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09.05.2017 | Words by: Jasmin Hoek.

For the third edition of Tijdgenoten, De School collaborates with EYE Flimmuseum on a series of erotic cinema. In anticipation of this exhibition I will elaborate on some of the important aspects of looking, more specifically looking at erotic imagery. Imagine a classic Hollywood movie; a beautiful woman is accidentally caught undressing by the main character of the movie. As the spectator see him looking at her, see his view of her, and you also see her from the camera’s point of view; in this case you and the main character are both voyeurs. But what exactly is voyeurism?
The story of voyeurism starts with academia’s best-known dirty mind: Freud. Freud linked voyeurism, to the desire to see something that you are not supposed to see, something private. When the ‘voyeur’ finds this something arousing it is defined as scopophilia, which means deriving sexual pleasure from the visual. Freud’s way of explaining voyeurism is as a curious gaze that makes the looked-at person a subject. In most international mainstream movies, the woman most commonly carries the looked-at-ness and the voyeur is the man. The male gaze – introduced as such by British feminist film theorist Laura Mulvey in 1975 – is projected onto the female figure, which then again is portrayed in movies as a visual spectacle for the male gaze. However, this role-play works two ways as the female figures then again are often created as being aware of this gaze and play around with it, that is why you will often find a slight hint of exhibitionism, or a continuously provoking personality written into the role of the female character by the (often male written) storyline of a movie.
A more specific visual aspect of erotic cinema to keep your eyes open for is something that Freud described as phallocentrism. Phallocentrism is the idea of the penis as a symbol for men’s dominance in society and sexuality. This notion that was coined in the 1920s led to a very specific sort of fetishism in erotic imagery. Some even say that high phallic-shaped statues or buildings are even built like that to carry the dominant notion of this exact male body part. So even though a movie might not show any nudity at all, there are a lot of ways to insert a bit of erotica into it. Think of a woman putting her finger next to her mouth, eating a banana, seductively holding a gun, petting a rabbit, or chewing a pen while wandering in thoughts. No, it was not your dirty mind, it was all meant to make you think of a penis.
Over time several more or less experimental filmmakers have challenged the mainstream heterosexual male dominated image of eroticism or have played around with it on purpose. Homosexuality, the female gaze, orgies, uncommon fetishes, and other sexual extraordinaries have been caught on camera, broadening the erotic parts and bits of cinematography, leading to the great diversity of erotic clips available worldwide. A carefully curated selection of erotica will be shown at Tijdgenoten, so there will be something for you to peek at whatever your voyeuristic taste might be.

General info Tijdgenoten #3: 
Opening: May 11th 2017 from 20:00 to 03:00. Music line up by Subbacultcha and Muziekgebouw: Kelly Lee Owens (Smalltown Supersound), Blanck Mass (Sacred Bones), Job Sifre (Antikunst), Mata Hari (Strange Sounds From Beyond). The exhibition of EYE in De School can be visited after the opening for free until May 31st from Tuesday to Friday between 17:00 and 22:00 and during regular club nights in the weekend. The film programme Cinema Erotica will be screening in EYE from 1-18 June 2017.
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