Cindy Hinant
Farrah Abraham, Celebrity
Transcribed excerpt from a public conversation with Kara Brooks on July 16, 2017 at Lit Gallery, New York, NY.

Cindy Hinant: I wanted to explore something that I call an aesthetics of violation, which is media images that seem to have been produced or distributed without consent of the subject. Celebrity sex tapes and upskirt photography both fit into this genre, the idea that these have been made without consent of the celebrities is very exciting, you feel like you are getting an inside look into their personal lives, or their personal underwear up their skirt.

Kendra Exposed, and 1 Night in Paris, the two color fade animations that are in the room, are slow atmospheric pieces. They fade from a color to white over the course of the original sex tape audio, I didn’t edit the sex tape audio in any way I only added this animation. In general with my work, I’m interested in slowing down the reception of media images and I do this by taking audio or images out of context, making them more difficult to see, or in this case completely obscuring the image. The reason why I wanted to highlight this audio is because it reveals a lot about its own construction. In both videos there are conversations about who’s holding the camera and whether the camera is on. They’re amateur films and were not made as polished pornography, so in Paris’s sex tape there’s a TV on in the background for a lot of it, you can hear, I think it might be Caddyshak, I can’t remember the movie, but you can hear a good section of a movie in the sex tape.

Kara Brooks: And what about the Farrah one which is so different than Kendra and Paris.

Cindy Hinant: Farrah Abraham marketed her video as a leaked sex tape, so the DVD cover says “the private tape made public” and she gave press conferences where she said ‘this was released without my permission, I made this for private use.’ And the public’s reaction was to say ‘yeah, but there is a porn star in the video with you’ the video features James Deen, a well-known porn star. And Farrah basically said, ‘yeah but I’m so beautiful now, I made this for personal use because I want to celebrate my body and my sexuality and this was released without my permission.’ And of course contracts later revealed that this was a pornography made for distribution.

The video itself has a lot of signifiers of authenticity to show that this was a sex tape rather than a produced pornography, so that includes point of view and stationary cameras, candid conversations between takes, although the lighting is suspiciously good. One detail from the film set that I enjoyed, was that in one scene they are in a bedroom, and in the background there is a television, and the television is not playing, but it has a screensaver, like a DVD screensaver, and so there is a time code, which you can see in my video, bouncing across the screen. The timecode is meant to signify that this is real sex in real time.

In my video Farrah Abraham Celebrity, I cropped it so that you can only see the television, and you see mostly their reflection in the television and sometimes they enter the frame. Because I blew up such a tiny detail from the video, it’s pretty pixelated so I gave them the “romantic” filter in iMovie because I wanted to give them a nice time together, I have a sense of humor in my work that comes out in different ways.

I couldn’t deal with Farrah Abraham’s sex tape the way I did with Paris and Kendra’s because she’s so obviously trying to capitalize on the aesthetics of violation, this was marketed as a leaked sex tapes, it’s one of the company’s highest grossing sex tapes and it points to the public’s interest in vulnerable images of women.

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