Drawing: Midnight Private Browsing

by Beauchamp Art

Midnight Private Browsing (In Three Parts)

A2 Charcoal drawing; three pornographic video stills overlaid, and a solitary browser imposed on top.

Layers of images based on stills from three online amateur pornographic videos, draw with charcoal and erasers, then smudged, fixed, and the next image drawn on top. The final image was based on an abstract imagining of a lone figure illuminated by the laptop computer they are using, which is implied to be the source of sexual images – as if one is seeing both the viewer, and what they are viewing simultaneously. The figure is intended to seem blank, genderless and without identifying features, a person without personality, a dehumanised human, much like the people in the pornographic videos featured. The laptop is used as it an electronic device with a more intimate association with the body that connects to the use of erotica, in that as a ‘laptop’ it is in direct contact with the body, near the genitals, but here not being so directly engaged with, as it is positioned away from the body, but still physical close to the figure.

Images become forgotten, blurred together, amalgamated into a barely decipherable series of marks, most details lost in favor of the kinaesthetic energy of the drawings. They are built up and knocked back as if one were browsing through the images/videos, forgetting what one had just seen, like ‘channel surfing’, which is slowly being replaced by ‘web surfing’, absent minded observations of a constant stream of visual information, that is disregarded as fast as it is acknowledged. Here, pornography is used to exemplify this, in the form of the passive consumption of sexual imagery, with a disregard for the content and the persons featured, personal satisfaction and self-fulfillment is placed above direct physical engagement with another person.

It could be observed that the darkness that engulfs the figure is a self-inflicted isolation, as the person is isolated in the midnight of distorted depictions of carnal embrace, and their ‘privacy’ is really isolation. [‘Private Browsing’ is a term used by the web browser Firefox as means of using the Internet whilst taking recording no history or saving any information about the Internet activity of the user while it is engaged, and has thus been satirically dubbed ‘Porn Mode’]