A transcription of the talk I gave for the keynote speech at the first Bean Flicks festival (18/02/20) on their theme of Ethics and Desires.

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My name’s Vex, and I am a full time pornographer. I’ve been making films with sex for the last 6 years, I’d studied Art at university while working as a cam girl and although I saw a lot of porn, it mostly existed as either a functional product for sale or amateur exhibitionism. I was interested to see if I could use porn as a creative medium for ideas, given the same consideration for aesthetics and concepts as I has been doing in my art work. I had no training in film making and started with a cheap camera shooting little experiments with my other sex worker friends and sharing them for free on Tumblr — that’s somehow now grown to where I am today, 6 years later. …


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I started taking my clothes off on the internet in 2011, I was 21 and at university looking to make extra money and explore my exhibitionist streak, I found a home on Tumblr.com. The site’s tolerance for NSFW content had introduced me to a global community of Internet Naked Girls™, maybe the first generation to have really grown up on social media - sharing our lives and images online and then realising we could capitalise on it. So I joined them.


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Four Chambers is an independent, performer led porn DIY porn project which started funding on Patreon.com 4 years ago, with the goal to expand the aesthetic and conceptual potential of pornography a medium. This is the break up letter we wrote to our supporters upon getting the news we were no longer welcome to be there.

When we started out we hoped that we might raise enough money to be able to pay performers and maybe have the project be self sufficient. Our initial goal was $250 a month and until then we’d just been funding production costs with my sex work online and our other “vanilla” jobs. The response to the project was more than we could have ever imagined, the way you as a community connected with what we wanted to do, your generosity, how excited and engaged everyone was with seeing us grow.

We have loved being on Patreon for one main reason, a reason that is at the core of everything we are doing and trying to achieve, that has come sharply into focus recently. Media about sex is as important, valuable and worthy as any other work we create and consume.


(originally posted here 26/08/16)

Porn means risk. Putting your naked, sexual, pornographic self online still can and will have consequences. Not physical ones like cum in your eye or carpet burn or whatever — societal consequences. The shame and stigma attached to selling/documenting/exploring sex is still a clear and present danger. This danger ranges from a tense and awkward conversation with your parents to potentially loosing everything. So far I got the first one.

For more traditional porn performers the trade off for this risk is financial gain. (we might wish that we weren’t tied into an exploitative capitalist system where no one would have to work or fuck to survive but well, here we are.) Although porn budgets aren’t what they once were, fitting into a marketable porn demographic and getting work with an established company still gives a performer the opportunity to make decent money quickly, probably more per hour than they’d ever earned before working a “respectable” job they’d write home about. And hopefully they also enjoy it and have good friends and family who support them and any fall out is minimal but regardless, they can take the money to the bank and know it stands as a symbol,a reward in exchange for the risks they take. …


(opening statement as part of the discussion ‘Can Pornography be Good for You?’ at Edinburgh Science Festival, April 2016)

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on set for Four Chambers by Dwam

My story in porn isn’t maybe what you’d think, but it’s not that uncommon. I didn’t sit on a casting couch in LA or answer a vague ad for models from Craigslist. I decided to start performing on webcam and making my own clips at university, as a test to see if it would be interesting or hot and maybe, profitable. It really was, I’d make more in a few hours on cam than I did in an 8 hour shift at my 0 hour contract retail job and I loved it. Like so much of the modern, online adult industry it was completely self directed and determined. You work for yourself, do what you’re comfortable with, work when and where you want. …


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(from the archive, originally posted here 21/09/16)

I’ve been invited to speak at the Scottish Queer International Film Festival, to show some of my films and to present a workshop discussion about my experiences in porn making. SQIFF (cute acronym right?) is described on the site as “not-for-profit and run by our Festival Coordinator with assistance from our committee. We are an organisation by and for queer communities.”

LGBTQ+ voices and perspectives are vastly underrepresented or exploited in the majority of the media we consume, unfortunately we don’t see much outcry about that. Instead it’s small non profit organisations like SQIFF that work to celebrate and raise those voices. …


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You have to be trying really hard not to pay attention if you can’t see what chaos the online community of sex workers is in at the moment. FOSTA/SESTA passed in the US, this decimated the ability of full service sex workers to advertise, organise, screen clients directly. It also decimated the protections that internet sites had previously to separate the content their users posted from themselves legally. So what you used to say online was your responsibility, now it’s also the sites. If they can in anyway tenuously link it to “sex trafficking” a site can be sued (sites are businesses and business fear being sued > everything) That means sites are scrambling to remove potentially problematic content…this means, resources and problematic people. (see: sex workers) There’s a million articles floating around about why doing sex work online has made it safer. In a way, I’m pretty lucky. I’m not the person who suffers most from the stigma and the discrimination society levels at people who sell sex. The work I make can sometimes be passed off as “”””artistic”””” enough (see: culturally acceptable) to fly under the radar of some filtering systems. …

About

Vex Ashley

@vextape — I make pornographic films with Four Chambers. Not a model, not a muse. vexashley.com

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