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finding the glory in glory hole
a recap, a preview, an ask, and a dream
As a teenager living in a single-parent household, I spent most of my time isolated and on the internet. My mother was a middle school English and Social Studies teacher and after full days of caring for everyone else’s children, once she arrived home she was frequently exhausted. Knowing the importance of education, she bought a home computer instead to function as the after-school teacher that was compensating for whatever she thought my school’s education was lacking.
The computer began as a tool to support my reading comprehension skills through the educational games like Reader Rabbitbut with the birth of the Internet and my increasing movement into puberty, it was not long before I encountered the erotic edges of the World Wide Web. I remember feeling tingly feelings every time a textual representation of a hot woman with big boobs popped up as an ad. And as I got older, I found myself lurking on chatrooms, craigslist personals, and porn sites.
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The glory hole appeared to me during my teenage years and it shifted my entire worldview. I had not ever seen a glory hole myself nor had I heard anyone discuss them. I never heard about it in sex ed either. It only existed on the internet and by extension in the lives of adults who had the freedom to fuck and play with whoever they wanted whenever they wanted.
It became my personal symbol for freedom. It became my: I will know I am free when I see glory holes all around me. And so I spent, the bulk of my adult life looking for them and never found them myself.
We held the first eros study on June 11th, 2023 at Hex House, an artist community in East Williamsburg and my second home. 20 or so people gathered to learn about glory holes, which is quite weird and exhilarating. Most of the room had also not encountered them.
I led everyone through a design exercise to discover the opportunities that a glory hole may provide and even touched a bit on the potential risks, which there are many.
Ize Commersshared a bit about their work, “hand hole,” and introduced the glory holes prototypes that were available to try out. The “hand hole,” made another appearance, as did a glory hole orgy wall, and a peep hole.
I had a lot of anxiety before the event, particularly around the relationship between art, poetry, and the erotic. I voiced this tension before the event and also before a performance I did on June 23rd at Trans Pecoswhich was also about holes.
“I’ll tell you about the holes themselves and the poetics surrounding them. The real thing and the poetry. Which are neither separate nor entirely different. It is simply perspective.
But, there is a clause. People sometime prefer their poetry to put them at ease, to assuage them that they would not be going into this space thinking about the foul things that people do with their holes, with others holes, and around holes and outside of holes.
This may not put you at ease, it is a story after all, a story that is not about ease.”
Why this clause? Well, multiple things - I have noticed a trend of people using poetry as a means of abstracting the erotic into more palatable and digestable form that allows them to continue to harbor their whorephobic beliefs and even use their sex-negative beliefs as a way to elevate their work. It’s the whole it’s ok to talk about sex so long as we are not *actually* talking about sex. This not only goes against my values but is a type of thinking that I do not want to support and actively stands against other forms of erotic work I participate in.
And secondly, When it is clear that we will be talking about sex, I have also found people ignore that and instead try to make a home in the poetics as a way to avoid self-responsibility, in this case to avoid either honoring their limits and checking in with capacities to engage with the material. Oftentimes this looks like someone pushing themselves to be in a space that is erotic to the point of moving beyond their own limit only to end up being extremely disregulated and needing greater support from those around them. I acknowledge this is complex and I am curious if this is related to poetic abstractions and people self-labeling spaces as healing even when they are not framed as such.
And ultimately, it is beyond the individual, I truly just think that as it pertains to healing in the US, there needs to be a greater conversation on responsibility, perfectionism, pushing past limits / enduring, and how healing has been used to propagate up a “clean” and “simple,” type of sex. And the glory hole is far from “clean” and “simple”!
Ultimately, I’m trying to figure out how to engage in riskier conversations and move beyond the realms of care-taking that people desire to place me in.
My friend Gina and I spent time in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica. A sleepy beach town on the Caribbean coast. We spent most of our time writing, becoming friends, resting, and we encountered what I would describe as a glory hole.
This glory hole was a little walk away from our home beach, after a little hike through the forest, a walk around a cliff, and downward into a slippery cavern. I finally understand the glory of the glory hole. Somehow the fullness of the sentiment was missing before. There are holes and there are glory holes.
Our glory hole was created through the collision of two giant forceful waves that wanted to find their way back to the larger body of water. I imagine the desire of these waves created the opening and will continue to make the hole larger and larger until one day it ceases to exist.
I’m continuing my journey towards becoming the perverted sex educator and artist of my dreams and am working on a few related projects, namely, a big book / workbook around the eco-erotic. I hope to make big progress on that work during my time as a participant in Materia Abierta in Mexico City this August!
Materia Abierta is a summer school on theory, art, and technology. Established in Mexico City as a space to reflect on the political, economic, and epistemic forces that condition knowledge production, the program is reshaped every year provoking new contexts for learning.
I’m excited to continue my work alongside an amazing group of other artists, ritualists, and healers. I have started a GoFundMe for those who want to support my work in this context since I did not receive a scholarship for the program and will not have access to my other money making opportunities.
Reader Rabbit was created in the 80s and is the reason I was able to read before many people in my class could. Here is a video of the gameplay.
Ize Commers is an image-maker interested in shadow-experiencing and memory construction as acts of care and survival strategy. Their process prioritizes somatic presence and togetherness, looking alongside human and other-than-human kin in the creation of elsewhere.
I played a show at Trans Pecos with MDN, Sad Noise, Che Buford and Ritchse.