WHAT DO WE SEE OF EACH OTHER?
Being our fantasies. Somewhere between. Like an interception on a sports field. Or an imaginary friend living on the sill of our ear hole. We need each other to keep our passwords poetic and our story telling secret: validation. Pleased to meet you, in the place where we draw lines in the dirt to designate our teams and choose our outcomes. This place where our realities become our fantasies become our realities become our fantasies. Infinite. Now play with me.
The following is a scripted dialogue/ disjointed conversation/ interview/ performative exchange/ a continuation of fulfilling a fantasy between laub and Kim Ye as part of the Shared Value exhibition at Visitor Welcome Center.
Laub: I tried watching your videos at Kimye.com, but most of them require a password. I was wondering if i could have the passwords?
Kim: Oh, yes. Thank you for asking. I like passwords because I like to know who is watching. Or to put it differently I facilitate consent. When I came out to my mom over skype as a dominatrix I had my therapist sit with me. I think it helped us both to have an outside person there with us. I said, “Mom, I run a dungeon.” And she said, “I don’t know what that word means.” And I said, “It’s like a sexy hotel where people come and explore their sexuality, and sometimes people want to be hurt or humiliated or peed on and I help them with that.” And she said, “Are you safe?” And I said, “Yes, mom. I’m safe.”
laub: The first time i did a coffee enema i called my dad. We had the best conversation we’ve had in a while. i kneeled on the floor with my ass in the air and squeezed coffee into my asshole with a blue bulb syringe. Did one squirt for a quick cleanse (to get all the nasty immediate shit out), then did two bulbs full of coffee shooting into my intestinal tunnel. I laid on the bathroom floor for about thirty minutes, holding in/ breathing out through the coffee, allowing my gut fairies to feast on the magic. I masturbated too, pulled on my penis while my asshole was clenched real tight so as to not spray coffee on the walls. Then i sat on the toilet and shit coffee while talking to my dad on the telephone. I told him that i couldn’t come visit because i didn’t really feel that there was love in our family dynamic.
Kim: The first time I fisted someone I talked to my dominatrix trainer on the phone right before. She said, “Use Crisco! And go real slow. Work the fingers in one at a time, and push- try to get in past the knuckle.”
laub: Sometimes i’ll incognito a perverted gay Tumblr and watch boys fuck each other’s asses or shit on each other’s faces and mouths. Or sometimes they’ll shit in diapers. I used to shit in my underwear. One time my babysitter had to wash me in the bathtub at her house while the other kids played outside because i had tried to hold my shit in until i got home. i didn’t make it.
Kim: Fetishes often sprout out of uncomfortable feelings experienced when in circumstances that can’t be controlled. One way to gain power over an uncomfortable, uncontrollable situation is to turn around the feeling in one’s mind so it stops being scary and shameful and it starts being erotic and exciting. It’s a sign of a really good coping mechanism. Fetishes can also be sexual identities, people who get off on shitting in their pants because it’s how they ended up- not chosen- it’s just what gets them off. It’s not weird. I want to tell people to not be so self-conscious. We are all doing disturbing things! Let’s do them together!
laub: So far my sex life has been a part of being in love. A defining place of a relationship, where “in love” means i am having sex with this one particular person.
Kim: For me sex is much friendlier, like Bonobos. The Bonobos are a matriarchal primate species and they fuck all the time. Chimps and Gorillas usually have an alpha male who hoards women. The betas try and get love when they can, and the women are scared of the alpha, but they fuck him because he protects them. It seems like fear based patriarchal bullshit. But the Bonobos love everyone, and fuck each other to sooth social tensions, to work out problems, and to comfort each other. The importance of sex becomes more communal and less individual.
laub: Today i learned about unlearning while listening to Another Round with Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton and guest Durga Chew-Bose. When i fantasize about doing sex work, i see it as an unlearning process of programmed body limitations and social boundaries. Like how i spent most of my twenties split between trying to be a good Christian girl and a perverted closeted queer kid. For a while I was convinced I was supposed to be celibate because i was so horny all the time. Satan was tempting, and the best i could do was join a commune on a hill where i’d grow old hiding behind peace, dressed in knitted stockings and a bonnet. Instead i made a decision to run away and became a fairy prince with aspirations of being a fuck boy.
Kim: I once stumbled upon a website called MyFreeImplants.com. The concept is women will chat with men, web cam, or send messages back and forth to raise money that goes directly to breast implants. In both your attempt to be a good Christian girl and my attempt to engage in Myfreeimplants.com, there’s an urge to be able to perform gender correctly…in this case femininity. In the Christian context, if you had performed femininity well, you would’ve been a good heteronormative mom lady (or nun) who goes to heaven. In the MFI.com context, if performed well, I could’ve gotten bigger boobs, which would’ve enhanced my performance as a woman that much more. I never thought about a boob job before I came across this site, but if it were free, would I? In the end, I wasn’t feeling empowered by the character I was having to play. She was often disrespected and kept getting in conversations about straight pubic hair. As a dominatrix I am still fetishized as an Asian Mistress but it’s an advantage. I am in control and comfortable and I am getting paid directly.
laub: I once spent hours online searching for ways to get the morning after pill. I was nineteen and I didn’t know anything about having sex. The only thing I knew was abstinence. I was programmed to suppress all sexual desire and curiosity and love and consent until I was found by my future husband.
Kim: A lot of times we hang onto traditions that are not useful anymore. They were passed down from another time. Up through my mid-twenties, I was in a lot of relationships where we did a lot of assuming of what the other person wanted. Especially in hetero relationships- there is a thing and it gets put into a hole- and there’s not a lot of negotiation that goes on. Sometimes I was performing something that I thought they wanted but maybe that’s not what they wanted and I wasn’t getting what I wanted because I wasn’t advocating for myself. There was no communication. I was just hoping this person was really happy with my performance. And I imagine it was the same for the other partner as well. In unlearning this way of being I learned to open my mouth and ask for what I want. To expose oneself through communication is a powerful tool.
laub: When i was in middle school i was a caretaker for a foster child who had seizures and had the cognitive abilities of a two-year-old but existed in a body of a twelve-year-old. She used to spit on me and i used to throw water on her. She used to get in trouble a lot so i learned how to discipline her by putting her in time out and sitting on her until she calmed down. There is a similar feeling of annoyance and misunderstanding that i have in the way i interact with Mr. Snuggles, (Jennifer Moon’s dog), that is invoking of that time of my life. I have a hard time with empathy towards Mr. Snuggles, because I don’t understand why there is life in his deteriorating dog body.
Kim: I was once a care taker for an old lady. She was bedridden and I was wiping her butt and using a hydraulic lift to move her from her bed to her chair. When I first started working with her she was sharp and could tell me specific things. She told me where everything was in her cabinets and taught me how to make liver. As my time with her continued she slowly started mixing up words, she would call me Jennifer, and the T.V. remote became a zucchini. It was disorienting to see her dissolve, but extremely intimate and special. I was humbled by my youth and health and knew that I wanted to enjoy my body while I can. I also really hope someone takes care of me when I am old and pooping on myself. I have a fantasy of attending my own funeral while I’m still alive. I would just lie there, having no obligation to interact with anyone, but all the attention would be directed towards me as though I were dead.
laub: This reminds me of Anne of Green Gables when Anne sends herself out in a boat reciting Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Lady of Shallot. Sometimes I write out all the ways I could kill myself. As a way to stop feeling sorry for myself and to get out the creepy.
Kim: I have a friend who writes suicide notes when she gets down and depressed. It’s a way of directly addressing that dark territory instead of avoiding it. Sometimes I describe my spirit animal as an ottoman. Similar to how when I’m cranky I desire to be firmly told I am acting like a sack of shit and that I should stand in the corner and be sad until I am ready to be a real human again. I find that tough love and space to sit in my shit is really helpful and soothing. When life gets to be too much, all I want is to be an object, moved around as such, no acknowledgement, to be able to find peace with being.
laub: I used to stick soap in my mouth to discipline myself for masturbating. i self-enforced a pureness, an innocence, a moral way of being. But it never worked, and i always ended up masturbating again. As i grew older and queerer i became aware of these forces within my own self that were keeping me grooved in patterns of right and wrong, feeding insecurities and keeping myself from myself.
Kim: I once held an exercise class/ Sunday sermon entitled Dominate Yourself. It was an exercise of facing our own interior garbage as a way to connect with our inner super humans. We played with the transformative power of submission and submitting to our own will. Some of the strongest people I know are submissive, and that is a super power in and of itself. Things that would normally break or upset someone, or drive them to lose it, or ask questions of their self-worth … it’s erotic for them! Not only are they not broken but they come out super happy and floating on a cloud. I can relate it to being an artist, or a comedian or a performer- we are all putting ourselves out there for public humiliation.
laub: I like thinking that my job is to be humiliated.
Kim: One of my least favorite things about the art world is that there is so much distance between people. I can be standing next to someone and not be able to make contact. I’m not sure if this is because we are indirect communicators. I wish there was more immediacy. I think this is part of the motivation for wanting to engage folks in this collaborative exchange of trading an artwork for the fulfillment of a fantasy. I want to make contact! Let’s create new ways of being together and challenge the ways we come together.
laub: After spending time with you in my fantasy realm, reality has shifted. We for sure have created new dimensions. I found myself going through multiple stages of desire towards you, wanting to be around you all the time, completely enamored by you, wanting you to be my best friend, wanting to be eaten by you. I think that is a direct consequence of being so willing to share an intimate setting. For me it speaks to how isolating i see our current social systems as. i keep my fantasies as fantasies because i see that as a necessary part of participating in the capitalist system. I wonder Kim, where will we go from here?
Kim: Well laub, because our relationship began in a fantasy realm I suspect it will develop differently than a relationship based somewhere in a more mundane setting. Part of the urge you described for melding together, I imagine sprouting from the fact that, in a contained way, we’ve seen the worst of each other. I saw you naked and writhing, losing control of your body. And you saw me taking joy in your “suffering,” delighting in this kind of sadism in inflicting pain upon another. Where we go from here, only time will tell. But in this context, where there is an abundance of acceptance, and an indulgence in otherworldly/ alternative spaces there is great potential- deep, unimaginable connection… we just have to be willing to lose control!