Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Prema Murthy, 1999
There is sometimes a fine line between pornography and art. With Bindigirl, Prema Murthy explores that line. With the site she creates a fictional character Bindigirl, who is an online cam girl. Through this character she explores the concepts of voyeurism versus participation, ownership of sexuality, and how we use the technology we develop. She says "bindi is meant to poke fun at how we have used these tools so far to achieve a so-called "higher existence" and "greater cultural understanding." She also uses the Bindi dot as censorship as commentary of how out religious icons have lost their meaning as we've "progressed."
"The idea of the bindi originated to symbolize the sacred third eye. It also came to signify women's marital status in India. But even now the idea of the bindi for Indian girls has become totally decorative. Back in the day it was made with red powder. Now they're made from disposable stickers you can stick on. So, even in India the meaning has been distorted. There's been another layer of distortion added through its co-opting by pop media and pop culture. Now the bindi has become this trendy fad but women in Queens who wear bindis still get harassed. There's this whole gang of people who call themselves "dot busters" and they harass these women and commit violent crimes against them. In Bindigirl, the round circles I placed over body parts was to play with this idea of what is the sacred and what can be bought. For example, in an art gallery, a red dot by a piece of art it means its been sold. "
I found this site interesting in that it is close enough to pornography to make one feel guilty when looking at it in class, like I might get in trouble, which is undoubtedly one of the buttons she is trying to push. There is also a great deal of humor in the site. If you select the "chat" option you get treated to a cybersex session that is anything but sexy!