Life partners and collaborators since 2002, Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens work in live art, exhibitions, films, and writing. In this interview, The White Pube get to know them ahead of their inclusion in this year’s NEoN festival. Discussing their contribution, philosophies, and drawing out some advice for artists on how to make their practice more eco-conscious, the interview also learns more about their new book Assuming the Ecosexual Position which was published this year by the University of Minnesota Press.
We made 18 big poster images which will be put up for all to see along the street in Dundee, Scotland. They call them hoardings. We call them whore-dings! They tell a story, like an ecosexy fairy tale. We used photos and texts we had and added collage and more text and they are very colorful. We are also showing our film Water Makes US Wet—An Ecosexual Adventure, which is a documentary about the pleasures and politics of water through an ecosexual gaze. We can’t be there in person but will be on zoom.
At the moment, you are on a book and performance tour for your new book Assuming the Ecosexual Position. Could you tell us about the book and what ecosexuality means?
Yes, we are so in love with our book. It turned out even better than we could have imagined. It’s our love story, of two artists in love, and that love grows and grows to include the whole Universe. It also weaves in tales of our art/life adventures with all the juicy details, the critiques, the controversies and concerns. We have been doing work about imagining the Earth is our lover since we married the earth in a big performer art wedding ritual and launched the Ecosex Movement with our Ecosex Manifesto. We definite ecosex in our book this way: ecosexual \ ˈɛːkəʊ ˈsɛkʃ(əw)əl: eco from ancient Greek oikos; sexual from Latin, sexuales. 1. A person who finds nature romantic, sensual, erotic, or sexy, which can include humans or not. 2. A new sexual identity (self-identified). 3. A person who takes the Earth as their lover. 4. A term used in dating advertisements. 5. An en- vironmental activist strategy. 6. A grassroots movement. 7. A person who has a more expanded concept of what sex and orgasm are beyond mainstream definitions. 8. A per- son who imagines sex as an ecology that extends beyond the physical body. 9. Other definitions as yet to be determined.
When I have listened to you speak about ecosexuality, I have these visions of people outside in nature embracing the atmosphere they are a part of. How would you advise people to take up the pleasure that can be accessed from ecosexuality when they cannot go outside due to lockdown restrictions or health reasons? (I say this as someone housebound and interested)
We basically can go outside! Its been shown to be relatively safe from covid transmission, especially if you wear a mask. We can have ecosex through our senses. You can have it inside your home as well as outside. Drinking a glass of water, smelling the soil in your house plant, eating and taking in the colors of fruit… We have a text piece called 25 Ways to Make Love with the Earth.
Many activists I know are feeling totally burnt out after the trauma of the past 2 years, between politics, the pandemic, and environmental struggle. Your practice, however, feels driven by optimism. How would you advise activists to find the same energy to carry on?
Yes, it was a really tough couple of years in a lot of ways. We like the term “strategies of joy” which an artist named Roberto Jacoby coined when there was a terrible evil dictatorship and military coup and people were being disappeared and tortured and killed. It was absolutely horrendous, and he threw a big queer dance party and had music and art and had fun. When times are so heavy, go outside, do things you love to do if at all possible, and enjoy the sensual delights we have available.
What advice would you give to artists who are hoping to make their practice more eco-conscious?
Everyone has to make those kinds of decisions themselves. Different artists do different things. In a nutshell, things you can do are recycle, don’t use plastic and styrofoam if possible, don’t fly all over the planet to speak about your recycled art, don’t throw shit in the ocean… We are all eco-sinners and part of the environmental problems. Do what you can. We have to try and get people to love and care about the Earth as much as we can and seduce people to make some change. x
You can see more about exhibition see here ASSUMING THE ECOSEXUAL POSITION Book your ticket to see their film WATER MAKES US WET and join the Q&A Screening – 1 November 2021, 6 pm – 7.30 pm Q&A – 1 November 2021, 7.45 pm – 8.45 pm