WHAT IS SEX?

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WHAT IS SEX?

2004–2006

What Is Sex? is a research project that accompanied the touring video program QUANTUM LEAPS and other presentations by Astria Suparak. At the beginning of the event audience members were handed blank index cards and pens, and asked to write an anonymous response to the prompt, “What is sex?” along with their birth year. At the end of the program selected responses were read aloud by Suparak, revealing the intimate thoughts of friends and strangers sitting next to each other, and perhaps expanding the possibilities of what sex can mean amongst the attendees.

This project fielded over 500 hundred responses from a range of participants aged 15 to 65 (birth years 1940–90) across numerous cities, in venues that ranged from colleges to abandoned malls, art spaces to microcinemas. It captured the conflicting ideas, fears, and hopes about sex from a particular moment, before easy internet search and crowd-sourcing were widespread practices. Respondents were poetic, scientific, cryptic, personal, celebratory, jaded, theoretical, rousing, and hilarious. The project touched upon ideas of consent, gender and sexuality fluidity, love, lust, and duty. Notable patterns emerged in the project, such as dry, biological definitions from a Texas football town; conceptual answers from a historic New York art center; replies in the form of drawings and abstract symbols from microcinemas in Philadelphia and Providence; the inclusion of God in answers from Ruston, Louisiana (which also had a higher number of self-declared virgins); and poetic responses from Amherst, Massachusetts.

 


TOUR SCHEDULE

Partial list.

June 24, 2004, 7pm
@ GirlsFilmSchool , The College of Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM
As part of a screening of Let’s Get Tested

2005
@ Concordia University, Montreal, QC

September 24, 2005
@ Cafe Toc Toc, Montreal, QC

March 2006
@ Clark’s, 314 Main St., Houston, TX
As part of a screening of Quantum Leaps

March 7, 2006, 8pm
@ minicine?, 846 Texas Ave., Shreveport, LA
As part of a screening of Quantum Leaps

March 8, 2006, 8pm
@ Lewis (an abandoned department store), 108 Park Ave., Ruston, LA
As part of a screening of Quantum Leaps, presented by Nomad Nights, with opening band The Upstairs Divine

March 9, 2006, 7pm
@ Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
As part of a screening of Quantum Leaps

March 13, 2006, 9:30pm
@ The Cable Car Cinema, 204 S. Main St., Providence, RI
As part of a screening of Quantum Leaps, presented by Brown University and Magic Lantern Cinema

March 15, 2006, 8pm
@ Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA
As part of a screening of Quantum Leaps, presented by Mass Art Film Society

March 18, 2006, 9pm
@ Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA
As part of a screening of Quantum Leaps, organized by Small Change

March 20, 2006, 7pm
@ Bard College, Avery Film Center, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
As part of a screening of Quantum Leaps

March 21, 2006, 7pm
@ The Kitchen, New York, NY
As part of a screening of Quantum Leaps

March 22, 2006, 7pm
@ The Sanctuary for Independent Media, Troy, NY
As part of a screening of Quantum Leaps, presented by iEAR Presents!

March 24, 2006, 8pm
@ Spark Art and Performance Space, Syracuse, NY
As part of a screening of Quantum Leaps, presented by SparkVideo

March 27, 2006, 6:30pm
@ University at Buffalo, SUNY, Center for the Arts, Amherst, NY
As part of a screening of Quantum Leaps

March 31, 2006, 7pm
@ National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.
As part of a screening of Quantum Leaps

April 3, 2006, 3pm
@ Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
As part of a screening of Quantum Leaps

May 6, 2005, 8pm
@ Hampshire College, Film & Photo building, Amherst, MA
As part of a screening of Elusive Quality, sponsored by Queer Community Alliance

 

 


PUBLICATIONS

Excerpts of What Is Sex? published in:

“American Girls,” BLACK DIAMOND MAGAZINE (UK: White Diamond Projects, 2004)

“What Is Sex?,” FANTASTY (New York: R&S Art and Publishing, 2004)

“What Is Sex?,” LICKETY SPLIT #3 (Montréal: 2006)

 

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