How genital stroking became an act of feminist rebellion
Concealing her naked chest with a mini makeshift ‘movie theatre’, Austrian-born artist and feminist icon VALIE EXPORT stood amongst the public in 10 European cities between 1968-1971, coaxing pedestrians to reach inside her boxed-up torso and touch her breasts. Such was the nature of her radical and provocative performance piece “Tap and Touch Cinema” – an experimental screen-free ‘film’ confronting the social, political and sexual positioning of the female body, whilst fracturing the boundaries between cinema and real life.
Like many of EXPORT’s defiant works (1968’s “Action Pants: Genital Panic” saw her weave through a cinema audience in crotch-less leather pants, her genitals exposed at face-level) “Tap and Touch Cinema” inspired a slew of similarly controversial acts, with Swiss artist Milo Moiré’s “Mirror Box” recently accused of replicating EXPORT’s groundbreaking work.
In light of her undeniable legacy, and the uncanny emergence of virtual female bodies available to the touch (see the Oculus Rift-powered “breast squeezing” simulations), we unravel the continuing relevance of what EXPORT declared as “the first genuine women’s film”. via Dazed