[-empyre-] sex death love - on AGEING

Annie Abrahams bram.org at gmail.com
Fri Sep 27 21:18:58 AEST 2019

Dear all,

When McKenzie asked about ageing and Sandy answered I felt unease. I
thought my own experience not relevant for the context and so I didn't
react. Also I needed some distance to check my feelings and to see if this
wasn't an only personal issue. So I wrote Shu Lea and talked with friends.
Thanks Shu Lea for inviting me to try to express myself.

My reaction is not about “us” older people – we find our ways - it is for
the younger ones (as the 18 year old McKenzie) so they will have a more
diverse image of what might come. Sexuality in old age and ageing in
general are subjects that are not treated seriously. Ageing can be hard and
we should be openly talking about it in detail. Ageing is also beautiful,
yes, but not only ….
We all have our own stories, our own way of dealing, enjoying and mourning
about it.

After rereading Sandy's reaction to McKenzie I saw she was more subtile
than I first thought, so why was I angry? Probably because hers was the
only reaction to McKenzie's question and it was confirming “main stream”
ideas I see too often in popular media.
“Sex after 60 is still good - it's impossibility is a myth - there are
simple solutions for vaginal dryness and erection and ejaculation problems
- but you need to take care, to keep it going, to learn how to keep it up
….. “.
Why should I do that? Why?

For me it feels as if I would have to conform to an unwritten rule. Sex is
about penetration …..
Is it?
Not for me, at least not anymore. There is something “fake” about
suggesting it is. We need diversity in the discourse. There should be more
stories …
Life didn't go on as before and media shouldn't pretend it should / could.
It doesn't! And we shouldn't punish ourselves with “false” ideas.

For me life became easier - I am now 65. Getting older means going to the
important things, not being bothered anymore, but still, I am confronted
almost daily with thoughts and things not possible anymore. I doubt what is
normal and what not, I resist, I give way. I fear the loneliness coming - I
choose not to have children.
Sexuality for me is affection, tenderness and bodily sensations and that
can still be terrific (great and terrifying at the same time), but it is
completely different from the hormone influenced frenzy, athletic activity
it was before. So why call it still sex?

Something of what I feel might be visible in a 3 min video performance I
did with Martina Ruhsam in 2015. "*besides, Dear Body*" was a Turbulence
commission. You can see the archive https://vimeo.com/131117890. I wrote
about the performance afterwards:
“*It felt as if we created a continuum in difference and made a statement
that said „don’t worry, this is life“. I wanted it to be a gift. There was
a big shock when I looked at the recording of the performance, when I
looked at my naked body. I see this body every day in a mirror, but the
video image is not the same as a mirror image – there was no head, no
action going on, just the body to look at. It took time to overcome my
personal aversion to my own ageing body, to accept the breathing image, to
accept its reality, to let the video live as an independent object showing
ageing, a tender connexion, and a crack.*”

Ageing is related to "death" another "taboo" subject - too intimate to talk
about? In “*besides, moved by some thing.*” also a turbulence commissions
with Martina Ruhsam we talked about death and dying.
https://vimeo.com/131117872 (49 min)
"*When facing death or illness all the accumulated knowledge surrounding
these issues is displaced by experiences that can hardly be shared. Can
liminal experiences be communicated verbally?*"

After this we had several private online conversation sessions with 6 women
on the subject. Then we stopped ... technology was not easy for all,
connexion sometimes bad and life brought us elsewhere. For some time I have
been thinking about starting a "death café" in Montpellier (
https://deathcafe.com ) but ....
Unfinished, ongoing...

merci thanks dank

On Fri, Sep 27, 2019 at 7:46 AM Shu Lea Cheang <shulea at earthlink.net> wrote:

> dear empyre-ers
> The September month on -empyre-  doesnt seem to be ending, so many threads
> to follow up...
> Let me recall some moments -
> McKenzie Wark ever so inncocently – 11/09/2019 post
> *So Sandy: can you tell me a it about ageing? I just turned 58 and am
> already a middle aged woman...*
> Allucquere Rosanne Stone ever so cheerfully – 12/09/2019 post
> *I can only tell you about aging from a personal perspective.  So ok, I’m,
> what, 82, 83, something?  I write, code, make stuff, and raise hell, active
> in several professional fields, sex is terrific…if anything, it gets better
> with time.  This isn’t a tell-all, so I’ll leave it at that.  I don’t hike,
> climb, or snowboard as much as I did, but I’m beginning to think that’s
> psychological.  Anyway, if it’s words of encouragement you want, you can
> have all I’ve got, and I’ve got plenty.  I’m fully aware that my view is
> not a universal one, and I can’t speak for trans* folk who find aging
> hard.  But from this admittedly limited perspective, in this particular
> embodiment, I intend to keep on adventuring, theorizing, and making love
> with the throttle pushed up to 110% until my body simply explodes.  I
> invite you to join me.*
> Annie Abrahams asked to bring back  these topics - sex death love and
> ageing
> ·  *"**Annie Abrahams: The belief that, after menopause, sexual
> intercourse goes on as before is mistaken. At least it didn’t for me. This
> made me really angry for some time, as nobody had warned me! It felt very
> lonely. I think that the sexual life of post-menopausal women is still very
> much a taboo subject that people shun away from.*"
> http://digicult.it/digimag/issue-058/annie-abrahams-allergic-to-utopias/
> (2010)
> For these last few days of September as leaves yet to fall off  the
> branches, I like to introduce Annie Abrahams, also bring in Miha Colner,
> the curator who’s been preparing an exhibition *On Ageing at *MGLC –
> International Centre of Graphic Arts (Ljublijan, Slovania).
> Annie Abrahams is a Dutch artist living in France. She has a M2 in biology
> from the University of Utrecht and a MA2 from the Academy of Fine Arts of
> Arnhem. In her work she questions the possibilities and limits of
> communication, specifically investigating its modes under networked
> conditions. Using video and performance as well as the internet, she
> develops what she calls an aesthetics of attention and trust, in which
> human behaviour is the main material. She is known worldwide for her netart
> and is an internationally regarded pioneer of networked performance art and
> collective writing.
> Full cv bio (336 Ko) https://www.bram.org/info/aabrahams_cvbio_eng.pdf
> 2.3 Mo 20 pages with images - book
> https://www.bram.org/info/aabrahams_images.pdf
> Miha Colner(1978) is an art historian who works as a curator at MGLC -
> International Centre of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana. He is also active as a
> publicist, specialised in photography, printmaking, artists’ moving image
> and various forms of (new) media art. Since 2005 he has been a contributor
> of newspapers, magazines, specialist publications, and his personal blog,
> as well as part-time lecturer. He lives and works in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
> http://mihacolner.com
> Let's see how this run, maybe try to smoke Sandy out of cave and get warkk
> to bring in some techno beats!
> sl

*12/10 21H15* Théâtre du Hangar, Montpellier. Performance *XD,^_^,:3,:-D*,
Annie Abrahams, Pascale Barret, Alix Desaubliaux, Alice Lenay, Carin
Klonowski et Gwendoline Samidoust.
*10/10 14h30 CDN*. Table ronde.
*Entre virtuel et incarné, quelles innovations sociales et écologiques
? *7-12/10
festival Magdalena Montpellier

*Preconditions for Online Participation
for PAIC (2018)
*Learn together what it means to be connected*
my chapter in *Cyposium the Book* (2014) and
*Trapped to Reveal - On webcam mediated communication and Collaboration
(2012) published in JAR #2
now all three on academia.

<https://soundcloud.com/annie-abrahams/constallationsouverture> for Radio
Play #7
Mixage: Annie Abrahams.
Voices: Annie Abrahams, Alix Desaubliaux, Pascale Barret.
Laughs: Alice Lenay, Gwendoline Samidoust, Alix Desaubliaux, Annie Abrahams
and Carin Klonowski.
Music: "Ouverture 14" by Jan de Weille.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au/pipermail/empyre/attachments/20190927/e6a52869/attachment.html>

More information about the empyre mailing list