19 April – 12 May 2017
Aksioma | Project Space, Ljubljana
Part of U30+ production programme for supporting young artists
Online pornography has profoundly changed the access of younger generations to sexual content. Online, everything is easily accessible; everything is explicit, categorized to meet any preference and / or perversion; and the explosion of amateur pornography has turned the representation of the sexual sphere into something that potentially involves everybody.
In the recent past visual artist Iza Pavlina began to research peculiar sexual fetishes and filmed staged situations using her own body as a medium to enact them. However, the materials she generated differ from typical pornographic materials in that there is an absolute lack of explicit content. The artist decided instead to place the object of the fetish itself in the very centre of the attention. Then she uploaded her materials on a popular porn website and passively monitored responses and comments from online audience members. This initial experiment encouraged her to carry on her scrutiny of these kinds of practices, communication forms and relationships, this time focusing more on the development of her online identity and the way her alter ego engages and interacts with its audience.
The project Rule 34, on display at Aksioma Project Space, is the result of this further investigation. For this exhibition new video and photographic materials illustrating various specific sexual fetishes, such as Exophilia (attraction to non-human life-forms), Plushophilia (attraction to stuffed animals), Agalmatophilia (attraction to statues and dolls), Coulrophilia (attraction to clowns and jesters) and so on, were produced and submitted on a regular basis to all major pornographic media and social networking sites. This became the “habitat” in which the artist’s online persona could exist, live and perform. Her engagement with the audience’s responses, private messages and comments were all but passive. Iza in fact established a direct dialogue with her fans, encouraging them to trade her original digital artwork and drawings for a “Cum Tribute” or any other kind of creative feedback.
Everyday conversations, comments, private messages and exchanged items were regularly documented and then accurately formatted to become part of a multimedia installation. This specific content is made available to the gallery’s audience through a number of Wi-Fi routers, each of which hosts a set of reactions to a specific fetish. These devices, installed next to the artist’s staged paraphilia videos, are disconnected from the internet and broadcast their content only locally, so in order to access a specific collection, visitors have to connect to the proper network through a personal device, being it a smart-phone, tablet or laptop.  They can also access the artist’s profiles directly on xHamster, Pornhub and XVideos by scanning QRcodes the artist holds in her hands in the exhibited framed self-portrait drawings. If they decide to do so they will have the opportunity to explore Rule 34 even deeper and actively engage with the project.
Iza Pavlina (1991) is finishing her postgraduate studies in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana, where she, among other things, received a special achievements award in 2015. Her work is characterised by her interest in topics related to sexuality, paraphilias and pornography. She creates fictitious identities with which she enters the virtual space to explore various phenomena of social anomalies, relations of power and the question of how to manipulate one’s own image to establish communication with a target group of internet users. Her work has been presented in solo shows Talk to Strangers (Erotic Gallery Račka, Celje, 2014) and Isabelle Peacocks (Gallery of Contemporary Art Celje, 2016). She has also participated in several group exhibitions: To ni ljubezenska pesem (This is Not A Love Song, Miklova hiša Gallery, Ribnica, 2014), Situacija Dogville (Situation Dogville, Project Space DUM, Ljubljana, 2015), Mediterranea 17 – No Food’s Land – Young Artists Biennial (Fabbrica del Vapore, Milano, 2015), the 3rd Triennial of Young Artists – Premiera 2015 (Premiere 2015, Gallery of Contemporary Art Celje, 2015).
Author: Iza Pavlina
Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2017
Technical support: Rok Borštnar
Video production: Studio Atlas
Camera: Rok Tržan
Supported by: the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana
Aksioma’s programme is additionally supported by the Ministry of Public Administration as part of the public call for co-financing projects for the development and professionalisation of NGOs and volunteerism as well as by JSKD