POV: Exploring Pornucopia — Berta Grau Sánchez

by Berta Grau Sánchez

Chemical and organic processes often result in a sensory experience that has a fascinating name (and a far cry from scientific semantics): desire. What is it? How does it work? What happens when it is exploited?

Pornography, as a prolific part of visual culture and a product of the attention economy, offers a fascinating case study for understanding how desire is constructed within the capitalist marketplace. It’s also a window into the modern ways information is produced, distributed, and consumed.

In POV – Exploring Pornucopia, and earlier in her Master’s thesis, Decoding the Pornosphere, Berta Grau Sánchez analyzes how mainstream audiovisual pornography uses information design to mediate explicit content, revealing the intricate connections between design, desire, and consumption in our digital age. POV: Exploring Pornucopia is a video essay narrating a visit to Pornhub. The visit mimics the path a regular user might take when entering the platform (from the desktop, private navigation, homepage, categories, etc) and analyses the most relevant strategies encountered along the way which illustrate the seriality of the genre. The “POV” referenced in the title is an appropriation of the genre’s vernacular, where “POV” is used to refer to videos recorded from the perspective of the male participating in the action. The project subverts this, by looking at it from Sánchez’s perspective (external, and female).

As Sánchez writes: “One of the most important findings of the thesis is that the serial strategies that porn compulsively reproduces – like the use of POV perspective, or the ubiquitous money shot–work like stencils or moulds; they are proven formulas that allow for content to be produced cheaply and quickly while relying on the affective potential of seriality – the interplay of repetition and variation – to arouse us. In this context, originality, diversity and overall quality are sacrificed in – exchange for increased volume of output. Adding to this, the process of platformisation the industry has undergone is transforming its production practices further, favoring the generic or sensational content that guarantees more clicks, to satisfy the logic of the algorithm.
In pornography this also means that the limited characters, categories and scenarios it relies on, which often partake in and reify a tradition of representation marked by racism sexism and heteronormativity, are compulsively reproduced to the point of becoming internalized by the audience as natural, becoming biases of our own”.


BIO

Berta Grau Sánchez is a multidisciplinary artist and designer born in Manresa, Barcelona, in 1997. She graduated from the University of Barcelona in 2020, where she completed a Bachelor in Fine Arts, with a strong focus on conceptual, research-based and visual work. She later moved to the Netherlands to study at Design Academy Eindhoven, graduating from a Masters in Information Design in June 2023. In October of that same year she founded the ceramics studio Atelier Burrata, where she designs fun and functional ceramic pieces with a funky twist.

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