Work in Progress

Smack Erotica shoot showcasing the Black Widow Spider by Maya Liyer

Black Widow Spider
(All the photos are at the bottom for those that wish to skip through the creative process)
I was contacted in the summer by Phillip Blakely of Kahboom media, a publisher of Art books in print and online. One of my favourites of theirs is "Kinbaku: The Art of Rope Bondage" , first published in 2013 with an introduction from my “Father” Nawashi Murakawa.
Murakawa has been a dear friend for many years, and I consider him my “Father”, he refers to me as Maya-Chan (ちゃん), a Japanese honorific title used for female family members, or in some contexts a cute and lovable character, reminiscent of the Kawaii culture. Murakawa has been on the alternative scene in London and Japan for many decades, curating and staging live art performances at numerous events including the notoriously renowned fetish club Torture Garden. He has been supremely influential within the rope bondage community and I have had the pleasure of taking to the stage with him and losing myself in the performance.
We have actually produced some beautiful work together over the years, and writing this now has reminded me to wrestle the photos and videos from him, they may well be coming to my projects page soon!
Kinbaku is a fantastic book that I would recommend to anyone with even a passing interest in the ancient Japanese art of rope bondage, a welcome addition to any coffee table.
Phillip called in the summer to discuss one of his new books “Smack Erotica” and asked if I would be willing to create a concept for one of the chapters. He was busy gathering different contributors from a wide variety of backgrounds, with varying degrees of interest and experience in smacking. Kahboom have delved into a few different aspects of the BDSM subculture where there appears to be a growing interest and intrigue amongst the general populous. In this modern digital age, subcultures all over the world are slowly infusing with society and becoming more widespread and influential, and there is a greater thirst for knowledge and experimentation.
BDSM is still considered a taboo in general society and practitioners, or anyone with an interest in anything kinky for that matter, may be labelled anti- social and/or sexually deviant and so on and so forth. Many people can be afraid to live a fulfilling life, having to face the stigmatisation and judgement that an uninformed general public often project onto them.
I am going to explore the subject of censorship, perceptions, reactions and attitudes towards BDSM in a later project, my thoughts and feelings on these matters influenced my approach to this project.
The word “smack” , to me at least, conjures up images from my childhood when it was far more commonplace for parents to smack their children as a punishment. Thankfully in this day and age that practise is now illegal unless the punishment is considered “reasonable”.
Smack is also an onomatopoeic word, in that it sounds like the word it is describing. I have always had a fondness for words like this ie: whip, crack, ouch, slap and spit to pick some words entirely at random, I promise.
Smack also has connotations as slang for heroin and this evoked thoughts of euphoria, compliance, helplessness, poison and addiction.
One character that I often perform is that of a Black Widow Spider - A Femme Fatale, an intoxicating, beautiful yet deadly sexual provocateur, that takes her prey through a trance-inducing dance and seduction. I lead and captivate by drawing a willing submission through addiction to my feminine strength and beauty.
I was keen to add an element of bondage into the performance, I often use bondage and restraint in conjunction with corporal punishment, as it also heightens the feelings of helplessness and submission. Rather than using traditional implements like, cuffs, chains or leather straps, I decided on more of a household object, Cling Film or Saran Wrap as it is referred to in the USA. Cling film is a more familiar object to most people, something they have had experience using, with none of the negative connotations associated with more common methods of bondage.
I also wanted to convey a Black Widow Spider theme incorporating spider web imagery and a mummification of my prey, the use of cling film suited the aesthetics of this theme perfectly. I decided on the addition of a red ribbon to bond the Black Widow Spider with her prey, symbolising the Chinese myth of the red thread of fate.
The shoot took place in an old, disused windmill and surrounding grounds in Cambridge England. I am posting the raw images from the shoot here before I retouch them in Photoshop. I will be taking you through that creative process soon. I am currently editing the video footage from the day and this will be available on my YouTube channel shortly. I hope to showcase a creative and artistic portrayal of the act of smacking.
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