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kottke.org posts about Tony Bentley

Hysterical Literature

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 30, 2015

Photographer Clayton Cubitt started a project in 2012 called Hysterical Literature. In each of the project’s resulting videos, a female participant is filmed from the waist up reading a story of her choosing while she is stimulated to orgasm with a vibrator by Cubitt’s partner, Katie James. His first subject was adult film star Stoya; her thoughts on the experience are here.

Vanity Fair recently sent writer Tony Bentley to participate in an HL session. Her reading choice? The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James.

With Katie now in position under the table, takeoff is imminent and the stakes are high: the sessions are a one-shot deal, no retakes, and no editing of the footage after the fact. It was not lost on me that a perfect triangulation between Clayton (auteur, cameraman), Katie (Hitachi artist), and me (the canvas) was in play, and it mirrored my internal mixture of curiosity, exhilaration, and stage fright. I couldn’t help wondering if this adventure qualified as having a threesome with two strangers. But soon enough such intellectualizing sexualizing was rendered naught.

“Rolling,” says Clayton, and everything instantly disappeared except the book in my hands and the words on the page. The world was out and I was on.

By the time I’d read two pages, I was struggling mightily to keep my countenance. “She spent half her time in thinking of beauty, bravery and mag-nan-nnn-im-im-ity…”

There’s no nudity in the videos, but you might still find them NSFW.