Pleasured Spaces: A Collaboration by Barbara De Genevieve,
Paula Levine, & Lauren Weinger

by Gabrielle Walters

Pleasure realized like driving a car while thinking about the taste of skin the night before; or sitting on a bus while thinking about having touched pubic hair, and the sound the touch evoked, the sound of touch.

from Pleasured Spaces

Barbara De Genevieve, Paula Levine & Lauren Weinger, Pleasured Spaces, Website.

The feeling or experience of pleasure is unique for each individual yet there are common threads that run through our Western, twenty-first century culture. One of these threads is the marginalization of pleasure, especially for certain groups. Pleasured Spaces a collaborative website piece created by Barbara De Genevieve, Paula Levine, and Lauren Weinger investigates the concept of pleasure in our society. It is investigated in terms of how we experience pleasure and the restrictions we place on pleasure.

As the piece opens we read a statement describing what the work is about. As we move through the work we first see an image of a gallery space. Through audio and text we are told that three forty-year-old women experienced this space for one hour. We are told that they took off their clothes and touched every part of the room with every part of their bodies. The audio track is disjointed and we hear fragments of words as the text rolls across the screen, They moved to the wall, they felt the wall... Their thighs, their arms,their buttocks...

From this we go to a screen that contains a poem entitled Pleasure Realized that talks about the memory of pleasure in everyday life. A small video plays in the center of the screen.

It is the image of someone (seems female) rubbing their fingers through a furry surface. It is incredibly sexual and sensual as the fur is separated and rubbed forming a vaginal opening. The image splits apart each time the vagina opens and is repeated again and again. The audio still plays fragments of the description of the women in the gallery. Icons run along the bottom of the screen to choose from. We can hear just the audio, see just the room, or we can participate in and read email messages about individual peoples pleasures.

This piece brings about an awakening of desire for pleasure in a particularly sexual way. We gaze at the cold empty gallery space as the image of three naked women rolling and rubbing their bodies around the room is evoked through a provocative audio that repeats key phrases. It becomes mesmerizing and we are lost in the experience.

The particular pleasure of women is very much brought out here. There is a powerful vicarious sexuality in watching the hands stroke the vaginal fur. The fact that they used women in their forties implicates an area where pleasure is marginalized for certain groups. Aging women are not sexual. Pleasure is for the young.

This idea is expressed well in the piece as we experience it more and more through repetition. Finally, we are asked, Whats your pleasure? We are invited to participate in this dialogue about pleasure as we read many other peoples thoughts on this subject. It is incredibly intimate. The strength of the work is the provocative quality of the audio-visual experience. It draws and keeps you in as a vicarious experience. The interactive quality makes it accessible and creates an arena for us to directly relate to the issue. The fact that it is on the web makes it available to a wide variety of people. It gives a universality (as much as that is possible) to the idea of pleasure, enhancing the concept that pleasure is experienced by all of us in different or similiar ways. Further it creates a forum
where pleaure is no longer a footnote to daily life but an integral part of it."

Pleasured Spaces may be experienced

Gabrielle Walters is a painter living in Chico, California. She sometimes
integrates technological media into her work. Her content includes the
exploration of sexuality and vitality of women past 40.

CyberIsms: Voice, Identity & Communication in the Virtual Realm