Pornography and Its Double: Pleasure, Artaud, and Ann Liv Young


Young’s juxtaposition of objects in Cinderella is complex. Beside the explicitly pornographic content of Cinderella, Young has placed silver glitter, a Disney princess, a famous fairy tale, the consumerist kitsch of souvenir sales, and an absurd collection of USAmerican pop music – T.I., Britney Spears and Air Supply. This assortment of popular entertainments, most of which are originally aimed at young female consumers, in turn creates a set of questions about their identity with one another. And Young’s juxtaposition of these forms necessarily colors them all with the taint of the pornographic. Cinderella accuses Disney’s princesses of pornography, of turning a sexualized gaze toward the lives and bodies of young girls. The disparate popular music Young has chosen, with lyrics such as ‘show me / how you want it to be’ and ‘late night sex, so wet and so tight’ is even more obviously pornographic. If Ann Liv Young sells her feces, her wristwatch and her pantyhose, the artist makes clear that the entertainments her performance cites are busy selling sex. As Artaud complained about the work of the Comédie-Française, we might now say of Young’s motley crew of pop musicians: ‘nothing but a sex house, and what sex!’ In this way, Young’s work makes evident the pornographic content of work by people like Britney Spears, T.I. and Walt Disney. Cinderella is aimed squarely at producers of sexualized images of women. In short, Young understands pornography in the way that I am arguing Artaud’s work both criticizes and utilizes the pornographic. Cinderella understands popular music as pornographic and it simultaneously performs the pornographic, with Sherry as the pornographic object manipulating the consumer.