The Project and its Goals
Journeys Into the Void is a research by practice project comprised of two parts: a collection of twenty-one pieces of short fiction and a critical exegesis. The pieces of short fiction comply with the conventions of the erotic fiction genre and, while care has been taken to produce creative writing of the highest standard, it is genre fiction, aimed at genre fiction readership, not at readers of literary or experimental fiction. The project also sets out to question whether it is possible to produce writings of eroticism, as Bataille defined it, in contemporary culture and within the erotica genre. The project sets out to examine the concept of eroticism: how it’s been defined historically, how it’s been represented in the past, and how it manifests itself contemporarily in the form of erotic fiction. If eroticism requires transgression, and transgression is dependent on crossing over lines of social normativity, then what does transgression look like today? Taken together, the creative and critical portions set out to propose reformulations of eroticism, interrupting the current practice of presenting erotic writings as commodities of unproblematic enjoyment, escapist, nostalgic artefacts or didactic ‘how to’ guides for shaping the erotic self. In this way, the project’s ultimate aim is to re-establish accessible erotic fiction as a site of cultural resistance.
Context of the Project
If we consider erotic fiction to be a genre of literature, and literature to be art, then Alva Noë argues that pornography can’t be art: “Pornography is an instrument with a certain function in mind. People use pornography to get sexual pleasure. Frankly it’s for masturbating to. That’s what it’s for. On my theory, works of art are not instruments. They don’t have functions. They’re not tools. Works of art subvert functions. They disrupt functions. They interrupt functions. And they do that because the disruption, interruption can be revelatory” (Noë).