Naked Type

I find that typewriter in the background of the still from Vilgot Sjoman's I Am Curious (Yellow), well, curious. Its presence highlights the fact that in the post-WWII era until (arguably) the age of video, pornography was intimately involved with the literary, and by that I mean high culture. But think the Venus of Dusseldorf, Manet, and Man Ray. Pornography always aspired to Art. Not surprisingly pornography is an intimate, essential component of the Mimeo Revolution. Look no further than da levy and Ed Sanders. William Burroughs' Roosevelt After Inauguration is another example that hits close to my heart. In could be argued that the financial success of Grove Press (and it historical importance as a publishing house) derives from its relationship with pornography.

Pornography is no longer contained in the cages of the art gallery or the peep show. Pornography is mainstream and has infused every aspect of popular culture. In some sense, I Am Curious (Yellow) is from a more innocent time. A Garden of Eden, when pornography could still shock, inspire, and titilate. A time when pornography encouraged one to hit the pause button or slow-mo rather than the fast forward button. But was I Am Curious (Yellow) the bite of the apple of carnal knowledge? Along with Andy Warhol's Blue Movie or, more certainly, Deep Throat or Behind the Green Door, did this Swedish classic signal the moment when porn moved towards the mainstream? Clearly, the small press in the form of Grove Press put that moment into print and helped disseminate porn to the masses.

The memory of a time when porn was shocking and fresh like Venus in her shell is quickly slipping away, like the memory of a time when letters were composed on a typewriter, or even more intimately, more nakedly, written by hand.



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