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For your glasses only: The Stewardesses and sex in three dimensions

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The Stewardesses (1969) is an unjustifiably neglected experiment in 3-D cinema. The first in a series of hard- and soft-core pornographic features in three dimensions produced in the 1970s, it provides critical opportunity to review a ‘truism’ of media studies: that pornography drives the invention of new technologies. The Stewardesses unwitting reveals how our desire for technology (our wonder at the capacity of film to reach into our space) is at odds with our desire for what it purveys (bodies in states of desire). The film makes us aware of how a 3-D film arouses our glasses, not our eyes. Since 3-D camera lenses could not provide close-ups, the film works without a key ingredient of the pornographic vocabulary. Through 3-D technology, The Stewardesses produces a strange new genre: pornography that fosters attention to peripheral spaces and that discourages the traditional monomaniacal or cyclopic focus of the spectator of pornography.
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Keywords: 3-D; The Stewardesses; arousal; hard-core; illusion; pornography; shadow; soft-core

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Purdue University

Publication date: July 1, 2013

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  • PUBLIC is a beautifully designed peer-reviewed journal founded in Toronto as an intellectual and creative forum that focuses on how theoretical, and critical issues intersect with art and visual culture. Each issue's editors explore a contemporary theme by bringing together a unique assemblage of Canadian and international art projects with writing by scholars, curators, critics, and artists. This, along with book and exhibit reviews, creates an assemblage of artists projects and original writing on prescient contemporary themes in art and culture.
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