Videos available upon request.

This is a supplemental video in this series that shows how my presence effected and was effected by the process of filming the BDSM movies and working as a sex laborer. In general, it was a tremendous honor for me to be  allowed the privilege of working in this adult film  industry. This job was often fun and exciting but it could also be humbling and placed my body in precarious positions that exposed me to many bodily fluids. If there was ejaculate, lube, squirt, excrement, or urine on the floor, I was responsible for cleaning it up. Although all models went through rigorous STI testing protocols –which kept the models and production workers safe– it was still a unique position to find myself in as a worker whose job it was to push the physical –and meta-physical– “mop” to clean up the mess left behind by other people’s “fun-time.” Although I rarely appeared on camera during the filming of these movies, sometimes during live shows I would have to be part of the recorded action in order to get the model into and out of bondage.  My interaction with body fluids was sometimes caught on film or part of the scene. As in the other videos in this series, I fast-forward through parts of the movie that I am not in and then slow down to normal speed parts that I did appear in and I pixelated every person’s face other than my own to put my representation on the line as opposed to objectifying anyone else’s likeness. To get this footage, I paid for a monthly membership to the porn company’s website and then downloaded the movies to my computer. More information about this series below:

Since 1999, I have been using my jobs as research to inform my art practice. Having completed bodies of work regarding my professional careers as a cabinet maker, fine-dining busboy, locksmith, and yoga instructor, I most recently –from 2010-2018– worked behind the scenes helping to produce adult bondage and fetish movies as a full-time hourly employee. As a worker in this industry, my job title is often referred to as an “engineer” or a “rigger.” This entailed constructing or assembling the bondage in which models would be restrained during the filming of the movies. This role encompassed many different tasks; however, my most important responsibility was to create and fabricate safety for everyone on set, with the primary emphasis being placed on the safety of the model who would be in bondage.

When I began to moblize my employment in pornography as part of an art making process, I first had to determine if and how I might be able to ethically make art inspired by this research –as I have done in my other employment experiences– in ways that didn’t objectify anyone. At the outset, I spent a lot of time reflecting, researching, and defining how to situate my role as a worker in this very complicated context. To do this, I created the term “sex laborer.” By authoring this term, I was able to make a distinction between my job responsibilities and that of “sex workers.” Sex work is an identity and a form of employment for which I have tremendous respect, and I make this important distinction between my labor and that of sex workers because although some people in the world view my role in the production of fetish movies as sex work, others in the sex-industry disagree with that notion as I kept my clothes on and rarely appeared on camera. However, there have been other times in my life that my work in pornography has been treated with judgment by people outside of the industry in similar ways to the judgment that is sometimes placed upon sex workers. This left me in a complicated situation that I needed to come to terms with and to find a safe place from which to contextualize my experiences while also firmly situating myself in solidarity with sex workers all over the world.

The third part of research into my employment as a sex laborer revolved around the creation of “an intimacy of self.” I define this as making situations that allow me to experience a feeling of safety or intimacy of, by, or for myself, as opposed to creating it for other people as part of a job responsibility as a sex laborer, service professional, or as part of a series of social expectations. I realized that if I was going to make art that was inspired by my employment/research in adult films, then I needed to point the camera at myself: I needed to objectify myself. To address this idea further, I began to appropriate video footage derived from pornographic or mainstream sources that contained my image or representation as either a model, an actor playing a supporting character role, or as a laborer performing my job responsibilities. I then re-edited and re-contextualized the appropriated footage so it highlighted my presence in hopes of gaining some control over my representation. I do not own any of this footage.

Videos available upon request.

Safe 3: Fluids, UC Santa Barbara, 04/20 – SF, CA, 2014-2017 | 2019 | Safety Specialist