Posthuman Ecstasy: Long Live the New Sex

David Cronenberg’s new movie A Dangerous Method is out now. I haven’t seen it yet, this isn’t a review. But thinking about the film led me, naturally, to thinking about sex in Cronenberg’s movies. Specifically, about how Cronenberg’s films offer up images of posthuman sexualities, of erotic experiences beyond the bounds of what human bodies are normally considered capable of. So this post is about Cronenberg’s new flesh. The erotic flesh. The philosophy of which is illustrated in the speech in the video below. Fair warning though: although this audio-visual tour through posthuman sexuality will be stimulating and enlightening, you probably don’t want to be reading this post at work or in front of your Granny. Unless she’s very adventurous.

Taking place during the earliest days of psychoanalysis, A Dangerous Method centres on Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung and how their relationship was tested by Sabina Spielrein, a patient of Jung’s who later became a prominent psychoanalyst herself. It seems to be a respectable period drama but I was struck by the notion that even though  late period Cronenberg is relatively restrained compared to his earlier, gooier films, the related concerns with sex and the body are still present. Much has been made of the opening scene for example, in which Sabina is seen in the midst of a hysterical fit. Just as much as Cronenberg’s other films, mental states are written on the body. Hysteria manifests physically in the form of bizarre facial tics and bodily contortions, as in the photos of early psychiatrist Jean Martin Charcot, whose work Cronenberg drew upon as research:

In an interview here Cronenberg said of Charcot’s documentation of hysteria,

There was silent film of the era that we watched at that time. On one hand it’s comical, and, at the same time, it’s horrible, because it’s almost like some weird kind of self-mutilation––to deform yourself, to cripple yourself, to paralyze yourself, to mute yourself so that you can’t speak. With Keira, I said, “The face and the jaw and the mouth, I think we should concentrate on that, because she is trying to say these unspeakable things.”

In this instance, that her father beat her and she found this arousing. This would potentially be ‘unspeakable’ in a modern context, but in a Victoria one even more so. But in these early days of psychoanalysis the ethical and professional lines were not yet drawn and practices not yet codified. So it is that Jung takes to spanking and embarking on an affair with Sabina as part of his search for a cure. Now this could just be personal taste but that story-line strikes me as having just the right amount of intellectual and thematic meat, forbidden sexuality and sadomasochistic edge to be, well, a bit sexy really. Which brings us to the point of this post. In thinking about how A Dangerous Method seemed a bit sexy, it occurred to me that actually, for all that they are supposedly gory, cold and cerebral, Cronenberg actually makes sexy movies. Carnal movies. Erotic movies even.

They’re just not sexy in any recognizably human way. Which makes them even more sexy. Moreover, Cronenberg’s films have long been engaged in the very thing that Sabina finds so difficult, namely to, “show the unshowable, to speak the unspeakable” (Cronenberg on Cronenberg, p. 43).

A bit of theory first to bolster the argument (as if it needs it, I hear you say!). Film theorist Patricia MacCormack has developed a concept she calls Cinesexuality. Mainstream cinema, according to MacCormack, works with narrative building-blocks of meaning which reinforce the semiotic pathways of desire already established by societal norms. So film genres such as the romantic comedy, for instance, work from a narrative, semiotic template informed by stable units of narrative meaning such as the nuclear family and heterosexual romance.  But cinema is also able to produce pleasure which is “in excess of the meaning of images and their deferral to established sexualities” (MacCormack, 2005/6, p. 341). ‘Low-brow’ genres like horror and science-fiction can encourage the spectator to give themselves over to the effects of pain and pleasure at the expense of narrative logic. These effects help create new pathways of desire, overturning the dominant family-oriented, heterosexual codes.

MacCormack calls this audience experience ‘cinesexual’, and because it can be uncomfortable at first for the spectator to submit to his experience she calls it an act of ‘cinemasochism’. In her essay A Cinema of Desire: Cinesexuality and Guattari’s Asignifying Cinema MacCormack writes that it is a fiction to think that “cinema is a version of actual sexuality simply repeated on screen…What happens when there is sexuality without the possibility of heterosexual or homosexual union? What happens to gender if sexuality is not based on oppositional terms?” Cinema then is capable of opening new pathways of desire. MacCormack writes that watching such images, submitting to ‘cinemasochism’ can be a catalyst towards new forms of becoming. A brief explanation of this term is in order:

Becoming is the action of entering the self into a participation with another element thus forming a unique relational structure which changes both terms and spreads forth to create a series of limitless connections with other terms. Becoming does not form a unity but a contagion…Becoming is not ‘like’, or ‘as’ the other term. Becoming is a movement rather than a project toward which a goal is identified. (Cinema of Desire)

As stated, McCormack finds horror films particularly efficient at the “reterritorialisation of intensities not reducible to affirmed or exchanged binaries”. After all, McCormack asks, “what is the gender of entrails”? In horror:

watching the dishevelment of bodies into organs is a pleasurable trauma…the cinesxual spectator should not expect information, by way of forms, which may translate to their sexuality. they should experience expression, which evokes repulsion desire, bodily ruptures wich evoke becoming-body. (Cinema of Desire)

At the 2011 conference  Bodies in Movement: Intersecting Discourses of Materiality in the Sciences and the Arts  I heard McCormack deliver a keynote lecture entitled Encounters with Inhuman Ecstasy: Movement without Time. Full disclosure: I’m not sure I grasped that lecture any better than the brief outline of her theory of cinesexuality above. But in the spirit of intellectual adventure, let’s go with it anyway and see where it takes us. What I do recall of the lecture is related to the ideas above about narrative building-blocks of meaning which reinforce the semiotic pathways of desire already established by societal norms. MacCormack offered the image below as an example of inhuman ecstasy, able to induce a pleasure that is, “in excess of the meaning of images and their deferral to established sexualities“. In other words, what is depicted below is alien, cannot be made sense of in terms of conventional sexuality.

File:Tako to ama retouched.jpg

Dream of the Fisherman's Wife

Contrast this with the image below is taken from the 2009 exhibition Secret Images: Picasso and Japanese Erotic Prints at the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. For MacCormack, if  I remember correctly, Picasso’s piece was disappointing because of its ‘phallic pull’. While the Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife presents an image of a truly trans-species sexuality, Picasso, to cut a long story short, sees tentacles as just another kind of penis. The imaginative possibilities of the encaphaloid sexual encounter are reduced to what is actually a pretty standard masculine vision of sex as penetration. Reestablishing, in MacCormack’s language, an already stablished, hetero-normative semiotic pathway of desire. In less academic terms, Picasso lacks imagination. His is ultimately a human (hetero) sexuality.

Closer to the mark perhaps is this image from Daikichi Amano (click on his name for more, it’s totally worth it), which speaks of more alien and exotic encounters. Interestingly, for those who have been inspired by these images of human/cephalopod sexual congress there appears to be a recognised school of ‘tentacle erotica‘. Alas, further investigation of this topic will have to wait.

Outside of octopi, depictions of non-human sexualities are not all that common (for reasons that are as unfathomable to me as they are to you dear reader). Uncommon but not unheard of. take for instance the infamous ‘shunting’ scene from the end of Brian Yuzna’s Society (1989). In this scene an orgy of sorts climaxes in the participants melting into one another, faces fusing with body parts and individuals morphing, literally, into a heaving undifferentiated writhing mass of flesh. Something no longer recognizably human. A stinking, sweat-sodden, meaty hive-mind. But Society is perhaps too nightmarish to be truly erotic. At the very least, it won’t be to everyone’s tastes. Of course, it’s probably best to watch the video and decide for yourselves

In the video to the Klaxons Twin Flames, there is imagery similar to that found in Society, but here the nightmarish edge is taken off. Red-light district colouring, deep shadows and cramped camerawork are replaced with cool-blue open space and wide shots. This is an altogether more welcoming posthuman sexuality. It’s sexy, trust me.

As I pointed out at the beginning, I began thinking about all this because A Dangerous Method is currently in cinemas and I thought it sounded strangely sexy. And frankly, if you don’t think the idea of the handsome and charismatic Micheal Fassbender spanking the beautiful Keira Knightley while both attired in Victorian dress then the problem lies with you and not me my friend. At any rate, it occurs to me that the films of David Cronenberg are oddly arousing in general. In fact, Cronenberg has said that, “the cinema for me always meant sex…it was luscious, erotic, wonderful” (Cronenberg on Croneberg,  p. 37). But where there is Eros, Thanatos cannot be far behind. Cronenberg says: “Life and death and sexuality are interlinked…since my films are concerned very much with death and the human body, sexuality is automatically discussed. and in this area we are no fully evolved-culturally, physically or in any other way. The films are an attempt to try and perceive what, having said that, a fully evolved human being might look like” (Cronenberg on Cronenberg,  p. 65).

Often this evolution takes the form of sudden mutation. The creation of ‘new flesh’ which opens up previously unthought of capabilities and sexual possibilities: “Human beings could swap sexual organs, or do without sexual organs as sexual organs per se, for procreation. We’re free to develop different kinds of organs that would give pleasure, and that have nothing to do with sex” (p.82). In his first film Shivers (a clip from which opened this post) Cronenberg takes the unusual position of seeing sex through the ‘eyes’ of venereal disease: “In shivers I was saying, ‘I love sex, but I love sex as a venereal disease. I am syphilis. I am enthusiastic about it in a very different way from you and I’m going to make a movie about  it.” (p.151). For those who haven’t seen it here is the brief synopsis from Wikipedia:

Dr. Emil Hobbes (Fred Doederlin) is conducting unorthodox experiments with parasites for use in transplants, however, he believes that humanity has become over-rational and lost contact with its flesh and its instincts, so the effects of the organism he actually develops is a combination aphrodisiac and venereal disease. Once implanted, it causes uncontrollable sexual desire in the host. Hobbes implants the parasites in his teen-aged mistress, who promiscuously spreads them throughout the ultra-modern apartment building, outside Montreal, where they live. The community’s resident physician, Roger St. Luc (Paul Hampton), and his assistant, Nurse Forsythe (Lynn Lowry) attempt to stop the parasite infestation before it overwhelms the city’s population.

What the synopsis doesn’t add is that they fail. The film ends in an orgy in the high-rise’s swimming pool where the last survivor is infected. In the final scenes the infected apartment dwellers get into their cars to make their way out into the world. For some critics Shivers was an attack on the bourgeois and bourgeois notions of morality and sexuality. But Cronenberg was after more than just satire. He says,

the characters in Shivers experience horror because they are still standard, straightforward members of the middle-class high-rise generation…Of course they’re going to react with horror on a conscious level.  They’re bound to resist. They’re going to be dragged kicking and screaming into this new experience. But, underneath, there is something else, and that’s what we see at the end of the film. they look beautiful at the end. They don’t look diseased or awful. (Croneneberg on Cronenberg p. 82)

Shivers then, ends on a happy note. The infected are not ‘diseased and awful’ but ‘beautiful’. The parasites have liberated them from bourgeois sexual conventions and morality and created something new. Homo Sexualis.

Shivers is uually viewed in conjunction with the follow-up Rabid, which also deals with mutant sexualities. Again, the synopsis is from Wikipedia:

A critically injured woman, victim of a motorcycle accident, is taken to the plastic surgery clinic of Doctor Dan Keloid, where some of her intact tissue is treated to become morphogenetically neutral. The tissue is grafted to fire-damaged areas of her body in the hope that it will differentiate and replace the damaged skin and organs. The woman’s body unexpectedly accepts the transplants, developing an orifice under an armpit, within which hides a phallic stinger. She uses it to feed on the blood of other people and afterwards erasing their memories of the incident.It soon is apparent that every victim whom she infects transforms into a rabid zombie whose bite spreads the disease. This eventually causes the city to fall into chaos before the outbreak can be contained.

Rabid, good as it is, is perhaps not as successful as Shivers. It is certainly horrifying  but lacks the weird frisson of the earlier film, the sense that you are being shown something that deep down, in ways you cannot articulate, you know to be true. With Rabid, the sexuality is on the surface. The casting of porn star Marilyn Chambers in her first straight role.  The vaginal orifice (below) from which the phallic stinger emerges is an effectively peculiar image but in the end it’s infection is of a very standard zombie kind. A world away from the libidinous infection of Shivers.


Videodrome (1983) marks a turning point.  A sickly and distressing film, full of imagery and ideas dredged up from the darkest and most fetid corners of the collective unconscious.   The film follows Max Renn (James Woods) the CEO of a small cable station who stumbles upon a broadcast signal featuring extreme violence and torture. Renn embarks on a sadomasochistic relationship with Debbie Harry, and their shared interest in sex and violence is facilitated by the videodrome transmissions. An apparent story about a mind-control conspiracy unfolds as Renn uncovers the signal’s source and loses touch with reality and begins suffering-or perhaps actually undergoing (?)- a series of increasingly bizarre and violent organic hallucinations/mutations. At one point developing a vaginal opening in his abdomen in which are placed a phallic gun but also videotapes which then take on a semblance of flesh. Traditional boundaries separating the organic from the technological become indistinct, giving way to the ‘new flesh’.

Max Renn's mangina from Videodrome

MacCormack, drawing on Guattari writes that:

Spectator and screen form a machinic assemblage. Machinic should not be confused with mechanical. ‘Machinic configurations do not recognise distinctions between persons, organs, material flows, and semiotic flows.’ (1996:46) The spectator and screen machine is a ‘composition of deterritorialising intensities’ (1992: 38). It is an arrangement of a body and a surface, but the machine is independent of the materiality of its parts according to Guattari. It describes the system of connection by which the components perturb and affect each other as they are perturbed and affected. Each perturbation shifts points of intensification and changes the direction of flows, making some areas dense and others dissipate. The territory is remapped, deteritorialisation leading to a re-composition. But the machine structure itself, the act of watching, remains the same (A Cinema of Desire: Cinesexuality and Guattari’s Asignifying Cinema; 7)

Videodrome literalises this idea. Indeed Cronenberg has said that Videodrome considers how affecting the body with technologies-in this case television “you alter your reality”. The machinic assemblage Max Renn forms with the screen in Videodrome deterritorialises, then reterritorialises first his mind, then his body, then his very reality. Moreover,  MacCormack argues that the way most films are produced and marketed “presumes and acknowledges the machinic arrangement of viewer and film”, hence imagery is “oriented around its most predictable meaning” causing, “intensities to pass along frequently travelled trajectories”. Not so Videodrome. its imagery, even when familiar-a television, a mouth is far from oriented around the most predictable meanings of such things. As the film progresses and Renn’s ontological status and physical form become more and more difficult to codify, the narrative itself seems to break down. Part of Videodrome’s power is that it feels like a film without centre, without a final meaning or catharsis. Devoid of explanation, the film, much like the videodrome transmissions the plot revolves around, dares us to look away and defies our attempts to make sense, to make meanings of it. Your flimsy human categories and modes of cognition are no use here. Best just to give way to the new flesh.

1988’s Dead Ringers is more naturalistic in its presentation but no less profound in its implications and no less provocative in its insinuations. Loosely based on the real-life story of identical-twin gynecologists Stewart and Cyril Marcus who were discovered dead from barbiturate withdrawal in 1975, Dead Ringers stars Jeremy Irons as both Elliot and Beverly Mantle. From the Wikipedia synopsis:

Elliot, the more aggressive and confident of the two, seduces women who come to the Mantle Clinic. When he tires of them, the women are passed on to the shy and passive Beverly, while the women remain unaware of the substitution. A troubled actress, Claire Niveau (Geneviève Bujold), comes to the clinic for her infertility. It turns out that Claire has a “trifurcated cervix”, which means she probably will not be able to have children. Elliot seduces Claire and then urges Beverly to sleep with her. When Beverly becomes attached to Claire, it upsets the equilibrium between the twins. When Claire learns of the twins’ deception, she is angry but later decides to continue a relationship with Beverly exclusively. Claire leaves to work on another film. This sends Beverly into clinical depression, heavy drinking, prescription drug abuse and paranoid delusions about “mutant women” with abnormal genitalia. Beverly seeks out metal artist Anders Wolleck and commissions a set of bizarre gynecological instruments for operating on these mutant women. Beverly is then put on administrative leave by the hospital board after collapsing on a patient. Elliot locks Beverly into the clinic and tries to clean him up, taking pills himself to “synchronize”. When Claire returns, Beverly leaves the clinic to be with her. When he returns to sobriety, he is concerned about his brother, and goes back to the clinic. There he finds the clinic in ruins and Elliot despondent and intoxicated. Their positions are reversed as Beverly cares for Elliot. Drugged and despairing, they celebrate their mock birthday and Elliot volunteers to be killed, “to separate the Siamese twins”. Beverly disembowels Elliot on an examination couch. Beverly pulls himself together, leaves the clinic and calls Claire on a payphone. When she asks, “Who is this?”, Beverly leaves the payphone, walks back into the clinic and dies in Elliot’s dead arms.

Although an apparently more realistic film than those above, Dead Ringers, still manages to sneak in some grotesqueries. In the dream sequence below (which is in Spanish, but the imagery is primal enough to transcend nationalities I think), the attachment of the twins (“you haven’t fucked her until I’ve fucked her. You haven’t done anything until I’ve done it too“) is made literal via some sort of pulsing umbilical stump, and the implications of Claire separating the brothers by biting through it should be clear enough.

Possibly more horrifying, or arousing, depending on one’s inclination, are Beverly’s “gynaecological instruments for operating on mutant women” (pictured below). Obviously on one level these instruments imply internal damage, which is to say that they appear to be weapons as much as instruments.

Gynaecological instruments for operating on mutant women

But they also speak of, let us say, ‘inner beauty’. Of marvellous, unmapped interior landscapes. When Beverley examines Claire in the film he says, “I’ve often thought that there should be beauty contests for the insides of bodies-you know, ‘best spleen’, ‘most perfectly developed kidneys‘”. Part of his attraction to Claire appears to rest on the fact that she has a triple cervix, which Beverley describes as “fabulously rare”. But the real focus of Dead Ringers is not the possibility of mutant vaginas but the evolution of identical twins into something monstrous. As Linda Ruth Williams has said of the film, “More peculiar than the women, then, are the men. This is a film about the identical as abberational. The same as more bizarre than difference.”  Williams notes that in both Dead Ringers and Videodrome, Cronenberg passes on the opportunity of female spectacle (despite having cast Genevive Bulod and Debbie Harry respectively) in favour of foregrounding mutant (formerly male) bodies instead. Unlike Picasso, Croneberg resists the phallic pull. At least to some extent. Take the image below from Naked Lunch (1991) for example. This is surely what MacCormack means when she refers to visuals “in excess of the meaning of images and their deferral to established sexualities”.  Seriously, what is going on here? And why does it remain sexy rather than gross? Or actually, how does it manage to be both?

Naked Lunch

That Cronenberg would go on to adapt and film William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch is hardly surprising. As Chris Rodley says in Cronenberg on Cronenberg, the director’s work always displayed affinities with Burroughs’, “undifferentiated tissue, that can grow into any kind of flesh…sex organs sprouting everywhere”. Naked Lunch also deals with the impact of technology upon the body, only in this case the technology is writing. As Bill Lee says in the film, “I understood writing could be dangerous. I didn’t realize the danger came from the machinery.” I’m going to write about Naked Lunch in more detail another day. Instead, for this post, I want to focus on another of Cronenberg’s ‘fusions’ with his literary inspirations and his adaptation of J. G. Ballard’s Crash. Before that though the video below provides a montage of highlights from Naked Lunch, and an indication of sorts of what to expect.

Cronenberg’s film Crash (1996)  is adapted from the 1973 novel of the same name by J. G. Ballard. The book was itself the subject of some controversy when it was published, with one publisher’s reader concluding that “This author is beyond psychiatric help. Do Not Publish!” and I recall one claim that the novel feature a reference to genitalia on every single page. If anyone fancies doing a count the book  is available as a pdf here. At any rate, mere human genitals are the least interesting form of sexual gratification in Crash. Both film and book hinge on symphorophilia; sexual arousal through staging or witnessing disasters such as traffic accidents. As the philosopher/performance artist/madman Vaughn sees it, the wounds created by crashes and collisions “formed the key to a new sexuality, born from a perverse technology“. Clearly,  we are in  Cronenberg territory here. Once more, for those who haven’t seen the film, here is they Wikipedia synopsis for Crash:

Set in Toronto, James Ballard (James Spader), a film producer, has an open marriage with his wife, Catherine (Deborah Kara Unger). The couple are shown early on in the film engaging in various infidelities, and later having unenthusiastic sex; their arousal is heightened by discussing the intimate details of their extramarital sexual encounters. While driving home from work late one night, Ballard’s car collides head-on with another, killing the male passenger. While trapped in the fused wreckage, the driver, Dr. Helen Remington (Holly Hunter), wife of the killed passenger, exposes a breast to Ballard when she pulls off the shoulder harness of her seat belt. While recovering, Ballard meets Dr. Remington again, as well as a man named Vaughan (Elias Koteas), who takes a keen interest in the brace holding Ballard’s shattered leg together and photographs it. While leaving the hospital, Remington and Ballard begin to have an affair, one primarily fueled by their shared experience of the car crash (not only do all of their sexual assignations take place in cars, all of Dr. Remington’s off-screen sexual encounters take place in cars as well). In an attempt to make some sense of why they are so aroused by their car wreck, they go to see one of Vaughan’s cult meetings/performance pieces, an actual recreation of the car crash that killed James Dean with authentic cars and stunt drivers. When Transport Ministry officials break up the event Ballard flees with Remington and Vaughan. Ballard becomes one of Vaughan’s followers who fetishise car accidents, obsessively watching car safety test videos and photographing traffic accident sites. Ballard drives Vaughan’s Lincoln convertible around the city while Vaughan picks up and uses street prostitutes, and later Ballard’s wife. In turn, Ballard has a dalliance with one of the other group members, Gabrielle (Rosanna Arquette), a beautiful woman whose legs are clad in restrictive steel braces, and who has a vulva-like scar on the back of one of her thighs, which is used as a substitute for a vagina by Ballard. The film’s sexual couplings in (or involving) cars are not restricted to heterosexual experiences. While watching videos of car crashes, Dr. Remington becomes extremely aroused and gropes the crotches of both Ballard and Gabrielle, suggesting an imminent ménage à trois. Vaughan and Ballard eventually turn towards each other and have a homosexual encounter. Later on in the film, Gabrielle and Dr. Remington begin having a lesbian affair. Though Vaughan claims at first that he is interested in the “reshaping of the human body by modern technology,” in fact his project is to live out the philosophy that the car crash is a “fertilising rather than a destructive event, mediating the sexuality of those who have died with an intensity that’s impossible in any other form.” The film’s climax begins with Vaughan’s death and ends with Ballard being involved in another semi-deliberate car accident, this one involving his wife. Their fetish for car crashes has, ironically enough, had a strengthening effect on the Ballards’ marriage. As he caresses her bruised body in the grass median near the accident, Ballard and his wife display much more affection for each other than they had at any other point of the film, ending with Ballard lamenting, “Maybe next time” possibly implying that the logical end result of their extreme fetish is death.

Like Dead Ringers before it Crash  is set in the real world. The trappings of science fiction have been abandoned but human metamorphosis continues. This is reality as science fiction. A world of overpasses and street lamps, leather interiors, shattered glass, ragged limbs and twisted metal. It also, in common with the films already discussed, embraces a sexuality beyond the hetero-normative. Linda Ruth Williams observes that despite its “impressive lingerie-clad female cast…female sexuality is not central to the erotic mechanics of Crash” (page 43). Take the image above for example. Although Holly Hunter is shown in her underwear and is in the centre of the frame she is not central to it. Rather she is part of an assemblage, arms growing out of, or into, the front seats. The erotic charge depends on the juxtaposition of the elements: skin, silk, upholstery. For Williams the film “succeeds in its attempt to be genuinely polymorphously perverse; as the character-pairings cross and counter-cross in multiple sexual arrangements, masculinity and femininity become less defining categories than performative possibilities” (ibid). That the film culminates in an encounter between Ballard and Vaughn suggests that sexual encounters beforehand were simply preludes. But even that homosexual encounter lacks the genuinely transgressive thrill of the scene where Ballard seems to penetrate the large scar in Gabrielle’s thigh (seen in the poster below). As Williams notes, Gabrielle embraces this neo-sex organ, and “Relishes  rather than regrets the fact that she has more ‘ways in’ than normal” (page 46).

In Britain Crash  was caught in a storm of controversy, with several critics calling for it to be banned. In reaction to charges of pornography many critics went out of their way to argue that Crash is instead a cold and cerebral movie, and not in any way arousing. This is an understandable reaction to save the reputation of a film that is being condemned, but it is a little disingenuous. The truth is, and the reason the film works, is that it is erotic. It is sexy. Granted, it isn’t sexy in any recognizably human way. Like all of the films discussed here Crash presents a post-human sexuality.

Now no doubt some readers will find this weird and upsetting, perhaps even deviant and dangerous. But Cronenberg has stressed that the artist is not a citizen of society. The artist is under no obligation to produce ‘socially responsible’ work. Rather, “An artist is bound to explore every aspect of human experience”.No social responsibility but maybe a higher one; the evocation of new forms of becoming, new bodies and new sexualities. A reaching out beyond the ‘social’ and the ‘human’, beyond hetero and homo-sexualities.

The old flesh is dead. Long live the new sex.

About Scott Jeffery

Hello humans. I am Dr. Scott Jeffery. I do the following things (in no particular order): Research into Post/Humanism and Transhumanism and superheroes (seriously, I’ve got a PhD and everything) Stand-up comedy Compulsive rumination I blog about these things (plus occultism and all kinds of other lovely, strange topics) at NthMind. I also write regular short film reviews at Filmdribble. I can be contacted via twitter (@sjzenarchy) or at View all posts by Scott Jeffery

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