La Petite Mort
La Petite Mort is a sex education exhibition about the female orgasm. More than just an act of celebration, the show strives to empower, make a case for sex positivity, and change the dialogue around female sexuality that is often repressive and exclusionary - especially towards member of LGBTQ+ community. Originally translating from French, La Petite Mort, meaning “little death” has come to compare the sensation of post-orgasm to death.
Art Direction from Paul Kepple
I began to tackle this subject with a rough scratchboard of typographic solutions. My design process tends to be very experimental, so I moved forward with non-linear versions of my timeline and variations before I arrived at the finished design.
A 30 foot timeline featuring a retrospective of women’s sexuality through Ancient times, Hysteria, and our Modern Liberation.
The show wall, intended to affirm the sex positive ideals of the exhibition, and that women’s sexuality deserves a modern refresh.
Before the exhibition was installed, I conducted a survey about orgasm and received responses from 65 identifying women ages 18-32. All of the women that took my survey said they felt comfortable asking for consent, and I wanted to add something spectacle to celebrate. Thusly, a balloon was blown up to represent every woman.
At the end of the timeline, in front of balloons, little takeaways were left in three stacks for viewers to internalize the underlying metaphysical themes of the show.
A rough floor-plan was sketched up before I realized that I needed to collaborate with an architecture student. Through this collaboration I was able to solve the spatial problem of experiential design.
I enlisted a voice actor to read my favorite responses to my open ended question, “What is orgasm to you?” and art directed the script reading.
Using the data from my survey, I created statistics from the questions that I wrote and edited with another collaborator.
The last collaborative piece in my show, I built a five foot tall peepshow with a ceramics student. The aid in dimensional work was crucial for me to execute a box that would support the weight of a television and maintain its viewing integrity. The peepshow, meant to reappropriate the male gaze plays a zoomed in, duotoned erotic film while playing two different studies on people’s porn histories.
Lastly, I designed a zine that was intended to be installed on the side of the peepshow. The zine was intended to tie in the feminist film maker I featured on my timeline and my peepshow, Erika Lust. Lust is an advocate for ethical porn, and I think this was a crucial voice to feature in my show because of the blatant mistreatment of women frequently displayed in these films.