The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

MoSex Report

We had houseguests this weekend and tried to get out and do some of the NY stuff that we always forget about.

Paid a visit to the Museum of Sex. I've been once before but they recently installed two new exhibits: "Action: Sex and the Moving Image" and "Sex in Design / Design in Sex". Both focus on the parallel developments of overground and underground sex culture and how/when they cross-over.

Here were a few of the highlights:

The Aphrodite Project is designing a high-tech, feature-packed shoe for the use of sex workers.

The shoes feature an alarm system that will send an emergency signal to the police (or a support network), GPS, a customizable video billboard and speakers, plus they're part of an integrated program that includes access to chatrooms, e-mail and an online calender. These are still in the beta phase and I'm not sure when/if they will make their way to the sore feet of the world's sex workers.

Also showing were dioramas by--and a short film about--the work of stop-motion animator Michael Sullivan, who turns industrial scraps and Barbie dolls into gigantic and witty robot bacchanals.

Here's an artist profile and making-of video:

The completed trailer (for the work-in-progress film) was pulled from Youtube. It's supposedly hosted by Wired here but it's just load spinning for me. I'd love to find a full version of the video if someone can point me to it. What I saw was incredible and looked like a rusty Bosch painting.

Possibly my favorite exhibit was a terminal that let you search through (at least) dozens of patents for sex apparatus--mostly of the discouraging variety--all with new CAD drawing. Who knew there were so many painful and embarrassing ways to prevent masturbation? I wish MoSex would host some of these on their website.

All in all it was a good time. I had a few complaints though. The first floor of exhibits are layed-out from right to left (which feels backwards). That, paired with the minuscule signage and numbering, led to a lot of crossed paths and blocked views. The "Sex and the Moving Image" exhibit was interestingly installed (with many of the films projected downward onto podiums on the floor) but the room was stifling and if you've paid attention to Something Weird's video releases (or grew up in NYC in the 70s) there's probably not much you haven't seen. The most interesting part of this exhibit was the side booths featuring interviews with film-makers, stars and audiences but these were difficult to get to and I gave up quickly.

Also--with their hushed reference, ancient artifacts and smart/well-put together people--I've always found museums sexy. But MoSex was just not doing it for me. Maybe it was all the tourists and the awkward giggling or the fact that (since Alice had a stomach flu and stayed home) I was kind a third wheel and felt like a pervert whenever I slipped-up next to another patron to admire a well-designed dildo....something was missing. Maybe they should spray pheromones.

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