Robbie Cooper: Sex, sighs & videotape
In a new film of startling power and unsettling intimacy - produced exclusively for wallpaper.com - video artist and photographer Robbie Cooper shoots back at porn aficionados lost in ecstatic release.
In 2004 the photographer Robbie Cooper produced a series of images of digital ‘avatars’ – a surprising number of saucy sword-wielding ladies in very little, set against their 3-D counterparts in the real world - not many of them actually saucy sword-wielding ladies in very little. It was the start of a long-term project for Cooper, an on-going examination of the degree to which we now immerse ourselves in alternative, digital realities. And how.
Last year, and to much positive notice, he shot back at young video gamers. Inspired, in part, by the dead-pan documentary style of Errol Morris, Cooper shoots the gamers from behind a glass screen, onto which the video game is projected, using a high-resolution Red video camera.
The still shots taken from these videos have incredible depth and detail and capture total surrender to the virtual moment in a virtual world. Earlier in the year we met up with Cooper. He talked about his work, we talked about upcoming issues, including this month’s sex issue. The obvious next step in Cooper’s ‘Immersion’ project suddenly became obvious. He would shoot people talking about and watching pornography. He would shoot why people watch pornography and where they get to.
Stills from these videos and conversations with a number of Cooper’s subjects appear in the July issue. But here, and exclusively to wallpaper.com, are Cooper’s remarkably raw, powerful and intimate videos of people talking about enjoying porn. Be aware that this is not easy titillation. These videos throw up any number of questions about voyeurism and exhibitionism and make clear the incredible nakedness of the solo sex act. But as Woody Allen said: ‘Don’t knock masturbation. It’s sex with someone I love.’