The Sexy Flowers came into existence in the year 2001. Somebody showed me a paper sculpture that he had made out of somebody else's pornographic writing. I borrowed his concept of the 'sexy flower' to make an installation piece that allows people to cut up and transform images from the world wide web into flowers. I envisioned building a 'geek-space,' a secluded area where people enter and comfortably watch Internet porn images. Rather than getting turned on or turned off by these images, people are encouraged to print out an image, turn it into a flower and add it to the growing collection.
I conceived of the character Libidot, an office-lady (OL) who gets a visit from Hybris who tells her she has no choice but to leave her office and go on a voyage around the world Libidot packs her suitcase and starts her journey on a shoestring budget, traveling from east to west, visiting several places and people who help her along the way. Libidot is moving around like never before and immersing herself in a mother-engine of travel and flowers. She envisions streams of porn images turning into sexy flowers. She does not know yet that her installation will run into conflict, meeting opposition in Melbourne, Black Magic in Belgium. Eventually, she comes home again to her abandoned office space and accepts that she has to take a leap into a matrix of fearless beauty. When she removes her wig to start cleaning her office space, a stream of blue ink starts streaming from her mouth.
The central idea is that the viewer selects a porn image from a database, prints out the image out on a nearby printer, cuts it up in pieces and folds the pieces into a flower. This is a simple gesture of creativity, humor and empathy with the many strands of society that have led to sex work, pornography, and digital networks.
In any case I did not realize that people would be so emotionally stirred by the flowers, and that the flowers would generate frenzied debates in the media and personal turns of events. I recently read in Jean Genet's A Thief's journal that a drag queen in Barcelona once held a nocturnal protest against the police by walking the streets and holding a paper flower in front of her genital. I want to remember this image as I think about arranging an orderly 'Tapis des Fleurs' in a public square in Belgium.The Sexy Flowers were exhibited at the Moores Building (Fremantle, WA, June 2001) at Experimenta's Waste exhibition (Melbourne, November 2001); in Boston's Oni Gallery (June 2002); and the Porn Ar(t)ound theWorld Festival in (Mechelen, Belgium, November 2002)
The Libidot web-site and installation piece were funded by Emerson College FAFG grants and the Institute of Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies. I would like to thank many friends who helped me make thousands of flowers. Thanks to curators Michelle Siciliano, Lisa Logan (Experimenta), Lydia Eccles (Oni Gallery) and Dirk Vertockt (KC nOna) for commissioning the piece.Video-clips were shot by Kailee Roberts and show the audience making flowers at the Moores Buildings in Fremantle, June 2001.