If Pain

unmakes our worlds,
can touch given by another remake them?

If pain is a filmed work by Liv Phoinix with Ayoto Ataraxia

The full work is twenty-three minutes long. It was shot in a single take and is shown unedited, without cut.

How was the process of shooting If Pain? 
The shooting was spontaneous and intuitive. It was early in the morning and the camera was positioned the night before. Still there was a build-up to it, in the sense that I’d been wanting to film a prolonged shot of this kind of skin-to-skin, hand-to-genital, contact for some time. Timing had a lot to do with it. Suddenly I had an abundance of time. And a lot of accumulated knowledge to invoke. There was also this period of ego death, for both bodies, that inspired me. But there was no plan for the direction the take should follow.

What did you want to show?
I wanted to show physicality - sharp, unsentimental, yet fondly attentive. Grounded in intimate language.

Who, or what, are your influences in this intimate language?
Sensory experience. Time. Breath work. Great poets of the body. There are so many individuals, encounters and works. Around the time Ayoto and I shot I’d recently seen Tsai Ming-liang’s Days at the Berlinale film festival. I already knew Tsai Ming-liang’s work through Ayoto, and though he was not in Berlin at the time of the screening, it felt like seeing Tsai Ming-liang and Lee-Kang sheen in person at the world premier of Days was for both of us. All the while we’ve known each other we’ve been in dialogue about relations that exist on their own terms and defy assimilation to familiar narrative arcs.

People have said that it is hard not to be affected by the film, with “provocation to anyone willing to watch”. How do you understand this?

It seems that there is a lot of baggage tied up with penis depiction. I do wonder why it is so confronting for so many. Really, since antiquity cityscapes the world over have been full of phallic symbolism and contemporary visual culture brims with nudity.

That we, as a society, load penises with so much power to provoke seems perverted to me. But maybe there’s something to dick pic phenomena in combination with #toxicmasculinity movements that has pseudo egalitarians celebrating female nudes while denouncing male equivalents.

For most people it’s rare to look at an adult flacid penis belonging to another human being for anything more than a moment. The work is entitled If pain, but sometimes I feel it could have been entitled If fear.