to why he was interested in taking her photograph. Sometimes she seems to be holding a pose simply because he told her to.
He took pictures of her dresses, before or after sex, hanging up unwrinkled, or on the bed in disarray. He focuses on sexual impressions and suggestions. Explicitness is for those uninterested in the imagination. He was fucking her mentally with these notes and photos. He was fucking her memory. Considering that this material has lasted until the present shows that he could not throw the affair away.
There is anxiety in collecting. Once you have one thing you want more, and then more, and then you worry that you'll miss something and you must make sure that doesn't happen. As he photographs and makes notes, he is clutching at Margret, collecting her and their time together. He is controlling it as best he can and saving it for the future, when he (possibly) knows he won't have her anymore. Their affair did last a year.
I get this. I really get this. Having been in this position, anxiety is built into the affair. Time together is precious and intense. The other person almost seems superhuman, a rock star or a demigod. The affair becomes pure joy when together, and when apart you feel a kind of emptiness that is torture and the worst kind of existential angst. You cannot have enough time together. And you cannot realize this relationship in something socially acceptable because, though you talk about leaving your spouses all the time, it will never happen. Because you prefer it this way. You prefer the anxiety, which is as addictive as orgasms.
Or, maybe there's something wrong with me.
I've been watching Dita Von Teese for a while. That sounds creepy, as if I'm a peeping Tom. But don't her photos make us peeping Toms? We catch her in intimate moments, getting undressed or splashing around in a glass of champagne or tied up for unseemly purposes.
It is easy to get caught up in someone like Dita, being as beautiful and naturally erotic as she is. Her come-hither eyes and red lips that have a taunting twist are provocative. I felt provoked. I felt like she was teasing me, telling me to follow her through the internet, through Twitter and Tumblr and find as many images of her as I could. To what end? Well, where I have ended up isn't where I thought I was going: I think there's something wrong with Dita Von Teese.
Benjamin Lacombe deals mostly in fairy tales: Snow White, Alice in Wonderland, Madame Butterfly, the Tales of Edgar Allen Poe, Medusa, Ondine, even Marie Antoinette. I classify all these as fairy tales because he has no interest in history, reality, or even, at times, accurate anatomy.
but then there are those pieces which don't find easy classification. Oh, I'm sure with the internet it's possible to figure out in a couple minutes the source of every piece. But I approach these pieces like a scavenger. Things found by chance. For I actually did find them by chance in the glorious landfill that is Pinterest.
I approach the the pieces as if I have nothing except my contemporary understanding of culture, history and literature. These days we are more apt to encounter art this way, out of the superimposed context of a museum.
And there is is a valid and important argument in favor of rejecting titles, authors names, in fact all context so that we may approach a piece of work freshly and freely. It makes the piece more ours because our interpretation personal and unmolested.
Approaching Lacombe's works relatively unfettered has been a horrifying journey into my childhood and has caused me to reevaluate melancholy and my relationships with animals. It has not been pleasant.
The figures uncomfortably fit within their scenes. The animation is obvious: the heads are larger than normal, the eyes extraordinarily large and round: the bodies have the dimensions of what would be defined as "cute". The colors are vibrant, there are adorable cats, the women are dressed lavishly and enviously, and the figures may or may not be dead.
These pieces are quite horrifying, but lack the traditional dread which would accompany it. Rather, the characters in these works have resigned themselves to their story. They have complete hopelessness. They look at us with the last expression a suicide would have.
I've said too much. So much for my quest to create a fresh, free art experience. Enjoy. Or, as at least, try to.
Princesses are a relatively new phenomena. Devised in the 90s, the group was a gimmick designed to bolster falling sales and puff up Disney appeal. It worked to a staggering degree. One cannot go into a Disney store, or any building that has children, without being inundated by pastel tulle, glitter and bejeweled crowns. Being a Princess is an ideal that all girls (and secretly, I'm sure, some boys and transchildren) don't just aspire to be. They already are princesses. They can wear the crowns and tulle and glitter because they are special and magical and one day their prince will come.
Without a moment's hesitation, feminist were all over this like maggots on a dead caribou. They have many great points about the diminishment of a girl's abilities and talents, the hope to be saved by a man, the inability to be in a story that doesn't involve romance and a platonic relationship with a man. Not to mention the emphasis on appearance, the implied sexualizing of young girls, the heavy make up and skinny bodies that provoke speculation that Barbie is a princess herself.
None of that matters at all. If anything, I think adult women are much more obsessed with these attributes than little girls.
All one has to do is search on "Disney Princess" on Pinterest and one's computer nearly has a melt down. Women have taken this Princess obsession to quite complex levels which are intellectually dizzying and culturally amazing.
Artists have created the "What if" Princess. What if the Princesses all had blue eyes (for example)? What if the Princesses were all dogs? What if the Princesses were jewelry?
These are only a few of the examples I found, and it's a long list. I wanted to include as many as possible to illustrate my point. By the way, almost all of these images I found on BuzzFeed. I think BuzzFeed has fertilized this wonderful madness. And I also think this is entirely illegal and the Disney Corporation would react poorly to these manipulations of their copyrighted material.
1. What if the Disney princesses were burlesque showgirls?
The many action figure faces of Marie Curie
Without meaning to, I have made Marie Curie my ultimate erotic superhero. The subject of one book, the upcoming Marie Curie Saves the Titanic, I have already begun a second book, Marie Curie Raises Atlantis. No doubt there will be a third and fourth.
All of this has been unintentional. Marie Curie is not by any means a glamorous, exciting figure in the history of science. She wasn't eccentric and mysterious like Tesla. She didn't have a gold nose like Tycho Brahe. She wasn't lusted after by Marilyn Monroe like Albert Einstein. And she wasn't a massive brain in a wheelchair who had an affair with his nurse like Stephen Hawking.
Marie won two Nobel prizes in physics and chemistry. She pioneered research in radiation and radioactivity. She was married to Pierre Curie, who also won a Nobel prize in physics. They had a daughter. Both died from the complications from radiation poisoning. Her notebooks and equipment are too radioactive to touch for the next 1500 years. She had held radium in her bare hands.
Bernie Sanders was the easy choice: I discovered someone is attempting to Crowd Source an action figure. You can see it above. Action figure erotica requires its main characters to have been made into action figures. It felt like happy fate.
Anne Frank? Seriously, Anne Frank?
There are two obvious, immediate problems: taste and lack of sexual interest.
Vision satisfies both problems. My vision for the story.
The story became sensitive to me. Not because of the romantic elements, but because of Anne Frank.
I had to imagine what the aftermath of being in a concentration camp would feel like. I imagined what could happen to Anne in the camp which would make her distrust and dislike intimacy with men.
I'm quite medicated. I don't have the massive, supernova bursts of creativity that I had had in high school and college. I get normal sleep so I can't stay up all night working. What I used to call "inspiration" which got me through 200 pages a month doesn't exist anymore. Yet I struggle still to focus.
Coffee is a wonderful help, but it does only a fraction of what it used to do. My psychiatrist told me what I thought used to be good work done at the height of mania wasn't really. I couldn't do my best in that state of mind.
My psychiatrist also told me not to tell people I'm bipolar. Because people assume that women with bipolar disorder drown their children.
I'm bipolar 2, by the way. More depression than mania. Only I used my depression as a form of energy. So my quality must have been really poor. I don't know.
It's difficult to know what's good and not. What is real energy and what isn't. I worry that I'm too lethargic and can't write anymore. Yet I do, though it's difficult. I feel like I've lost my superpower.
There's no need for continuity or historical accuracy. In fact, the less the better. AFE is about breaking from tradition and the ties that bind conventional narratives.
Traditional narrative is the structure of BDSM. The characters and author and audience are chained together and given only bits of pleasure at a time, caught up in the ritual of time.
There is a need for sex. Lots of it. And everything legal goes. The stranger the sex, the better. The more surreal, magical, mythic, impossible the sex the better. This isn't just about getting off or enjoying a romance. It's about stretching your mind and imagination and being wowed while you're orgasming.
Think Robot Chicken. Or what we all probably did as kids with our dolls. This is play. It's funny. It's irony. Why shouldn't we laugh as we come? Why can't we have fun while we're being aroused? Does everything have to be so serious?
Yet, there is seriousness. Medusa is struggling with issues of identity, even as Kali has dangerous sexual escapades. Lincoln has deep conflict over the civil war. And Marie Curie is trying to make sense of her abusive marriage. (Those last two are upcoming novels.) Life is not just a farce. It's not just tragedy and it's not just an encyclopedia of facts. It is all those things and many more.
Books shall be forthcoming. At the end of November, Abraham Lincoln Eats Pie at the Kali Cafe. But for now. a free sample, a novel in progress, awaits you:
I'm Lady Ristretto, writing under a pseudonym. My pseudonym has a pseudonym.