Hysterical Literature

I spend a lot of time on the internet Googling unfamiliar topics and terms. Often I click on links from articles I am reading. One such article lead me to this art project: Hysterical Literature.

Hysterical Literature is a video art series by NYC-based photographer and filmmaker Clayton Cubitt. It explores feminism, mind/body dualism, distraction portraiture, and the contrast between culture and sexuality. Launched in August of 2012, the video series has been watched over 45 million times in 200 countries.

For each session, “Women are seated with a book at a table, filmed in austere black and white against a black background. They have chosen what to read and how to dress. When the camera begins recording, they introduce themselves, and begin reading. Under the table, outside of the subject’s control, an unseen assistant distracts them with a vibrator. The subjects stop reading when they’re too distracted or fatigued to continue, at which point they restate their name, and what they’ve just read. The pieces vary in length based on the response time of the subjects.”

I am fascinated by the struggle for self-control and the idea that we can somehow separate our minds from our bodies. It is also incredibly freeing to see someone react without shame. That is something we need more of in this world.

You can find a listing of all sessions here.

My favorite session also happens to be the most recent.

Dear reader, meet Fette.

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