Hey guys, here is the post of my choosing 😀 😀 but wordpress is not showing me formatting options or embedding videos! oh no …
You’d Like To Be Gio Black Peter
An artist who estranges us, then restores us
“Tea with Gio Black Peter” took place in Islington last month where cappuccino machines were provided for a seminar-full of the London gay art scene regulars. Myself sat in the back row who couldn’t resist taking a couple of cheeky pictures of the charismatic and quick-witted artist. The talk was centered around censorship, something that the artist confessed has been battling ever since the beginning of his career from the legal scope to frequent myspace and facebook deletions. As a friend of Bruce LaBruce, he is credited and has appeared in numerous films under LaBruce’s direction, one of which LA Zombies was banned at Melbourne Film Festival, an incident that made headlines.
Identifying his most miserable time as when he worked as a graphic designer in a corporate company, a job to kill for if you ask the local hackney baristas, he clearly comes across as a challenger, a mischief or depending on the audience, an offender.
No one has the right not to be offended, from Andres Sarano’s “Piss Christ” to Bjarne Melgaard’s “Racist Chair”, I’m shocked and disheartened to hear people get offended by a close-up shot of a penis or anus. The sad truth about what appears to be an embracing act from the gay community inevitably leads to an artist who depicts the male body and male sexuality as well as all the subtexts that could be read between the strokes labelled as a “gay artist”, a term that carries incredibly harmful connotation which not only alienates the rest of the world audience but insults the artists creativity. Essentially, if a piece of art like Black Peter’s COMMUNION/Glory Hole Portrait on Wood is only read as a “Nice cock”, it exposes the crudeness in the gay communities art literacy. Has our imagination gone with the wank?
“My photographs or videos are not meant to arouse, but if you are aroused that’s fine.”, the generous artist consults. Maybe a bit of censoring is needed when it comes to self-censoring the libido from the conscience. After all, any type of artistic expression manifests within a narrative that we as an audience create. What you think of a work of art reveals more about you than it does the artist. Should your narrative extends only to a moment of a discharge of bodily fluid, if you could keep your inner art critic in your pants as well. It gets slightly frustrating when I read book reviews or features in gay publications when the interviewer compliments the artists for their hotness. Have I become so cynical that I don’t recognize a kind gesture of breaking the ice? Compliment on the work please.
Black Peter, a native New Yorker who had been traveling back and forth into London in his earlier years as his own artist has gone through various stages of transformation. Explaining to the tea goers, he acknowledged the inclining work load on the visual art side than live performing. As a recording artist, Black Peter has released several singles and videos, many of which feature himself engaging in intercourse. His latest work “Box” was featured as the opening segment for “Performing Dreams” at London LGBT Film Festival. The clip is written and directed by Black Peter, compared to many of his previous works, many of the themes such as race, sexuality, angst, emancipation and himself are seen with more coherence and subtlety, as well as a sense of maturity, a shift that could resonate his journey in life, which generates a great amount of melancholy.
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Talking to Advocate Magazine in 2011, Black Peter expressed his views on censorship.
“My biggest problem comes with the censorship monster. But I am going to stand my ground. Sure, it would be more lucrative if I dedicated my time making nonconfrontational work, but I will never conform. There is nothing wrong with nudity and sexuality. We live in a sick society that embraces war culture and promotes and glamorizes violence. The latest battle came with my new music video Revolving Door (New F*ck New York) which was directed by Bruce LaBruce. It took longer to upload then it did for the video to be taken down and banned from the Internet. The saddest part was when it took me half that time to find a video on YouTube of two idiots punching themselves in the face until they were bloody pulps. What does this say about our society? “
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To censor is to hide.
“Disgust always bears the imprint of desire” says theorist Julia Kristeva. Were you disgusted by the above image/video? Censorship is ubiquitous in what we practice. A gay man staying in the closet is the censorship of self-image, writing on dating sites saying “no skinny, no fatty, prefer non-asians, no girly” is a censorship of your inbox, “top only, fisting is sick, bottom only, no smokers, 18-35” is censorship of pleasure. Humans are the best curators of bad habits, and for that reason, works of art estrange you from the known pit of shitty preconceptions so you’d come back a different person.
One of the tea goers I remember mentioned that a growing trend for artists who identify their sexuality as gay are making efforts not to be seen as “gay artists”, implying some sort of shame or embarrassment to be seen as somebody who are only able to produce homo stuff. On some level, it is within reason for not alienating the broader audience, but in the realm of art, remember “Death of the Author” has passed on the responsibility of art and literature to the audience. Authors are dead, you shouldn’t be. Why judge the work by the identity of the artist? Gay people are a lucky bunch who are enlightened at birth, knowing that no value can be taken for granted, shouldn’t we enjoy the “gay” point of view? By saying “it’s really gay”, you mean “you are really gay” to see it as that.
On that note, “Stranger by The Lake” has posters all over London buses and tube stations, I wouldn’t imagine straight people after seeing the film would call it “really gay” so let’s not do that ourselves.
– hope I did all right :p all right, challenge number 2, 3am! lets do it 😀