Sexual Tension

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Return to the work of Stephen Poletto

From where do we get our notions about the nature of relationship? Certainly our mindset is influenced by our exposure to film, television, music and other forms of media, all of which provide a representation of such interactions. Though we may consciously choose to accept these as fictitious representations, the ideas they convey nonetheless become deeply rooted in our subconscious. As a result, we sometimes fail to see the true, "real", beauty in the messy, non-glamorized relationships we have in our own lives. It's very easy to fall into the trap of wanting the dream presented to us in media, neglecting the fact that such presentations are produced and edited. They are created for us to desire. They represent a world of fantasy in which to get lost. Though there are also attempts at "honest representations" of relationship, they are few compared to the two extreme, stereotypical versions we often encounter in modern media - perfect love and objectification of sexuality.

From a young age, we're shown perfect, fairytale love stories - boy meets girl, the two fall in love, they live life happily ever after. Many of these stories fail to account for the reality of relationship: beyond the closing scene of the film lies a long road ahead for the couple. As the two change over time, they may grow closer together or further apart. It's certainly true that some couples do remain happily together over the course of their lives. But there's rarely presentation of the other case. In effect, we find ourselves wanting a Hollywood-style love. In reality, this notion of a successful relationship may be unattainable in our own lives. What results is a feeling of failure for not obtaining the coveted, perfect eternal love.

In contrast, we're also provided with an extreme objectification of sexuality. Advertisements feature barely clothed men and women in an attempt to sell deodorant and jeans. Music videos show celebrity artists surrounded by stripping women. College-style humor movies present the main goal of young adult life - to add tallies to your count of sexual experiences. Corporate media seems to say to us, "If you're not getting laid by hotties tonight, you're living your life wrong." Sex, in pop culture, has lost its status as a meaningful channel of communication for two people in love. It has instead become a way to sell product.

This audio mashup aims to juxtapose the two stereotypical representations of relationship. It showcases the fact that these ideas are constantly surrounding us. They are difficult to shake off, even if we make a conscious decision to do so. Corporate advertising works. Hollywood movies work. Pop music works. They get through on some deep level despite our outward objections.

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