Vinyl Fantasy

published in Gloss No.4, Melbourne, 2002

Polyasexuality is a base state of what is otherwise conceived of as 'sexuality'. It describes the credo shared by dogs, slugs, abandoned childen, serial itinerants and advanced seniles: fuck anything that moves, and if doesn't move, fuck it anyway. In the face of such totalizing action, the complete leatherbound library of psychoanalysis is virtually destroyed. Nothing with which to identify; nothing by which to signify. Anything can be a trigger; anything can be a stimulant.

Despite polyasexuality's spectre of a rampant planet of unmotivated and unmitigated sex, it is in the interest of breeding to keep everyone in a state of endless salivation - moist, lubractive, engorged - so that anyone is ready to breed at a moment's notice. Most psychoanalytical discourses on sex bemoan the other side of this flooded pool, focussing on social and cultural 'outcomes' and 'effects'. These discourses conjure forth an equally endless wail which wraps around repression, control, taboo, abuse, etc. in a fey attempt to promote humankind above and beyond its numbing plane of triggers and stimulants.

Polyasexuality renders real whatever turns you on. For anything can and everything will. In opposition to the notion that one's identity is somehow co-divined by one's sexuality, polyasexuality embraces the condition of sexual identity being as fundamentally meaningless as the occurrence of chromosonic splits in your DNA.

Porn, of course, is not about sexuality, but about polyasexuality. The image of porn is an inversion of representation, for it does not 'stand in' for anything real. Instead, the porn image works as a portal into which one stands. It's not that the body in porn is your body, but that you are that body. Like a slug, you merge with 'your porn body' because porn resonates with your polyasexual potential.

Following this proposition through to its most uncomfortable conclusion, one is faced with having to accept the dissolution of all that is deemed 'pornographic' in difference to all that is deemed 'erotic'. The separation of the two reflects nothing more than mere cultural mores and taste. Conversely, there is nothing radical in any sexual practice held as being subversive. To claim anything for either side is to subscribe to a phantom binary which is unfelt in the penumbra of polyasexuality. Codes of representation based around binaries of porn/eros are therefore useless. However, the mechanics of mirage-making known as 'the cinema' becomes extremely useful as a reservoir from which springs an uncontrolled stream of polyasexual triggers and stimulants.

A frighteningly effective example of this is the porn subgenre of bukkake. Essentially the amassed ejaculation over a single face and body, bukkake's hyper explosion of what is otherwise the solitary event of the cum-shot makes it the heavy metal of hetero porn. Bukkake is but one of many streams which achieve the heightened state of bodily abstraction, psychological multi-tasking and procedural fetishization which drive porn's imagination and narration. Its excessiveness is its raison d'etre, and as such focusses it sharply on its polyasexuality. The 'star' of both hetero and gay bukkake narratives is the body cum-upon which in turn symbolizes the extremes to which one can be fucked by anything.

Bukkake can anthropologically be perceived as an ancient Asiatic ritualistic schism which has transferred itself into modern social practice, but such an operation of explication offers slight orientation toward its characteristic impulse. Sex - The Annabelle Chong Story grants a non-porn audience a glimpse of the industry which now thrives on Olympian fuck fests, Herculian donganzas and Amazonian mammary explosions. But Sex rides a Orpah-esque hysteria of self-revelation which attempts to compete with the bodily feats of Annabelle Chong's corpus. The point is that porn has throughout the 90s become a spectacular arena where sexuality and polyasexuality compete in a gory gladitorial arena of bodily action.

If this is what porn has become, then cinema cannot be unaffected. Final Fantasy is the best example of this porn-afflicted cinema. Final Fantasy realizes the submerged pornographic impulse of Hollywood's fetishization of the human form by creating a visual narrative realm inhabited not by humans but by sex dolls. All the characters smell like vinyl, move like automatic pole dancers, and sound like phone sex. The strangeness of the film is neither its failed nor successful 'revolution in digital image making', but the base tactility of its mock flesh and flock hair. Like coming home and finding your mother wrapped in cling-wrap and your father wearing pancake, the skin of the recognizable suddenly becomes an epidermal dimension of otherness. Who these people are instantly becomes meaningless, because they absolutely are who they are not.

Final Fantasy's distinctive aura comes from its sex-doll momentum and its mannequinned surface. Its astounding budget, its desperate Americanization, its mythological obviousness, its gameplay origins, its Japanese cunning are all coindicental indices of its appearance as a pseudo-cinematic form. Neither cinema nor 'acinema' - nor the effect of virtuality (which would be like bukkake with no cum) - Final Fantasy is birthed in a realm free of those binaries. If cinema is predicated upon one's identification with character (which it isn't), Final Fantasy is mobilized by one's polyasexual attraction to the film's mock veneer. As animation, it realizes the prime motive of polyasexuality: it moves, so fuck it.

Philip Brophy: 20 minutes, Qantas Terminal, Gate 3, Sydney October 20th 2002

Text © Philip Brophy. Images © Square Inc / Sony Pictures.