LAUREL NAKADATE’S PORN STAR POETRY

Artist and filmmaker Laurel Nakadate, whose The Wolf Knife is one of this year’s nominees for our “Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You” Gotham Award, has a new short, Untitled, in which porn stars Kate Kastle, Stacey Dollar, Robbye Bentley, Lucky Starr, and Stacy Adams read the poetry of Dora Malech.

From HTML Giant’s Jackie Wang:

In the video Untitled, Laurel has porn actresses read poems by Dora Malech. The interplay between Dora’s poems and the premise of the video is brilliant. The poems grapple with the tension between corporeality and disembodied intellect—being pure body or pure voice, being of the flesh or of the mind, but they settle on neither….

The porn actresses in the video were asked to come to the “audition” (the audition being the final video itself) wearing their usually business attire: lacy lingerie, bright color bras. One woman—Robbye Bentley—even delivers her poems topless, covering her breasts with the poem “script” about a woman taking her top off for money. In recontextualizing the poetry reading event by having porn actresses read poems in settings like bathrooms and bedrooms, the video also dashes another expectation: that the porn actress is somehow less intellectual than the poet.

What immediately struck me was the vulnerability of Laurel’s video. It makes you feel uncomfortable. But when I watched the video again, I thought about this question of vulnerability some more and realized that the discomfort I felt was located within myself, not in the delivery of the poems or the performers themselves. I’m not much of a reader myself—I stutter and ramble incoherently. Whatever endearing vulnerability people may find in my delivery could be directly attributed to my utter discomfort with physically being on display. But I realized that the women who were reading the poems were totally comfortable in their bodies, more at ease being physically present than I could ever be….

Read Wang’s entire piece at the link.

Untitled from laurel nakadate on Vimeo.