On August 26, Detroit will host its first erotic film festival, Detroit Independent Video Erotica (DIVE), a one-night showcase of international short films and videos. I got the opportunity to talk with “the DIVE team” about porn, Detroit’s erotic art scene, and how affordable, user-friendly technology gives everyone the opportunity for creative sexual expression. Check it out:
Jane Fader: In Detroit, the most successful and beautifully organized art events–the Dirty Show and DAMNED especially–always seem to have sexual themes. Where do you locate the DIVE film festival in Detroit’s artistic landscape?
The DIVE Team: Even though the DIVE Festival is not based on the Dirty Show, the erotic poetry slam, the Noir Leather fashion shows, or any other event, those events do go to show that there is strong demand and participation in the field of erotic art in the Detroit area.
JF: DIVE’s call for art strongly emphasizes the difference between erotica and pornography, but doesn’t offer a definition of either outside of the exemplary. Could you elaborate on the difference between erotic and pornographic?
DIVE: As for the distinction between erotic and pornographic, it’s difficult to say. With mainstream cinema, there are some depictions of sexuality that are pretty explicit, as in films like Shortbus, Y Tu Mama Tambien, and Shame. However, that did not make those films pornographic. All we can say is that we’re not likely to be interested in videos of the kind one would see on YouPorn.com, the sex for its own sake without any sense of style, story, or artistry; the gangbangs; the misogynistic stuff.
JF: What kind of videos and films are you interested in?
DIVE: The goal of the DIVE Film Festival is to inspire people to make (or submit existing) creative erotic/sensual works on video. The criteria for submission is being left somewhat vague because we don’t want to limit people’s creativity. As I’m sure you know, the range of expression of sexuality is vast, in terms of the range of preferences, and in individual expression. We want to be accepting of all of it. The great news is that creating video works no longer depends on having professional-grade equipment. Most newer cell phones and point & shoot cameras have very good video quality, and editing and soundtracks can be done with software provided free on many home computers (like iMovie). These are easy tools for “amateurs” who want to create and contribute a piece. Ultimately, the finest image quality is less important than the overall concept and style. Beyond that, we’re hoping to draw in the artists, too–the people who have a unique vision that they can use to approach this subject matter. In talking with people in the art community, I’ve heard tales of some video work that sounds incredible, and hope that the creators of those works will submit them to the festival. While we expect that most videos will be live footage, there’s always the possibility some will be animated, claymation, stop-action or even a Ken Burns-style montage of still photos that use zooming and panning to create the dynamics. That would be fantastic! Works need not be literal, either. The depictions can be metaphorical or abstract. They can be as short as a television commercial or any length up to six minutes. We want the audience to leave the festival…over-stimulated…(pardon the bad pun).