Porn permeates our society. Rumours have circulated that it makes up over 30% of the internet, while past studies have established that pornography is more Googled than the weather. Porn’s overwhelming presence has a big part to play in shaping cultural perceptions of intimacy, yet the phenomenon remains relatively taboo. Until now. Pornceptual is a magazine dedicated to sexually explicit art, examining and challenging the established roles of pornography in our society through erotic photography and arousing creative endeavours.
The publication initially began as a Tumblr page which eventually grew into an online gallery showcasing artistic pornography. Edited by Chris Phillips, Eric Phillips and Raquel Fedato, the group of London and Berlin-based creatives now run a website, a printed magazine and an online fetish store, sourcing artists through submissions and via social media channels. The team also hosts parties, movie screenings and performance nights across the world. “Events are a huge part of what we do, and they are a great way to bring our website to life and introduce the project to new audiences,” the editorial team tells It’s Nice That.
This group of creatives were fed up with the narrow definitions of what pornography is and what it can achieve: “There is a certain reluctance to recognise pornography as a legitimate artistic expression. Pornceptual aims to question these misconceptions and propose an alternative.” Porn, they believe, is understood through the eyes of the powerful men that have the funds to mass produce and distribute it to a large audience. By showcasing artists like Erika Lust and Cocoapix, the journal aims to challenge these traditional definitions of pornography and champions the notion that erotic art has the potential to bring visibility to non-conforming sexualities and under-represented bodies. In this way, the magazine wants to redefine X-rated material as a vehicle that can catalyse positive change for marginalised groups.
Pornceptual’s third issue is centred around the question: Can pornography be a weapon of social justice? With articles headlined “Fuck the Fascism” and “Messy Brexit” accompanied by graphic but artistic sexual images, the magazine illustrates how porn and politics are undeniably intertwined. “Mainstream pornography often exploits women as it is produced and consumed by heterosexual men. It focuses on a particular representation of sex that feeds and upholds patriarchal narratives. The erotic imagery we feature disrupts dominant power structures and is a form of resistance for non-conforming bodies and minorities in general,” the editorial team explains. One example is the magazine’s spread about Andrés Rangl, whose captivating, boundary-pushing images aim to ridicule Donald Trump’s hate-fuelled speech targeted at women and people of colour.
“It’s time to stop seeing women as powerless victims of phallic power and understand that pornography made by women can be empowering and liberating. Women can produce and consume pornography that arouses them by putting their pleasure first,” the editors argue. The magazine has a clear vision: female empowerment and social change through sex.
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