Progress Update / by Hannah Harley

A large majority of my work revolves around contemporary perceptions of intimacy, and as I tried to gain a better understanding of the heterosexual male (something I worked on heavily in August), I began exploring pornographic magazines. These magazines and shared many themes and elements that have, over time, integrated themselves into intimate situations. I began doing significant research for my thesis paper and discovered that these themes, when not dissected and discussed, can lead to harmful situations for individuals. 

One of these themes was the wide spread consistency with which white people were presented in the magazines: exclusively with other white people. This struck me. I was buying variety pack porn magazines.. Shouldn't that have given me a wide range of skin tones, a representation of the audience and the population? 

In short, apparently not. I could get other races and skin tones if I searched for fetish magazines, a concept that I found highly disturbing. So I begun collaging the pornography in a way that highlighted this one dimensional gradient in the hopes of shedding light on an important media issue. 

I've included my artist statement below in the hopes of better presenting the work. For now, all I have are in progress shots, a million time lapses that I plan on compiling at the end of the project, and a plan for the installation. 

This work will be hung at the Mine Factory on April 23rd - May 3rd. Please join us for an opening reception from 6:00 - 9:00 on April 23rd! 

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Untitled (Pornography) analyzes the variety of skin tones in non-fetish pornographic magazines, which is representative of the mass media’s racial preferences. There is a significant correlation between this lack of diversity in media and the American individual’s racial preferences in romantic and sexual partners.

On OkCupid.com, an online dating service, race can be a filter used to eliminate potentially unwanted races from a user’s individualized dating pool. According to research published by OkCupid, this process has been unfavorable to women of color, specifically women of African descent. Shockingly, nearly 82% of “non-black male users” displayed a bias against black women.

These racial issues are prevalent in and spurred on by contemporary pornography’s portrayal of race. These panels reflect nearly 20 different pornographic magazines that have been destroyed and reconfigured to show the limited range of skin tones in pornographic media.