Fusing Film & Erotica

Christine Haroutounian


Carolee Schneemann’s experimental film, Fuses, explicitly addresses feminist attempts to differentiate erotica from porn by avoiding the sole glorification of the female body. She ventures to do this by featuring both her body and that of her partner equally to eliminate the male gaze and to create an egalitarian framework within the intercourse of film and erotica.

Here, the artist's body serves as a counterpart to the male form, not merely as an object of desire in a typical pornographic movie. Much of this has to do with the way that Schneemann edited the film. The actual stock of Fuses and its graininess creates a frenzied mood that is often parallel to an intense sexual encounter, yet it also serves as a mechanism that blurs the two sexes. It is difficult to decide which form is male or female, and this abstraction furthers the artist’s goal of undermining binary oppositions between genders. Although she is thought to be successful in overcoming this very problem with this video, the art of filmmaking in the hands of men has remained largely the same with strictly phallocentric representations of sexuality in the modern world. The question then, still remains: how can one permanently change this?