In a world of increasing surveillance and virtuality, who controls what we can and can’t watch? Or worse, what we can and can’t want?
These are some of the questions that Stacy Skolnik asks in her new collection of poetry, mrsblueeyes123.com. The poems in this book-as-website were previously released on Instagram under the handle @mrsblueeyes123. But the account was banned within six months of its creation. Having lost an interactive and consistent audience of nearly 2,000 followers, Skolnik now reclaims a space for herself on the internet and asks the reader to join her in a complicated, spiraling, and shamelessly public interrogation of our own relationships to consent, objectification, censorship, and the erotic.
At this launch event featuring performances from visual artist/clown Abby Lloyd, and writer/lawyer Vanessa Place, against the backdrop of Corey Presha’s paintings which draw from Jim Crow-era cartoons, we try to make sense of what type of censorship is just, what we are allowed to look at, and what we allow ourselves to want to look at. What language and imagery can be appropriated from the past and present in order to make new narratives, or resolve old ones? How does that determine what we long for or laugh at in public? Are we bad people if we do it when we're alone? Who has the right to talk about their desires? And who should be banned from the conversation?