Ana get your Coates

Marcus Coates: Unconscious reasoning, Meaning

Dear Ana,

Just watching some Marcus Coates videos online. It is really interesting. It makes me think about practice in a way I want to be thinking about it when I start studying. It’s shrugging off the politic of art-making, getting back to the feeling and sensation of art-making.

I could see a direct relationship to an idea of spirit-making that’s a key role in sexual fantasy. Making yourself a sexual being, and not necessarily the being you physically seem to be. In fact, an internalised fantasy, very much your own thing in relation to inherent archetypes. You take yourself to a place that has a mind and body rule system, but they are loose rules, broad, colourful patterns of rules like nature has rules, rather than the social rules of optimisation and redundancy. It strikes me that when people complain about a lack of fulfilment in their sex-life it’s because of rule expectation (which are these operable rules of social ideology; courtship, bedroom etiquette, gender, romance, monogamy, one-night stands), rather than the sensation of these felt rules of fantasy and imagination, rules implied by the sensation of being in the world, rather than the recognition of your corporeal self in the world.

I also liked watching him work as a narrative of itself. His constructions are addictive, the clumsy, stripped-down, community-health-workshop aesthetic. It made me think about my video, and how it needed to relate to its own narrative. I saw an opportunity to think about the purpose of imagination in the context of pornography. Putting my video on Youporn should subvert the idea of the auto-stimulant. My complaint about pornography is that it has ceased to be an aid to imagination, a development of your own body-possible (e.g. imagine that was my body being used by those men, or watched by others, or taking charge of that room, being that maid, king, farmer, teacher), and has achieved its own fantasy instead, one that negates ours, the ability to bypass imagination and commodify abuse at a subconscious level. I think it may be the removal of ambition. Pornography developed through and with ambitions. Whether these were the ambitions of a starlet ‘blowing’ her way to the top, or some jock looking to screw every beautiful woman he met, or the translation of a personal fantasy to video, or the desire to expose oneself; the technology has somehow voided its ugly ambition and developed a simple game of instinct response that you would give a rat in a lab.

I think what’s interesting (and missing) from Coates’ work is the potential for manipulation. He talks of this spirit development like it’s a power that has been put at the back of the cupboard and left to go dusty, or an undernourished and ignored part of contemporary living. In actual fact, for many years it has been hijacked and successfully manipulated by late-Capitalists and a media-authority (mediocracy – my new favourite word). If I have one political sticker on my lapel, it is that artists must somehow resist this appropriation. It means bad art. Bad art means bad sex. Bad sex means bad people. Bad people is bad.