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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Week 8: Fire in My Belly Reflection

Week 8: Fire in My Belly Reflection

During this week, I remember having discussed the controversial nature of the Fire iIn My Belly video. The museum that was hosting Fire In My Belly was heavily critiqued by a conservative christian group that sought to censor it. This took place in the time when Ronald Reagan was in power and when there was much suppression of non-normative forms of expression and being were commonplace. Keep in mind, that Reagan was also complicit in the mass waves of deaths that wiped out a generation of queer and transgender artists. Some people, such as myself, would call this a queer genocide given how the current administration was purposefully neglecting the AIDS crisis. 
The funny thing about Fire In My Belly, is that the reaction by the christian right reminded me of an episode from The L Word, when Bette Porter, the fictitious California Arts Center (which is rumored to be an allusion to the Hammer Museum according to queer folk-lore) was attempting to bring in a piece of art titled “Provocations,” which uses sexual and religious elements to provoke the viewer (hence the name.) The art piece was met with great contestation at het California Arts Center, similar to the way that the christian right received Fire In My Belly.

Now, the actual Fire in My Belly Video was actually pretty provocative since it blended in sacred elements of the christian/catholic religion along with sexual acts (such as masturbation.) One sees the cross lying on a dirt floor, engulfed in black ants, which some view as an abomination and desecration of the holy object. What’s funny is that this piece reminds me so much of my catholic school upbringing. I was taught to not idolize objects, and that objects are only meant to be used as objects for inspiration, however, apparently, the christian right who sought to prohibit the showing of this piece and overlooked the lesson I’d learn while growing up. Objects are simply objects, and shouldn’t be objectified to the degree that merits lobbying against the expression of an artist. The art piece incites no act of violence nor does it harm anyone.

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