Its where we post research, materials and ideas that will go into shaping the night.
Why a Dogging Cinema? When we started looking for free outdoor public spaces for the Bioskop we soon realised ours weren’t the only nocturnal gatherings. In fact on one of our first recces we got stopped by police who thought we were illegal rave organisers. And then we realised a lot of outdoor out of the way green spaces in our city had already long been claimed by cottagers and doggers. This got us thinking about dogging – how it could be seen as an outbreak of porn and its protocols spilling out from a million computer and tv screens into the real world and the British night.
If you have any ideas you want to share on the topic please put them in the comments, or you can write your own post if you send it to us at email@example.com.
- watching watching
- sexualised places
- it turned into work
- Yoshiyuki Kohei
- cultural modification
- because we must
- public toilet
- in the bushes
- open air
- The Origin of Porno
- first stirring…
These two images by Suzuki Harunobu are shunga – japanese erotic and pornographic wood block prints from the 18th, 19th and early 20th century. Shunga had a wide and popular audience, and depict a (very) wide selection of sexual practices.
This is from a 1920s tijuana bible : under-the-counter bootleg pornographic comics that often appropriated mainstream cartoon characters in their stories.
Fritzi Ritz was a popular flapper character from a long running strip in the New York Evening World newspaper.
You can see the whole of the (very rude) story by clicking on the image on the right…
A place or a site for a number of specifically sexual practises. In popular terms a cruising spot. Cruising means moving in a space of decidedly sexual activity, searching for sexual action(s). The cruising spot is often a public place, like parks, parking lots, highway stops, public baths, public toilets etc. The sexual specificity of the place implies a lot of social coding, though the sexual activity – more or less visible – can appear alongside other social activities performed in the given space. The sexualized space isn’t per se a queer space, but as actions are often taken by the dominant power structure to control and preferably eliminate the sexual activities, the place can become a battleground.
From Queer Geography blog
Shinjuku, the early ’70s…
Extract from an interview with Kohei Yoshiyuki by Nobuyoshi Araki from the September 1979 issue of Weekend Super
NA: As the genius of photography, I’d like to introduce Yoshiyuki Kohei to our readers. You created a huge sensation by taking voyeuristic photographs of people having sex, and of voyeurs – peepers – watching people having sex, with infrared film. A lot of people made a lot of noise about them, but my critique consisted of exactly one line: “These are what I call photographs” (laughter). After that we met and chatted now and then, but I haven’t seen you for quite a while. Recently I received an invitation to your solo show. I couldn’t go because I was busy, but I mentioned it to the editor of Weekend Super, and heard later that he went to see it. When I asked him about it, he said he liked the way the photographs were exhibited.
KY: I turned out all the lights in the space, and gave each visitor a flashlight. That way I was reconstructing the original settings. I also blew the photos up to life size.
NA: You recreated the original settings. Viewers went into a dark room with a flashlight and looked at the photographs? But that way, you can only see part of them.
KY: Yes, that’s how I wanted them to be viewed. I wanted people to look at the bodies in the photographs an inch at a time. I really enjoyed watching people looking at the photographs. Since the points of light were also their lines of sight, I saw things that were totally unexpected.
NA: I heard you didn’t issue many invitations. That was a bad idea. It’s a shame you didn’t make a really spectacular gesture.
KY: I’m a coward.
NA: Cowards don’t go around spying on people and photographing them having sex. What was your motivation?
KY: It had never occurred to me to take that kind of photograph. I knew about peeping, though, and then one day I stumbled onto a scene – an incredible scene (laughter). That was when I was still an amateur. At that time, there weren’t many skyscrapers in front of Chuo Park in Shinjuku. There was a model apartment in one of them. I was walking behind it with a friend (we had just finished a shoot), when we saw something amazing!
NA: “Something.” I like your choice of words.
KY: Yes! I was shocked. They were actually fucking.
NA: They were?
KY: Yes. When I saw them, I knew this was something I had to photograph.
NA: You didn’t right then?
KY: I had my camera, but it was dark. After that I did some research. I found out that Toshiba made flashbulbs – infrared flashbulbs. Before I had a chance to use more than a few of them, they were discontinued. Then I looked around for filters, and ended up using two tricolor separation filters. After a while I heard that Kodak had some flashbulbs, so I used them. At that time, infrared flash units didn’t exist. Sunpak came out with them after I took these photos.
NA: So they’re making them now?
KY: Yes. Anybody can take photographs like these.
NA: Wow! Guess I won’t be able to have sex in dark places anymore. Are the people you photograph totally unaware of what’s going on? I’ve never used equipment like that, so I have no idea.
KY: The light flashes – a red light. I’d better not say any more (laughter).
NA: Like the lights on a passing car, from the subjects’ point of view?
KY: That’s right. Anyway, they’re so engrossed in what they’re doing that even a lot of light shouldn’t faze them.
NA: Let’s have a look at the photos. Yeah, these are amazing! Because they’re really fucking. Look at him giving it to her! You need a lot of nerve to take photographs like these. Mine are so pseudo-documentaries, so everything is staged (laughter). These days it’s the women who are aggressive. At Shinjuku Gyoen, for instance, the women are on top.
KY: I saw that sometimes, too. But I can’t photograph that. If the guy’s on the bottom, he’ll notice the camera.
NA: Look at this one!
KY: This is the real thing, too. But the guy was hopeless. He couldn’t get it up. The ambience made him self-conscious, I guess. I was right near them, listening and thinking he’d get it together. But then he said, “It’s no good” (laughter).
NA: The wonderful thing about this photograph is that it shows the peeper. It’s a self-portrait. It shows your shadow. I really like that. It’s probably strange to talk about photography theory in a context like this, but this is what a photograph is supposed to be. Oh, look, the peeper is touching her. He’s assisting. Wasn’t it hard to shoot these photographs?
KY: Well, it’s harder to photograph the peepers. But at that time, nobody ever dreamed they’d be photographed. I had a tiny camera with a flash attachment. I think it would be almost impossible to do that now.
NA: But you could do it openly, couldn’t you? Just grab one shot with your flash, and then run.
KY: I guess so. Maybe that’s the way to do it.
NA: Maybe everybody will be doing it this summer, once word about the Sunpak flash-unit spreads.
KY: I heard the company got a lot of inquiries after my show.
NA: Uh, oh!
KY: Yeah. I won’t be able to do my work (laughter).
NA: You mean nobody has ever come after you when you took photos like this?
NA: Wow! Maybe you’re a Ninja.
KY: The guy who developed the Sunpak infrared strobe is a real lecher and a lot of fun.
NA: Really? He must have done a lot of fieldwork.
KY: Yes. I guess that’s where the idea came from.
NA: Lechers are the only hope for the twenty-first century. Only lechers come up with good ideas. Only lechers take good photos. So are you one, too?
KY: I think I’m completely ordinary, but I think there’s a little lecher in everyone.
NA: I guess it’s a matter of degree. I am fascinated by this topic. I like the way the legs are open here.
KY: I think she was a student – really cute. Others are much more outrageous. They get carried away.
NA: What do you mean?
KY: Once a couple walked over and laid a piece of cloth on the ground. I thought, “They’re going to do it,” and then they started fucking. The guy pulled his pants down to his knees. But most of them do it in the missionary position. Or standing up. They do it in the rain, after everyone else has left the park.
NA: That’s their chance!
KY: Right. There’s nobody around then.
NA: Why do they go to the park to fuck? Have they done it everywhere else already?
KY: I don’t think that’s why. Even if the girl isn’t thrilled about having sex there, the guy might say, “Let’s do it here.” Maybe they’ve been drinking nearby or something. But only couples who’ve had sex before fuck in a park. You can always spot them because they walk fast.
NA: Really? So you stand at the entrance watching. Then you see a couple walking fast, so you know you’ll get some shots?
KY: That’s definitely what I look for.
NA: I’m not a peeper, but I once tried to spot couples headed for love hotels [hotels that charge by the hour] at Shinjuku Station. My hunches were usually right. You can tell.
KY: I’ve never seen a couple who aren’t already having sex fuck in a park. Foreplay takes too long, and the peepers will gather around, and the opportunity is gone. They have to have had sex at least once. Even if the girl doesn’t feel like it, guys want to do it in the park. I’ve overheard their conversations.
NA: I’d like to observe sometime. We could organize a tour. Let’s do a grand tour, with you as the guide. Can you imagine a bunch of photographers filing into a park (laughter)?
KY: A photo session.
NA: So photographing them isn’t illegal?
KY: No, as long as you don’t say anything. If you keep quiet, take your photos and run, it’s okay.
NA: Really? It sounds almost criminal. You know, you could blackmail people with the photos.
KY: That’s true.
NA: So, let’s do this, all right? This summer, and make a big event of it. It’d be a shame to waste the opportunity.
KY: This summer, then!
NA: Yes, yes. Watch out, everybody. Yoshiyuki is coming (laughter).
“When I was a teenager masturbation was always and only a substitute for having sex with someone. Porn aims to make us forget this, to convince us that masturbation is sex. In the past withdrawing prior to ejaculation was an inefficient and entirely frustrating form of birth control. Now withdrawing and coming over the woman’s face – stemming from the pornographic obligation for everything to be on view – is the climactic part of the sex act. A few years back the Guardian columnist Marina Hyde observed that some young men do this – without so much as a by-your-leave – because they think that is how sex is supposed to end. Even the most basic biological urges, it turns out, are extraordinarily susceptible to cultural modification. The line between natural and unnatural behaviour is constantly changing.”
1989 film of the Michael Clarke Company by Charles Atlas. costumes by Leigh Bowery and Mr Pearl.
Mirror by Sylvia Plath
I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful ‚
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.
Syntagma by VALIE EXPORT
Here’s a scene from Stephen Frear’s 1987 biopic of Joe Orton – “Prick Up Your Ears” (say it five times in a row quickly). The film is based on Orton’s diaries – a high proportion of which deal with meeting strangers in public toilets for sex.
Technically this is cottage-ing (as is the in the bushes alfresco post below) not dogging, but although we’re interested in the visual element of dogging, the Bioskop has a broader more general interest in the drives that are still strong enough to get people out of the pub and out from their houses and away from their various entertainment technologies to associate and interact with strangers …
There’s always sex, and then there’s the celebratory impulse – raves and illegal parties and festivals (although the latter are rapidly having any joy and life commodified out of them) … and as I write this, political dissatisfaction and economic inequality around the world (and in the UK) … is bringing people out under fire-lit summer night skies…
images: bioskop + kiff
If I heard anyone say of me `fucking comes to her as easily ‘as breathing’, I would agree more than willingly because the expression could be taken literally. My first sexual experience, and many others since, took place in circumstances which could lead one to believe that oxygen has an aphrodisiac effect on me. My nudity feels more complete to me out in the open than in a closed room. When the surrounding temperature, whatever it may be, can be felt by an area of skin it doesn’t normally reach, such as the small of the back, the body no longer presents an obstacle to the air, it is penetrated by it and is, therefore, more open, more receptive. When the atmosphere which embraces the vastness of the world adheres to the surface of my skin like a myriad tiny suction pads, my vulva also feels as if it has been drawn out and dilates deliciously. If a gentle wind blows across its threshold, the feeling is amplified: the labia feel bigger than eves gorged with the air brushing past them. I will speak later, and in more detail, about erogenous zones, but I can say even now that even the gentlest attention to the oft ignored area which links the anal depression to the triangle where the labia meet – that under-rated rut between the arsehole and the beginning of the cunt – is guaranteed to subjugate me, and that feeling the air against that part of my body is more intoxicating than high altitude. I like opening up my buttocks and my legs to the flow of air.
Excerpt from Catherine Millet, Sexual Life of Catherine M, Serpent’s Tail, 2003
1878: the Muybridge equine series
Studying the horse, we understand
how hard-core followed the invention
of photography. There’s a dark compelling
muscle framed by the flanks. There’s
a question, an academic question, of at
which point in a leap the female breast
is highest? In the early stopwatched studies,
light sloped down the breasts like a scree.
There’s a question of time, there’s a sepia
exactitude. The powder erupts:
in the foreground—two lovers / a basket / red wine.
In the back, a clocked thoroughbred sudses.
Is there ever a moment when all four feet
leave the ground?
And so we invent pornography.
Extract from Albert Goldbarth,
‘The Origin of Porno’, Comings Back, Doubleday, 1976.
In car parks and country lanes the doggers of the UK create their own temporary autonomous zones where they’re free to enact a cinema without screens.
The watching/performance mechanism spills out from porn… into the air of summer evenings and sealed, lit cars.
In this mutual and illicit entertainment the actors and audience are always ready to disperse into the dark by car and foot if the authorities arrive to interrupt their activities.
The Bioskop applies the paradigm of dogging to their own ontological cinema… In an isolated car park they project from and onto vehicles for an audience who explore the multiple screens and discover live performances in other cars and in the undergrowth.