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Four Chambers: 10 Years
Institute of Contemporary Arts
Three images in parallel: blue light over a person's face, red paint of a body, and a black person being submerged in yellow water
Image courtesy of Four Chambers

The Four Chambers project turns 10 and celebrates with a retrospective screening of their decade of genre-defining and defying pornographic work. 

Blurring and dismissing the line between art and pornography, performer and director Vex Ashley will be in conversation with Christie Costello and the audience about the last 10 years of sex, art and the internet.

Sex, now more than ever, is political and politicised. Not only making work with explicit sex but to value its creative potential in a climate that demonises our sexual freedoms pushes back against the othering of our bodies and pleasures.

From a background in analogue photography, art school bullshit and digital sex online, the Four Chambers project was founded in 2013 to expand what porn can say, do and be. Headed by performer Vex Ashley and self-taught with an emphasis on collaborative DIY practices, the project remains deliberately ambiguous, rejecting labels for films and performers. Four Chambers has spearheaded a new wave of creators making contemporary pornographic work from a new perspective in an increasingly hostile online environment.

Four Chambers take over both cinemas and the bars for the night with visuals and physical ephemera from their archive, concluding with an afterparty celebration. With the potential to experience over 4 hours of films over the evening, Cinema 1 hosts a 95 minute cross chronological mixtape of the collective’s work with a post screening discussion and Q&A. Cinema 2 then plays a rolling reel of porn from the Four Chambers catalog to drop into at your leisure.

‘Well it’s really a privilege to produce work that provokes censorship. Although I don’t believe that is my intention…I do not invite censorship – rather controversy, confrontation and unravelling of submerged, denied, latent content. Volatile erotic, sexual denial underlies the self righteousness of our reactionary censors.’
– Carolee Schneemann

Film Programme

Cinema 1

Alchemy, Four Chambers 2014, 7 min.
Pitch, Four Chambers 2016, 8 min.
Red Shift, Four Chambers 2016, 10 min.  
Human Botany, Four Chambers 2017, 4 min.  
Atrophy Portraits II, Four Chambers 2019, 9 min.
Gloaming, Four Chambers 2017, 9 min. 
Orgone Theory, Four Chambers 2019, 14 min. 
Blood Milk, Four Chambers 2020, 10 min. 
A Cyborg Manifesto, Four Chambers 2019, 5 min.
FUCKED, Four Chambers 2022, 15 min.
Four Chambers Hypercut, Four Chambers 2023, 5 min.

Programme runtime: 95 min.

Cinema 2

Supplicant, Four Chambers 2016, 10 min.
L’Appel du Vide, Four Chambers 2017, 14 min.
Forged Obscenities 1, Four Chambers 2018, 15 min.
Automaton, Four Chambers 2021, 16 min.
Maman 2, Four Chambers 2023, 19 min.
Hydra, Four Chambers 2019, 16 min.
Divine Rites 2, Four Chambers 2022, 14 min.
Archetype, Four Chambers 2019, 13 min.
Fuses, Four Chambers 2020, 8 min.

Programme runtime: 142 min.
Vex Ashley is a porn performer, director, editor and producer. She heads Four Chambers, a pornography project exploring the intersection between sex, psychology, technology and art history and everything else. After rejecting being demoted to "muse" from spending 3 years at art school and getting naked online as a cam girl, Vex started making work as Four Chambers to expand the idea of what sex on film could say, do and be. She speaks, writes and spends a lot of time online talking about creative and independent porn making, sex as performance, authenticity, art and pornography, technology and sex, camming and censorship.

Christie Costello is an art historian, artist and curator. She is an Honorary Cambridge Trust Scholar and Honorary Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholar at the University of Cambridge, where her PhD research focuses on excess and counter-aesthetic practices in sex-radical British and American dyke+ self-representational practices c. 1970 onwards. Her project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council's Open-Oxford-Cambridge Doctoral Training Partnership award. She is a member of Bare Minimum, an interdisciplinary anti-work art collective that hates hustling, neoliberal self-improvement, wage labor, surplus value, and private property. Their work has most recently been on show at Kunsthalle Wien’s 2022-23 exhibition ‘In the Meantime, Winter Comes Around’, as well as in screenings at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts and Somerset House.

Claude Knight is a DJ, model and multidisciplinary creative. She’s a resident DJ for Joyride at London’s Corsica Studios, and has taken her genre-fluid, high energy sets to festivals including Boomtown and Shambala.
09:00 pm
Sat, 25 Nov 2023
Cinema 1

All films are ad-free and 18+ unless otherwise stated, and start with a 10 min. curated selection of trailers.

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