Going Underground | Art of committing sin
It was the cheap flashing lights in the windows that made me think of it. On both sides of the Central Station end of Istedgade, the street is laced with porn shops and titty bars, and the displays in the windows leave nothing to the imagination: legs spread wide, pumped tits, rock-hard cocks, whips, humongous dildos and so on. The most intimate secrets of the human body totally exposed, but yet still the shop owners have had the urge to install those cheap plastic-tube lights that flash mechanically in the colours of the rainbow – why? Is porn really that uninteresting?
When I was a young boy growing up in the countryside, porn was definitely not uninteresting, but not because of the small naked ‘paper-people’ in themselves. The pictures quickly became purely … instrumental, and I’m sure I would have lost interest rather fast, if only it hadn’t been so damn ‘illegal’. The fact that no-one (except for a few select partners in crime, of course) could know, infused the rather silly occupation with tremendous significance. It was a secret, my secret. Without the persistent taboo, my porn collection would have easily slipped into the same shroud of indifference as the anatomy book at the far end of the school library did. You could look at the naked vaginas and penises in the anatomy book as much as you could stomach, but the cocks and pussies in the porn magazines had no place in the public education system; they were filth: sweet, forbidden filth – and thus stayed interesting.
If you want to experience just a hint of what I’m talking about, take a walk down the gritty end of Istedgade. Feel how your attention automatically gets sucked towards the display windows, and feel at the same time how reluctant your head is to turning, and your body to stopping. Don’t look! Keep walking straight! Just peek from the corner of your eyes, otherwise you will break the spell. If you stop and stare, the suspense is over, and with a stroke of supposed bravery, you will have reduced the erotic experiment to a pornographic display, and you will quickly see why the hardened shop owners thought it necessary to add colorful lights to the flesh fest in the windows. Porn needs taboo to be interesting.
When I shared my ‘pornographic thoughts’ with photographer Christian Bust, he told me that he knew a guy I had to talk to: Jon Nordstrøm, the man who might have figured out a way to get porn into the public libraries.
Release party for
Danish Porn – 100 years of ‘sin’ – This month Jon Nordstrøm is releasing a coffee table book entitled Danish Porn – 100 years of ‘sin’ – a very (!) illustrated history book about the development of pornography in Denmark over the last 100 years. Danish Porn is a good example of a book that plays on the boundaries of various taboos: it’s a history book that you can’t really place in the library, and a porno mag you can’t really be embarrassed about: it’s educational and arousing, it’s tragic and humouristic. Being in between all these different categories, Danish Porn offers a perfect opportunity to practice the fine art of everyday eroticism: buy it, keep it next to the glossy magazines in your living room and keep a straight face when your father-in-law picks it up and turns red – hey, it’s a history book, but just a damn nice one!
Kph Volume, Enghavevej 80, 2450 Cph S; April 19, 16:30-19:00; free adm; book price: 469kr
Lust Festival – An intimate festival in the name of eroticism. The festival aims to be sexy and still maintain erotic suspense.
Politikens hus, Rådhuspladsen 37, 1785 Cph V; starts April 19, ends April 21, open 20:00-02:00; tickets: one-day 295kr three-day 666kr; www.lustfestival.dk