Former porn star and feminist performance art queen, Annie Sprinkle, arrived in town this weekend with her partner in art and love, Beth Stephens, to spread the word of Sexecology. The couple started off their weekend in Athens with a visiting artist lecture to give an overview of the sequence of events that connected their lives as well as led to their strong belief in the marriage of sexuality and ecology.
Due to the commodification of love by the tyrant Hallmark, Sprinkle and Stephen’s aim is to create art that expresses the true emotion of love instead of masking it with blatant references to sex or cliché metaphors. One example of this thesis in action is their project, Extreme Kiss. The goal is to display affection by a 2-3 hour long kiss that ranges from just Sprinkle and Stephens to encorporating an entire room of active participants.
In addition to this love of love, both women love and lust towards Mother Nature. On Saturday the two married each other as well as the Appalachian Mountains to form a commitment to environmental protection as a part of their seven-year/seven-chakra art project. Guests were instructed to wear purple as they bore witness to the union of Sprinkle and Stephens to the surrounding mountains.
Unsure of what to expect from such an unorthodox union, I poured over the program to try and detect hints of what events were to transpire during the two-hour event. What I concocted in my mind, or at least tried to fathom could not prepare me for the interpretive dances pieces and musical numbers put on by both local members of the community and individuals who traveled from as far as California to be with Sparkle and Stephens during their Purple Wedding. The performers, including a band made up of a lion, duck, and elephant, were just as interesting to admire as the audience. Guests ranged from mildly accented with hues of violet to extravagantly painted faces and elaborate monochromatic costumes.
Breathing exercises conducted by several members of the wedding helped to relax the mind so it could easily interact with the chapel which was decorated organically with natural elements including branches and an assortment of purple-coated pinecones.
Although the ceremony was infused with an air of hilarity and sensual passion, all pieces related to mountain top removal which is continuously destroying our backyard Appalachian Mountains. Larry Gibson, the concluding speaker and “Keeper of the Mountains” gave an unrehearsed and emotional speech detailing his own feelings relating to the devastation.
Sparkle and Stephens performances could only be seen this weekend however their Sexecology Exhibit filled with their wedding pieces and “eco-erotic” images will be on display at the Kennedy from now untill late January.