Arts & Entertainment
3 min

Media voyeurs

Flirting with sexual expression at SAVY

Like greedy pigs jockeying cheek by jowlat an empty trough in anticipation of a meal to come, the media squash around a doorway of a Main St industrial space.Their cameras, microphones and pens are poised to capture anything newsworthy or anything they might be able to twist into something people might watch or listen to. Sex is always a safe bet.

Two people, he unremarkable, she in a black vinyl bustier, miniskirt and high black boots round the corner into view half a block away. The journalists know a target when they see one coming. The gawkers part for the couple as they move toward the doorway.

As she bends over to sign a registration form on a low table, her skirt rises to reveal two Rubenesque butt-cheeks cleaved by a strip of black vinyl. Cameras whir and the media have their leading shots for reports on the 11 o?clock news.

When she moves deeper into the building, the photo-op passed, cameramen blush and titter to each other.

The Sex Party, led by artist and sex activist John Ince, had official party status in the provincial election on May 17. It wants to promote sexual liberation by, among other things, repealing sexual morality laws, adding sex-positive curriculum to schools and combating censorship of sexuality and sexual diversity in the media.

It takes money to run a political campaign, so the Sex Party?s running a fundraiser this night.

It?s called Sex Art Vote Yes?SAVY for short. That?s what brings this bootylicious backside in front of all these cameras.

Somehow you can?t imagine the media jostling for position to cover a fundraiser for the Work Less Party.

SAVY is billed as an evening of sex, art and politics at which ?three of Vancouver?s hottest couples will make love right before your very eyes.?

The live sex is what attracts the cameras. The media swine will be allowed in at the beginning, but will be kicked out before the event gets under way.

Inside, the lights are low. Tattered couches and cushions are arranged in the middle of the room around tired oriental rugs.

There is a large screen on one wall with a dynamic computer-generated erotic montage projected on it. On the opposite wall hang several sensuous original paintings.

In another corner of the room, a beautiful young woman reclines naked on a couch while a man photographs her. We?re all invited to watch.

Around the periphery of the room are various activity stations.

One of them is the Eye Voyeur Agapornis many people have come to see. It?s a video installation that constitutes the ?sex in front of your very eyes? part of the evening.

In the wall over a small wooden step stool is a small window through which to peek.

On the other side, a pair of caged lovebirds hangs from a hook. On a mattress a man and woman are making out.

When it?s my turn to peek, he?s kneeling over her as she lies on her back. His hand is buried between her legs. Her face is tilted away, but I can see as she licks playfully at the tip of his cock.

The man is handsome with a nice body, but he has a vaguely disturbing tattoo of a bare-breasted woman that runs all the way from the nape of his neck to the small of his back. It looks like the cover of a science fiction fantasy novel or maybe airbrushed artwork from the tank of a custom motorcycle.

As people peek one at a time though the opening, video cameras broadcast images of their eyes into the main room. On another monitor is an image of the lovebirds, on another, footage of the media frenzy from an earlier Sex Party press conference.

?It?s about looking, sexuality, love and media as voyeur,? says video artist Marcus Bowcott who put the video installation piece together. ?It?s about self-reflection.?

There is a sexual repression at SAVY that you don?t find in queerer places. There?s also a kind of innocence. It feels like the participants are flirting with free sexual expression more than they are actually engaging in it.

When Ince takes to the microphone to ask everyone to gather on the carpets in the middle of the room for a sexual get-to-know-you game, most people retreat to the shadows.

When he announces that there is a new couple in the live-sex peep show, there?s a rush to line up for a peek.

The Sex Party has a long way to go in its quest for sexual liberation, but it?s made an interesting start.