Excerpt from the interview "On Coat Racks and Scotch Tape" with Malika Ali, On The Ground Floor, Los Angeles, CA, March 16, 2016
Malika Ali: How do you define revenge porn? Why do you animate this brand of celebrity sex tape? And what significance do your color fades have to the consideration of the aesthetics of violation?
Cindy Hinant: The aesthetics of violation is what I define as media materials that seem to have been released without consent of the subject, regardless of the actual agency of the subject. This is most clearly evident in media genres such as revenge pornography, upskirt photography, and leaked celebrity nudes. Revenge pornography are videos or photographs produced by a couple for private use which has then been publicly released by one party without consent of the other in order to cause harm or humiliation. This is a problem, in itself, but what I am most interested in is how revenge pornography has become a common keyword or tag used to promote pornography that was filmed professionally and how this contributes to the degradation of women. Its just another of many niche portals you will find on the Internet, and it becomes difficult to distinguish between actual leaked photos and professional work.
With my sex tape series I wanted to consider the reception and social function of celebrity sex tapes as well as the level of agency or control the women had over the release of these materials. I made three videos that are slow animations that each fade from a color to white over the duration of the original sex tape, keeping the original audio in tact. The colors come from the branding of each respective celebrity so Kendra Wilkinson is blue, Paris Hilton is pink, and Kim Kardashian is black. I am not sure if I would classify these videos as revenge pornography because the intention of their release seems to have been for monetary gain rather than humiliation, but that does not mean they are not abusive. Many states have now passed laws that restrict revenge pornography and the release of sex tapes, but a few years ago the general rule in most states was that photos or video that were produced consensually between adults could be released by one party without consent of the other. Kendra Wilkinson, Paris Hilton, and Kim Kardashian, all stated publicly that these videos were released without their permission, but they all have a cloud of speculation around them because of the way each of them profited from their release. Kim Kardashian, in particular benefited from the release of her sex tape as it was leaked just before the first season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians aired. I dont want to speculate too much about which celebrities were involved with the release of leaked or supposedly leaked tapes, but I do think that the grey area that emerges is interesting as is the publics interest in vulnerable images of women.