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Kickstarter Play with an Asexual Character
mirielenfield wrote in asexuality
I found this while poking around Google's blog search. I've never heard of the playwright before, I have no idea if the play is any good, and I've got no clue if the treatment of asexuality will be any good. Nonetheless, I thought many of you would be interested in taking a look at this. Presented for your perusal:

"During that spiritual ninety minutes, the wheels began turning on this little play about an unlikely relationship which develops between an asexual tattooist and his client. I've been interested for some time in exploring asexuality in my work and the challenges asexuals face living in a sexual world. And it seemed the art, the act of tattooing – let’s be honest, tattoos are hot – is intimate and erotic, and an odd vocation for a man without sexual desire.

So here I am, joining a growing movement: playwrights producing their own work and not waiting for artistic directors or theatre companies to call. But I can't do this alone. BAREBACK INK opens in Washington, DC on July 13 for sixteen performances at the Capital Fringe Festival – and our opening at Edinburgh Fringe is up to you and my first Kickstarter project which, if successful, will take me and my cast of two, local actors DC Cathro and D. Grant Cloyd, to the UK in August."

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Interesting thought. Though it always irritates me when anyone suggests that passion or aesthetic attraction or beauty "belongs" to sexuality and thus is some kind of contradiction in terms for asexual people to appreciate or possess. I've been told explicitly at least a dozen times that artistic drive and creativity "come from" sexuality "in its root sense," and it's mind-numbing to me to imagine that people truly believe sexuality is necessary for life's vital juice.

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I'm still grumpy - 2 decades later - about the high school English teacher who told us that Huckleberry Finn and Moby Dick were the only two books in American Literature that weren't about sex. I swore then and there to read Moby Dick, and I did start a borrowed copy a few years ago and mean to finish someday. What I really wanted to do was find other examples and shove them at her, but I suspected if I did that, she'd find a way to make them about sex and I wouldn't have been able to convince her otherwise. I'd blame it on being 1992, but. . .

Well ... it's kind of like when people think of sex and gender as one thing because they've never seen those things separate. The urge to create, to make something grand, is nearly universal. Procreation and artistic creativity are two subsets of that. But people tend to see the world as they are; and for many folks, their artistic creativity is all tied up with their sexual passion. It's okay for them to express that. What's not okay is if they insist that's the ONLY way it ever happens and deny other people's equally valid experiences. That's just stupid. Ignorance can be fixed by broadening one's awareness; stupidity, not so much.

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My thought too. Given the sometimes intimate nature of tattooing I would have thought that it is one of the most fitting vocations for an asexual.

My thought it that he's coming from a Freudian and Lacanian interpretation which links tattooing to both penetration and the territorial "marking" that can both be a strong driving force in many sexuals sexuality.

That said, I suspect Derrida and Foucault would both argue that becoming a tattoo artist may be a way to satisfy those primal urges without having to use sexuality to do so, which, in that case would make it perfect for some asexuals.

It's an interesting concept to explore, given that there is a potential sense of physical intimacy involved in giving or getting a tattoo, but with the general understanding that the intimacy will not be expressed directly sexually.

So, you'd end up with an argument that tattoo artists can be frustrated sexuals who are using their craft to achieve territorialism and penetration with a larger number of people then they would be able to sexually and/or asexuals who are satisfying drives that are related to sexuality for other people but not for them.

Like any debate that is going to get into arguments of Freud and Lacan Vs. the post-modernists you end up with sort of circle and the opinion you end up with won't be correct for everyone - because human variety is immense, but it might be an interesting concept to play with intellectually.

What would be even more interesting would be to look at feminist psychology theorists and post modernists and see what they have to say about the subject - since female tattoo artists could arguably be trying to mark as much territory as possible, but might not have the same drive for penetration as male tattoo artists do - but, honestly, I've never read a feminist psychological deconstruction of tattoos or see any of the female post modernist discuss it. (This doesn't mean they haven't. Just means I wasn't assigned those essays in school!)

Edited at 2012-06-21 12:54 pm (UTC)

Er... but how can it satisfy an urge to mark a territory when the artist neither gets to choose the design, nor gets to sign their work? This isn't like grafitti-tagging buildings; nobody will be able to tell who the artist was just by looking at the person wearing the tattoo. And that person most likely thinks of the artist like a craftsperson, hired to give the customer's creative vision form, not to use the customer as a canvas for their own artistic ideas.

And the penetration thing... Seriously? I could see it satisfying a sadistic/dominant urge to cause pain and have others under one's control for a while, but can the minute depth of the needle really do anything for a penetrative urge? (If there really is such a thing. I'm a woman, so I wouldn't know.)

Well, that's why it's a weird circular argument (and why tattoos are discussed in Queer Theory quite a bit - or were back in 1989 when I was in college.)

Penetrative urge has been debated by psychologists over and over again and everyone has their own opinion. It's certainly true that little boys like to hammer nails through things, but some little girls do too...

The territorial marking thing makes perfect sense to me. Whether you designed it or not you get to put something permanent on someone that will be with them the rest of their lives. That's about as territorial as you can get - and some tattoo artists do sign their work and many have identifiable styles so that any other artist who sees the work will know it was them. So, I'm going to agree with Lacan and Freud on territorial marking and say "I don't know about the penetration thing, but can see where the argument is coming from."

Anyway, I just meant to say I can sort of see what these playwrites are going for and I do like their play on words with bare back and kink

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Seriously. Ridiculous.

Thank you for sharing! I'm delighted to see more folks talking about crowdfunding in more venues, and especially, using it to expand representations of things that the mainstream media ignores. I'm boosting the signal over in crowdfunding and I encourage you to talk about the project there too.

I really like the core relationship in the play, between an asexual tattoo artist and a client. That's not a story I've read dozens of times before; I've seen very little that's close to even a part of it. That doesn't guarantee it will be any good, but I'm delighted to see someone writing something fresh instead of Yet Another McRomance.

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