Fontana at Pornceptual
Meet Fontana, the multi-breasted performer who is challenging notions of femininity and masculinity at the Pornceptual party in Berlin.
Noemi Veberic Levovnik’s ‘Fontana’ and I meet during her performance at the Pornceptual party in Berlin, where I feed off her presence and, like a baby eager to be breastfed again, I crave to suck onto her exhilarating energy once more. Pornceptual isn’t just a party, it’s a platform that aims to transcend the current associations presented by pornography and use them as a weapon for social justice, art, erotica and queerness. It’s founders, Chris and Eric Phillips along with Raquel Fedato started the platform as a blog and then quickly expanded it into a multidisciplinary event comprising their infamous monthly parties, workshops, film screenings and quarterly magazine.
Pornceptual magazine’s latest issue, Porn Guerilla, seeks to discover whether ‘porn can be a weapon for social change’ and interrogates the opinion of artists, pornographers, performers and poets alike - asking to redefine and challenge the normativity in porn, sex and self-expression. Fontana’s performance at the party is the physical embodiment of many of the topics Pornceptual covers, from sexual desires, tensions and expressions to its subjectivity and objectivity through to its representation in culture and media. The way Fontana oozes both femininity and masculinity in such an aesthetically pleasing way leaves me gasping for more, so I wrote to her to find out more about what she’s all about.
Yet if you’re wondering who Fontana is, you might be asking yourself the wrong question. Fontana, is - and is not. She can be playful yet serious. Dominant and passive. Feminine yet masculine. Strong and gentle. A goddess and a mortal. A madonna but also a whore. Perhaps, one could say Fontana is representative of the dialectical discourse between the seemingly opposing notions of sex, gender, expected behaviour, motherhood and power. What Fontana isn’t, is a preacher, a teacher, a mother, a missionary on the road to convert all the ‘non-believers’ with her motherly sinuous charm - in fact, she’s not here to give any answers at all, “her main role is to help raise questions” not answer them. If Fontana appears paradoxical, that’s because she is.
Fontana’s performance is glittered with exaggerations, her body being covered in bulging breast-like appendages filled with nutritious fluid that bounce, jiggle and leak as she dances on stage. She presents herself overly pregnant with femininity and exploding with masculinity - subverting the tenderness and nurture of the female anatomy to use it as a weapon, a phallic pistol against the pre-established notions of gender and sexuality. Fontana creates “whacky associations to show her breasts as more powerful than penises could ever be, having 50 ejaculating devices instead of one”, and in a world where being ‘gifted’ with an ejaculating penis still means being treated and recognised as somewhat superior, Fontana playfully yet sternly reminds us of the power all females possess. Power, is not about being born in a certain sex nor is it about possessing the physical requirement of having a penis. Power, is about confidence, strength and using one’s sexuality to create art and start a discourse not only with others but amongst ourselves too. “My body says one thing, my mind something else - sometimes they agree and sometimes they don’t” - Fontana’s nature welcomes the paradox of the dichotomy, to her, opposites can co-exist side by side without clashing, but rather by creating a multiplicity of feelings, experiences and states through which she exposes the “complex experience of my body and my role in society, which is full of contradictions that exist both inside and outside of me.”
Fontana to me appears as an anti-essentialist in a Foucaultian way - rejecting the notion that there are specific grounded properties that, in this case, are necessary for all women to possess in order for themselves to be called ‘women’ at all. Both the biological, and thus having breasts, wombs and child-bearing capacities and socially constructed notions of ‘womanhood’, therefore being ‘feminine’, ‘submissive’ or ‘emotional’ are rejected by Fontana and her transhuman, goddess-like body.
"Fontana is sexy but isn’t afraid to be strong, does not associate femininity with weakness or subordination, does not glorify motherhood in the sense of purity but also does not refuse to be a sex-symbol.” Arguably the playfulness and eroticism in sex stems from the division of power relations - the exertion of power over the other coupled with the sacrifice of power when one consciously chooses to subordinate their power to the other. It’s sexy. Fontana knows this - that’s why she’s both maternally submissive in way, by sacrificing her ballooned breasts and squirting their nurturing serum all over her ‘babies’ and equally dominant by displaying this very maternal nature as powerful and hypersexy through the still very taboo practice of public breastfeeding.
Pornceptual not only gives performers like Noemi an opportunity and space where she is “free as an artist and female-identifying being to express and explore the sexual and erotic part of performance work” but also allows for the audience to engage and critically question and challenge the roles, behaviours and power dynamics that never cease to concern, confuse and shock our society. Pornceptual does this by using the destabilising power pornography exerts in order to start a discourse, incite change and show the body along with its beauty and sexuality as a tool for activism.