The Protagonist of the Erotic
The Smartphone by Nadine Botha
'Are you in a serious relationship with your smartphone?' The question headlines long-form news articles warning of the dour effects of incessant usage and screen addiction. Yet, for Nadine Botha, the intimacy we share with our handheld devices may be far more peculiar than we think. After all, it serves us both the overstimulation of the 24-7 office and the delicious jolts of adrenaline from text messages sent by lovers. In such exchanges, the vibrancy of electric connection transcends planetary locations and timezones. Scrolling, searching and seducing one another, constant connectivity permeates every aspect of our daily existence, from the way we find love to navigating unfamiliar city streets. Evoking philosophers, artists and designers, Nadine delivers an intoxicating account of the smartphone as a fetish object; a techno-sexual prosthetic, extending our bodies and selves in unfathomable ways.
This episode includes interviews with Chen Yu Wang, Jan Schulz and Ginevra Petrozzi, who also shared a recording of her project Digital Esotericism (2021). Great thanks to Kluster5 for contributing passages of Perceived Reality (2022) – a record exploring the construction of identity. The first half of the visual album – Elevation of Self-Validation – is about a young woman who loses herself to social media. Introduction and outro voiced by Johnny Vivash. Editing and sound design by Tobias Withers. Soundscape by The God in Hackney. Artwork by Karel Martens. Produced by the Extra Extra team.
The Egg by Nina Folkersma30:00The egg is the most naked thing Nina Folkersma has ever seen. Yet, it is magical and mysterious. By stretching the egg’s metaphor close to her body, Nina feeds imaginations about motherhood and fertility. Surrealist paintings and writings are explored to meditate on the beauty and awkwardness of sensuality. Find yourself in a former pharmacy on Madison Avenue in New York to listen to the unreleased play of Leonora Carrington. Do you want to know what happens when an old lady – the ex-madam of a brothel – gains possession of the last surviving human egg? Perhaps you fancy some north of Catalonia sun in Salvador Dalí’s gardens until the heat makes you hallucinate an egg in the sky. Hold your breath before you shell the egg; it might be a sex toy in your hands. Or is it the female penis of a seahorse? Carrying many eggs in her pockets, Nina makes you spin into the circle of life and talks about the possibility of new beginnings. Ready? Steady? Egg!Written by Nina Folkersma. Introduction and outro voiced by Johnny Vivash. Editing and sound design by Tobias Withers. Additional soundscape by The God in Hackney. Artwork by Karel Martens. Curated by Justine Gensse. Produced by the Extra Extra team.
Anne Carson by Canan Marasligil30:00Anne Carson is a literary superstar. At sixteen years old, she fell in love with the ancient Greek language and pursued her passion by translating Sappho, Sophocles and Euripides. From the end of the 1980s until today, Anne Carson has published a plethora of works that investigate the twists and turns of love, sexual yearning and despair, affirming the tragic beauty of the monstrous and the fury of a desire that transcends all standards. Her radically modern oeuvre wonderfully disturbs categories as it blends poetry, prose, translation and academic thinking. Have you ever heard about brainsex? Lust is a glistening thread not quite taut in our lives; Canan Marasligil tightropes on tiptoes through the worlds of Anne Carson, intimately confessing about her own affective life and translation work. Between the twists of the tongue, Canan takes us on a journey to be displaced, where translating is the ultimate carnal experience, a necessity to grow wings, a desire to turn into desire.Written by Canan Marasligil. Introduction and outro voiced by Johnny Vivash. Editing and sound design by Tobias Withers. Additional soundscape by The God in Hackney. Artwork by Karel Martens. Curated by Justine Gensse. Produced by the Extra Extra team.
The Bed by James Taylor-Foster28:42A space of refuge and comfort where, while wrapped in bedlinens or a soft eiderdown quilt, our dreams and fantasies unfold. Under the clouds of the duvet, in the darkness, intimacies are exchanged between bodies, hands searching, flesh tenderly touched. A centrepiece of domesticity, the psychic landscape of the bed belongs to the private sphere. But, according to James Taylor-Foster, its role in contemporary society is far more expansive. On our phones and laptops, reading, texting, exchanging emails and taking meals propped up on pillows, this is where social lives are forged, corporate empires are built and great novels are written. Between the sheets, James speaks to the sensuous connotations of the bed, a piece of furniture which is far more than just a place of rest.Introduction and outro voiced by Johnny Vivash. Editing and sound design by Tobias Withers. Soundscape by The God in Hackney. Artwork by Karel Martens. Produced by the Extra Extra team. Many thanks to Michel Banabila for his music.
The Swimming Pool by Lara Haworth30:00Clandestine. Blue. Sparkling and full of promise. The pristine surface of an empty swimming pool is like a sensual invitation. 'Jump into me,' it seems to beg. 'Plunge your body into my depths.' During a summer of heatwaves, writer and artist Lara Haworth found herself at the poolside surrounded by beach towels and bare flesh. Cooling off from the soaring temperatures, she recalls childhood crushes, Deborah Levy's iconic novel Swimming Home, and the watery tumult depicted in the film A Bigger Splash. Following these rivulets of desire, she traces the history of public lidos and a cultural lineage of swimming, wondering how bodies of water seem to suggest the erotic. In these communal spaces, where exposed skin drips, young lovers meet and daredevils leap, anything seems possible. With the scent of chlorine and sunscreen perfuming the air, Lara lines her feet up at the pool's edge and dives in. Introduction and outro voiced by Johnny Vivash. Editing and sound design by Tobias Withers. Soundscape by The God in Hackney. Artwork by Karel Martens. Produced by the Extra Extra team.
Janelle Monáe by Dan Hassler-Forest29:14Singer. Dancer. Movie star. Activist. Afrofuturist. Android. Janelle Monáe is one of the most iconic pop stars of her generation. Her music is utterly addictive, full of infectious beats, bass-heavy funk, and that unmistakable voice, delicate and breathy, yet full of raw power. The high-concept songstress composes thematic albums, narrated by alter-ego Cindi Mayweather, a robot who dares to desire human love. Scholar Dan Hassler-Forest is unapologetically obsessed, counting himself as a 'Fandroid', the name given to Monáe devotees. Beginning with her chart-topping single, 'Make Me Feel', Dan lovingly extolls Monáe's life and vision, emphasising her ability to challenge the status quo through an ecstatic celebration of sex. In her sensual, sci-fi world, queer cyborg romance flourishes, pink vagina pants blossom and radical refusal gives way to orgasmic release. Following Audre Lorde's seminal essay, The Erotic as Power and José Esteban Muñoz's visionary text Cruising Utopia, Dan reveals how pleasure can be a force for liberation, a libidinous energy rising up to a four-chord climax.Introduction and outro voiced by Johnny Vivash. Editing and sound design by Tobias Withers. Soundscape by The God in Hackney. Artwork by Karel Martens. Produced by the Extra Extra team.
Coca-Cola by Seb Emina27:53Fizzling on the tongue, sugary sweet and deliciously cool, there’s nothing quite like Coca-Cola on a hot day. Cracking open a bottle, Seb Emina takes a long, deep sip. The iconic carbonated soda has been adding flavour to our imaginations for decades. Tall glasses, dripping moisture, their caramel-coloured contents glistening with bubbles and cubes of ice, adorn billboards. Coke is freedom, love, sex, nostalgia, modernity – in essence, just about anything you want it to be. The poet Frank O’Hara built fantastical worlds out of the common commodity, writing lyrical verses on the joy of sharing a glass with his lover, while the Brazilian novelist Clarice Lispector ruminated that it is the drink of “Today… The Now.” For Seb, however, Coke conjures past memories. On a sunny afternoon in Paris, he sets off in search of the beverage. While on the hunt for a retro glass bottle – a rarity amongst the plastic and can varieties – he recollects a teenage crush, holidays to a Greek island and the youthful desire to get a taste of adulthood. Introduction and outro voiced by Johnny Vivash. Editing and sound design by Tobias Withers. Soundscape by The God in Hackney. Artwork by Karel Martens. Produced by the Extra Extra team.
Aubergines by Nat Muller30:18Roasted with a splash of olive oil, a twist of garlic or dash of hot chilli, aubergines are sensuously salivating. The vegetables are immediately recognisable by their iconic phallic or bulbous breast-like shape, coated in a layer of waxy, deep purple skin and tender white flesh, spongy to the touch. Narrating her own culinary heritage and nostalgic memories of plates of steaming curry, baba ghanoush and succulent vegetarian schnitzel, Nat Muller lovingly traces the erotic connotations of the plants. Encompassing the kitchen-sink poetry of Erica Jong, an innuendo-laden exchange of emojis and the invigorating history of aubergine aphrodisiacs, Nat serves up a ravenously raunchy tale of the eggplant or brinjal. From an inaugural romantic dinner gone wrong to her husband's sure-handed slicing, she uncovers aubergines as a love language, one that speaks across continents and generations.Many thanks to Krishna Sutedja for his composition, performed by Gamelan Mudrasvara in Ubud, Bali and to the WNYC Archives for the 1971 interview with poet and novelist Erica Jong. Introduction and outro voiced by Johnny Vivash. Editing and sound design by Tobias Withers. Soundscape by The God in Hackney. Artwork by Karel Martens. Produced by the Extra Extra team.
Kiez by Defne Ayas30:16In the beating heart of Berlin, Defne Ayas finds herself surrounded by a cast of endlessly invigorating neighbours. ‘Kiez’ is the Berliner word for a city neighbourhood, a relatively small community encompassed by the sprawling city. Originally heralding from Istanbul, but shaped by New York and Shanghai, Defne is more than at home in unfamiliar places. Sipping steaming mugs of ceremonial grade cacao, she sets off in search of warmth and a touch of erotica, encountering filmmakers and theorists, DJs powering peak-of-the-night climaxes, salacious journalists and inspiring artists, who have found a haven in Berlin. There are pilates instructors, kundalini breath coaches and, in the waiting room of the nearby medical practice – run by a pair of twin doctors named Minks – is Vaginal Davis, the internationally revered doyenne and performance artist. Against the backdrop of the pandemic and despair-inducing current events, Defne uncovers a radical sensuality harbouring in enlightening and tender minds.Tremendous gratitude to AA Bronson, for his reading of Love Letter to Berlin, and Ayumi Paul for a clip of her stunning work, Eternal Love, recorded on the abandoned tennis courts in the Woga-Komplex. Part of an ensemble of buildings designed by the architect Erich Mendelssohn, the courts are a former neighbourhood hub, a popular and affordable meeting point that, since the land has been sold to a private investor, are closed to the public. And great thanks to Vaginal Davis for an excerpt of an audio work from her 2021 exhibition, The Wicked Pavilion. The excerpt appears courtesy of the artist and Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin. Introduction and outro voiced by Johnny Vivash. Editing and sound design by Tobias Withers. Soundscape by The God in Hackney. Artwork by Karel Martens. Produced by the Extra Extra team.