The ‘sickest woman to ever grace the video art world’ talks porn, perversion, religion and darkness. Yippee!
Text: Kate Hodges / Photos: Peter Erichsen
You’ve described your mind as having ‘dark perversions’. Care to elaborate?
Well, I take pride in believing that I must be the sickest woman to ever grace the video art world. In my work I delve into perversions of my own mind, that other people must have but never cared, or were too scared to look at. A lot of things that would be considered taboo.
I think this is why so many people are so attracted to what I do. My second YouTube account had close to a million hits in a year, but it got shut down because even my tame stuff was too sexually explicit for the moderators.
I think people see my stuff as a reflection of themselves in a way they would never let anyone see. My own website, The Wild, Wild World of MissAsssnatch, which opened a few months ago probably wouldn’t be something that people would like to talk to even their best friend about.
How would you describe what you do for a living?
I’m an artist portraying secret desires, ecstasy, isolation and autoerotic situations. I’m equally inspired by art, fetishism, americana, rock ‘n’ roll, excessive literature, religious mysticism, pornography and thinkers like Georges Bataille, de Sade, Anton LaVey, Gilles Deleuze, Antonin Artaud, André Breton and Maurice Blanchaud.
Early on I came to terms with the thought that I´ll never be able to hold a regular job, so I simply have to make a living from my performance videos. The Wild Wild World of MissAsssnatch is the latest step in that direction.
The website is MY playground and I can present my work in the way it’s intended and interact with the people who take an interest in what I do on my own terms.
What’s your background?
I’m just your everyday California girl gone nuts… In fact I’m trying hard to keep my private life private. I don’t want my personal life and history to get in the way of the perception of MissAsssnatch. It’s all about freedom and allowing my work to stand alone. Leaving the story open.
One of the reasons I’m working with an alter-ego is that it allows me to delve into sexual, religious or philosophical subjects and taboos with a larger degree of freedom.
I don’t have an art school background, nor am I interested in most contemporary art, which bores the shit out of me. It seems that the present art scene is deprived of anything dangerous, exciting or thought-provoking.
The same goes for the fetish scene. Lame posers with tattoos and piercings in shiny clothes; it’s just modelling to me and I hate models!
It has all ended up being just another stereotype or fashion. It leaves me cold. I want things to affect me physically. Like a punch in the groin.
I’m my own screen writer, director, cameraman and leading star and it’s all about learning by doing at this point. I’m an extreme person and the idea of fitting in anywhere is an abomination to me. I have to do things my way.
I started making videos for YouTube and a clip store out of a combination of boredom and poverty. Then I found my lost second half in the shape of my husband, who’s a curator. He’s my biggest fan and critic and generally very inspiring to be around, but isolation and alienation still reflects in everything I do, I guess.
You’ve described your work as being ‘more epic’ than standard porn films and ‘spontaneous’. Can you tell us about how you’d like it to be different from standard grot flicks?
By ‘epic’ I mean that there’s always more to the scene than meets the eye. The spontaneity comes from the way I film myself; I get an idea in my head and set up the camera and do the video in one take. Very rarely do I ever edit the outcome or redo it. If something goes wrong during the shoot, I just document how I handle certain situations and keep going.
The videos I make can change atmosphere completely just my putting a suggestive title to it and adding appropriate music from my wide repertoire of taste, from 50s rockabilly, 60s psychedelic garage rock, obscure jazz from the 20s to industrial or classical music.
Sometimes I make a video with a particular song in mind, and sometimes I do my scene and later find a song that fits perfectly. I often amaze myself at how well a song can fit without any effort at all!
Adding these three elements together, spontaneity, title and music, the outcome is that it looks like the scene was plucked out of a movie. The kind of scene you would watch the entire movie to get to, the defining scene. My work is only the dark matter, with nothing leading up to it and no explanation. The videos are like fevered dreams from the dimly-lit corners of a deviant female mind. As for comparing my work with standard porn films, I can’t say that I try at all to make it different, it just is.
My work is an ongoing self-portrait and since I’m a very sexual person naturally my fetishes are explored in my videos. But even though the result may be XXX, it’s very far from being porn.
It’s like comparing a standard SM scene with the plot line of a film like The Secretary or The Right Side of My Brain by Richard Kern and Lydia Lunch. It’s much more personalized and goes so much deeper in portraying the obscurity and obscenity of human nature. There’s a poetic feel to it, like an old Soft Cell song. Porn is basically made for men to jerk off to. It’s all about being visual and it stays on the surface.
I respect adult film stars, but it’s simply not for me. What I do is about expressing myself and it’s in many ways the opposite of porn, because I only do what I do to fulfil my own needs and interests.
What turns me on in general is the psychological atmosphere of an erotic scene and when things are merely implied or left unsaid. I want my work to speak directly to the body – and sexual fetishes and perversions always do that. At this time the art world is more prudish than ever. I´m usually met with raised eyebrows and terrified silence, which is really funny because I really love throwing people off.
So I mix elements from the adult industry with traditional high art strategies. I’ve assimilated certain things from the sex industry, like setting up my own members only website, but that seems to be the perfect way to present my ongoing project, avoid the censorship I´ve been struggling with at YouTube, for instance, and stay in absolute control with the context my work is put in.
On the other hand my videos and still series are only available at my website and they are sold in signed and numbered editions.
I do like porn occasionally, especially the work of Belladonna and Sasha Grey. They´re both able to get their personalities across in what they do. But I´m really bored with looking at ugly, sweaty guys grunting while they go through the same motions we´ve all seen a million times.
Actually erotic novels like Bataille´s “Story of the Eye” or Reagé´s “O´s Story” are far more effective when it comes to jerk off material.
You speak at length about religion on your website, and say you ‘practice your own’. Can you tell us about your obsession with the subject?
Well, I’m very interested in this. There’s an element of something transpersonal in what I do. MissAsssnatch is a persona I inhabit while I work. It’s like performing a highly personal ritual. In a way it’s a mystical experience to me and I hope that this shines through and is part of the fascination.
I become a vehicle for this highly charged sexual energy and I’m taken over completely. It’s a balance between the set up and plot line I start out with and what happens in the situation that comes next.
I’ve been dancing for years and this is actually a lot like dancing. It takes a high level of technique to be able to improvise and what I do always carries this strong element of improvisation.
I’m trying to give people the experience of looking at something that is usually hidden, secretive or taboo, but none the less instantly recognizable and strangely familiar. I’m getting closer to myself by getting further and further away.
What’s been your favourite piece of work you’ve made so far?
That’s a really tough one, because there have been quite a few that are high on the list. I’d have to say “Stinky Q Tip” (2009) is one of my favourites. It’s probably the one that goes the most unnoticed, but it’s sentimental to me because I made it at a time when I was living in an apartment without a shower and I hadn’t bathed in a week.
My husband was going out and said “Hey, you should make some videos while I’m out!” And I said “Well what the hell kind of videos am I gonna make when I’m so goddamn dirty and feel disgusting??” And he says “Just make a video of you cleaning out your dirty pussy with a Q Tip” And I thought well, I’m gonna make him eat his words – to begin with, hahaha!
So I am cleaning my week-old dirty pussy with a Q Tip and smelling it to a rockabilly song with the lyrics “I don’t believe in Christmas”. I was laughing so hard putting this together! It’s so sick. Other favorites are “Drooling For Baby Jesus” (2008) and “Toilet Slut USA” (2009). Both turned out miraculously. What are your plans for the future? Apart from living a life that enables me to descend or ascend through MissAsssnatch, I’m constantly working on new material for the website. I recently married the dirtiest man on the planet and moved from California to Europe which is a completely different world.
Right now we are working on solo exhibitions in Copenhagen, Berlin and London. A book of photography accompanying some of my dirty stories is also in the making. Hopefully everything will fall into place in 2010. This year has been CRAZY!