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NEW INC’s DEMO Festival 2024
June 5-20th, 2024
Full info here

Exhibition

“Who’s Afraid of Pornography?”

Selection of Short Films from AORTA films
Mahx Capacity, AORTA Films

b. 1986, Washington D.C. – Founded 2015, New York City
3:07:23 min; Digital Video, 16 short films played on loop

Courtesy of AORTA films, New York City

AORTA films champions indie, queer porn to create a future of ethical fuckery. Founded in 2015 and led by Creative Director Mahx Capacity, AORTA films is an internationally award-winning studio intent on evolving the genre and championing the queer porn ecology through a collectivist approach. The studio creates short films, features, and a host of additional programming including a curated queer clip library (Community Hardcore), semi-annual watch-at-home festival (BEDDED), and a series featuring guest artists collaborations (Induction.) AORTA’s work centers performers across a wide range of genders, sexualities, bodies and identities. Hailing from queer BDSM practices and a background in experimental performance, the studio works collaboratively, prioritizing ethical labor practices and a consent-based, collaborative working processes.

This installation offers the opportunity for visitors to experience viewing porn as a community practice and shared experience. Full content notes on all 16 films are available at the link to the right, or in the binder by the stanchion.


“Who’s Afraid of Pornography?”
Mahx Capacity, AORTA Films, in collaboration with Miranda Watson

Mahx Capacity – Filmmaker, b. 1986, Washington D.C.
Miranda Watson – Fashion Designer, Artist, b. 1992, New York City

Soft Sculpture 36” x 72” with additional installation elements
up-cycled vintage fabrics, cotton canvas, polyester quilt batting

Courtesy of AORTA films, New York City

Created in response to the New Museum’s initial decision that explicit pornography could not be shown in this exhibition, Mahx Capacity initially commissioned this sculpture (designed and fabricated by textile artist Miranda Watson) with the intention of an installation documenting an off-site protest action. Porn performers would have activated the sculpture before the exhibition opening, blessing/desecrating the sculpture with their bodily fluids including cum, sweat, spit, and blood. The sculpture would have been exhibited on the floor accompanied by an invitation for visitors to throw dollar bills onto the unguarded object. These dollars would have been passed back to the performers as compensation for their labor–if they remained at the end of the exhibit–a nod to the scarcity created by the ongoing exclusion of sex work from cultural and financial institutions. 

Ultimately, AORTA’s work was happily included in this exhibition following discussions between NEW INC, the New Museum, and Capacity. This installation makes visible the ongoing invisibilized labor, self-advocacy, and myriad of social and bureaucratic contradictions sex workers must navigate to have their work witnessed and respected as an act of cultural production. Following this installation, the soft sculpture will be blessed/desecrated as a part of a future film in process, sharing the title “Who’s Afraid of Pornography?” 

Content Notes:

If you would like to read content notes for the films on display, please click here.

Films on Display:

Stream/Rent these films here:

(W/HOLE) Episode 1 – Pleasure Narrations
The OH Files: Solo/Duo
Full
Hard at Work
Persephone
Babygurl’s Big Birthday Bang
Rise & Shine
Trailer: Community Hardcore
Hole Theory
Another Beautiful Creature
Peaches & Loverboy
(W/HOLE) Episode 4 – Moss Bank
Home Moves: Pervy Pets
(W/HOLE) Episode 9 – Overflow
Orgy #004: Fuck Your Friends
Switch for Daddy
Alchemy of the Meat

Want To Stream for FREE?
AORTA films members get full streaming access to our 95+ short and feature films, as well as our semi-annual film festival BEDDED, Commnity Hardcore clip library, and more! Memberships start as low as $8/month. Learn more here.


Talk

“Creating a future of Ethical Fuckery”

Wednesday, June 5th, 5:30-7:30pm EST
limited tickets available here

Our NEW INC member cohort consists of 5 unique Tracks or focus areas guided by a Mentor-in-Residence: Art & Code, Cooperative Studies, Creative Science, Social Architecture, and XR (Extended Realities). At the core of DEMO, members share their individual projects during Track Talks which are followed by a group conversation moderated by the Track Mentor-in-Residence.

In partnership with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, our Cooperative Studies track explores community and worker-centered cooperative models for governing, funding, planning, and collective ownership. Following presentations by Duty Free, Gabriella Nelson, Jamica El, Mahx Capacity, Molly Ragan, the Track’s Mentor-in-Residence Caroline Woolard will moderate a group discussion.

This talk will also be live streamed here.


ABOUT DEMO + New INC

Expanding on the New Museum’s commitment to new art and new ideas, NEW INC is the Museum’s cultural incubator supporting creative practitioners and small businesses working across art, design, and technology. Now in Year 10, NEW INC’s membership model continues to support a diverse range of creative practitioners with a values-driven program and safe space for gathering and developing new creative projects and businesses.

DEMO2024 is a multi-day festival and gathering for people at the leading edge of art, culture, and technology. Anchored by the work of NEW INC’S Year 10 Members, the festival gathers national and international thought leaders for a series of demos, exhibitions, and broadcasts giving shape to the next generation of creative leaders. DEMO2024 will run from June 5-7, 2024. Track showcases will be on view from June 5-20, 2024.

Mahx Capacity, Creative Director of AORTA films will be presenting 2 offerings at DEMO. A banner designed in collaboration with Miranda Watson will adorn an installation entitled “Who’s Afraid of Pornography” where 3+ hours of signature AORTA films will be screening on loop as part of the Cooperative Studies Track’s showcase “Scaling Utopia.” Additionally Mahx will present a short talk entitled “Co-Creating a Future of Ethical Fuckery” as part of the Cooperative Studies Track Showcase on Wednesday June 5th. If you’d like to get in touch with Mahx about their work, please email them at MahxCapacity@AORTAfilms.com


Curated by Mia Matthias. Produced by Cy X.

This presentation offers visitors the opportunity to envision alternative worlds beyond the constraints of the economic, scientific, and institutional systems that define–and limit–our everyday lives, thoughts, and interactions.

In place of static solutions or declarations, the presenting artists offer open-ended prompts that ask visitors to reconsider their individual and collective desires, aspirations, and complicities.Ubiquitous concepts, spanning from economic systems to notions of the sacred, are parsed into tangible exercises intended to evoke a critical and discerning lens that can be applied beyond the walls of the exhibition. In this space, care, rest, and fulfillment are prioritized over productivity and capital. Within this moment of respite and reflection, consider:

  • How have your basic needs been commodified?
  • What concessions in comfort and dignity have you been asked to make in exchange for access to resources?
  • Does your (dis)comfort dictate the rules of this space? If so, should those be personal or communal choices?

Visitors enter the gallery through muvaboard’s installation, The Waiting Room Experience. Rooted in consideration, kindness, and intentionality, the installation is the antithesis of the impersonal environments we must contend with for government, medical, and emergency care. Ash Rucker and Gabriella Nelson honor guiding spirits and ancestors through performance and collaborative storytelling. Molly Ragan’s installation, The Unlearning Library, offers the opportunity for identifying and deconstructing the assumptions of capitalist logic. Rounding out the gallery is a selection of pornographic works from AORTA Films providing the opportunity to experience viewing porn as a community practice and shared experience. Adjacent to the gallery, Duty Free’s installation is embedded in the store, blurring the boundaries between real and artificial in an uncanny and satirical take on a corporate environment that asks visitors to reconsider their value systems.

These artists have scaled theory into practice through interactivity, sensation, and awareness, providing alternative strategies for navigating life beyond for-profit structures. In the wake of collapsing systems and impending–or ongoing–apocalypse, the work of the Cooperative Studies cohort offers visitors a toolbox for new worlds premised on cooperation, mutual aid, resource sharing, and solidarity economies.

Through these artworks, interrogate your participation in, or rejection of, the sacred, capitalism, medical racism, whorephobia, and scarcity. Beyond this exhibition, use these prompts to opt into, or out of, systems that do not serve your vision for the world in which you hope to live.

Mahx Capacity

AORTA films Creative Director
pronouns: they/them

Mahx Capacity a founder and the current Creative Director of AORTA films. A white, fat, trans/non-binary, taurean pleasure prince, they’re obsessed with wielding queer porn to send cultural fault lines out into the world to disrupt it for the better. Working at the intersections of sextech and regenerative economics with a background in experimental performance, Mahx is drawn to queer porn’s capacity for destabilizing pleasure, fierce vulnerability, and complex humanity.

Founded in 2015, AORTA films creates internationally award-winning, independent queer porn: lusty, opulent, ethical, fuckery. Centering queer performers across a wide range of bodies and identities, AORTA films offers inventive explicit programming including 85+ short & feature films, a queer clip library, semi-annual film festival, guest artist series, commercial work, workshops, and more.

Miranda Watson

Sculpture Fabricator
pronouns: she/her

Miranda Watson is a fashion designer, tailor, and textile artist operating under her eponymous sustainable clothing and accessories brand, MIRANDA WATSON. Watson has a keen sense for employing eco-friendly materials such as Tencel, a lyocell fiber sourced from renewable wood. In a 2018 Vogue feature, Emily Farra describes Watson as an “on the rise, eco-minded designer” while quoting the designer as saying, “conscious buying is how we’re going to change the industry.” Watson, who grew up immersed in the heart of New York’s feminist art scene as the daughter of artist Sharon Gold, explores fabricating protest art that questions and objects to the exclusion of pornography in cultural institutions. She has participated in numerous shows such as Vancouver Fashion Week, and the brand, based in Brooklyn, has been prominently featured in Vogue, British Vogue and Paper Magazine.

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