Green Becomes Her
BY Brandon Voss
April 01 2009 12:00 AM ET
When watching the Green Porno shorts, I couldn't help comparing the various mating practices of the sea creatures to those of myself and of my friends. Like the asexual starfish, for example — we all experience a dry spell from time to time. Did you discover a sexual kinship to any of your subjects?
Not really. But a lot of people do that, and I was very surprised. It wasn't a goal of mine. A lot of people react to Green Porno with confessions. [Laughs] I wanted to know what the great men like Aristotle or Darwin thought about animals, and the greatest preoccupation throughout the centuries always seems to be about how man is different from animals, how man is capable of thinking in a way that animals can't. So I didn't think that by telling them how animals mate, people would ask how it relates to humans. I read a long interview with Konrad Lorenz where he was talking about ducklings, and the interviewer constantly asked how it related to us: "They do that? My father does that!" It's this sort of egocentric human vanity.
I suppose a major difference is that sex among other species is always about procreation, never recreation.
We don't know that. Darwin believed that domesticated animals are more promiscuous than wild animals. Our dogs sometimes embarrass us when guests come over and they screw their legs.
I couldn't help but notice the prominent phalli on many of the male sea creatures, particularly the whale's six-foot penis. Does size matter universally?
Well, size matters a lot if you're a barnacle, because you can't move. Proportionally, the barnacle has the longest penis. When you read about the variety in the world of sex, you get this feeling that anything is possible. The idea may generally be male-female with us, but there are lots of animals that are hermaphrodites, like the limpet, and penguins are often gay. Nature is infinitely scandalous, so it's some consolation to see that it's not always so black-and-white.
You often play the male member of a species in the shorts. Is it empowering to strap on a paper phallus?
Often it's the male that moves, not the female, so I play the male because it's easier. Because all of my partners are big paper cutouts, it's mostly just a technical thing. I never even thought about the fact that I was playing males until people mentioned it. But as the whale, who has this huge six-foot erection, was it empowering? To tell you the truth, I'm not convinced about Freud and his penis envy, but it certainly was fun.
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