How to have SEX in public (and get away with it)

1. Do it in a gallery and make it art. A rental space can lend a certain seriousness to the act itself: “she actually paid to do this?” Paying ‘artist fees’ is also a nice strategy (next time Darren, I promise). Having a background in art, or working at an established art institution will help you explain why sex in a gallery is actually contemporary art: you know, meat dresses and piss Christs. You may also want to give them a brief history of art: ‘Fauves’ actually does mean “wild beasts.”

2. Choosing an appropriate person is crucial to the success of your public sex. You need someone who is not going to treat it as precious or call you the next day. Make it plain that this is for “everyone’s eyes only,” and that you’re clearly not interested in a ‘relationship’ or something horrifically normal like that. It helps if you’ve fucked this person before, since awkward public sex really stands out.

3. Make plans. Invite said public sex partner over for tea and talk about why you want to do it with him or her. Asking politely for public sex can help smooth over the initial shock of the question, as does eyelash batting and thigh stroking. When you are together look up the Criminal Code of Canada on the Internet to see how you can actually do this without being arrested (‘art’ doesn’t always come to the rescue). This should make your partner feel better.

4. Don’t tell your partner that you have your period on the day that you are doing your performance (sorry O’Donnell). Take him or her out for a stiff martini instead, and brainstorm ways to get more government funding for your art projects or, even better, corporate sponsorship.

5. Hate social ceremony. Give your little sex project a title like “excuses, excuses,” so you don’t ever actually have to give any. Send press releases asking people to look in a window without disclosing what they will see. This is the art of intervention and it works. It helps too, if you are an inter-racial couple (make it political!), or if you prominently display your partner’s bald spot, contextualizing the act with statements like, “we feel that balding men’s sexuality is not fairly represented in mainstream culture.” Being the one that does the fucking (i.e. the top) helps ward off any feminists that think your act is somehow retrograde.

6. Do it in the middle of the day and wave at passers-by. If you’re going to do something in public, you have to acknowledge your viewer. Art, after all, is made to be seen.

7. Try many different positions—-including doggy-style—-and capture all of it on camera. As a gesture for those who couldn’t make it to see the actual performance, play the documentation in situ on a large monitor 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Art, after all, should not be elitist.

8. Give it punctum! Wear interesting clothes, talk while you’re screwing, or lay your underwear on the floor of the gallery. Add a prop that you can keep in the space, or better yet, use something that is already there. You have to give viewers something else to focus on because they are going to feel really uncomfortable watching this (they too are in public watching and people are watching them watching…)

9. Don’t get off! Either of you! Your motives are artistic, not selfish.

10. Tour your exhibition, so galleries actually pay you to come and screw in public. Let them know that this is an easy thing to do: there is no shipping, customs, or insurance, no need for art-installers or expensive gallery construction, and the dates are always flexible.

Emelie-Chhangur Stone is a Toronto-based artist and curator. She coordinated the video portion of Canzine 2003; it did not include the video mentioned above. Excuses excuses, a joint project between Ms. Chhangur-Stone and Darren O’Donnell, was recorded and then installed at Zsa Zsa Gallery in Toronto from April 1–15, 2004.

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