If you look at it long enough…
By Paul Hallam
Introduction by Gary Wickham
Edited by Rodrigo Maltez Novaes
84 pages 210mm x 148mm
Design and Illustrations by Chagrin
ISBN: 978 0 9933272 2 3
10 December 2015
Metaflux // Incandescent Bodies
Click here to buy
Originally written for an academic journal, If you look at it long enough... is primarily a personal account of Paul Hallam’s recollections of “self-abuse” through the consumption of porn over several decades. Challenging the familiar form of an “academic essay,” this autobiographical narrative raises several questions in relation to our contemporary morals related to sex in general, and more specifically, to gay pornography. Unapologetic about the author’s fascination with porn, and the intimate pleasures attained therefrom, If you look at it long enough… cuts through the veneer of social hypocrisy by indirectly, but insistently, reminding us that conventional models of happiness are to be challenged without fear, both in our personal lives and in the world-at-large.
Now edited for the first time as a book with an introduction by Gary Wickham and a new short essay by the author, reflecting his shifting feelings on pornography since its original publication, this often witty, moving, and profound essay should now reach a wider readership.
“Hallam’s almost Proustian account of the role of pornography in stimulating personal and historical memory is an important and original perspective.” — Jeffrey Escoffier, Author of American Homo: Community and Perversity; Editor of Sexual Revolution.
”The essay is a frank and serious, but seriously witty, description of a lifetime as a consumer of (mainly gay) pornography. Although dispassionate, Hallam's narrative of "self-abuse", as he calls it, is not detached; and although, as viewer, he is physically and temporally detached from the actors he is watching, the experience is not lacking in passion. Nor is his account of it. He identifies and evaluates crucial aspects of the relationship between the pleasures of masturbation and broader aspects of his development as an artist and as an individual. Even if nostalgia is one of the motivating factors he names, the fact that he is both a film-maker and a writer makes this project much more than a mere indulgence in nostalgia for porn perdu. He is thinking about the ways in which we make mental visuals and narratives of intimacy to enhance our humanity. Perhaps intimacy is itself our most reassuring fetish.” – Gregory Woods Author of Homintern: How Gay Culture Liberated the Modern World, A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition, and Articulate Flesh: Male Homo-Eroticism and Modern Poetry.
Paul Hallam has written or co-written several screenplays including A Kind of English (Ruhul Amin), Caught Looking (Constantine Giannaris), Nighthawks, Strip Jack Naked (Ron Peck) and Cannes Critics’ Prize winner Young Soul Rebels (Isaac Julien). The script of the film was published by the British Film Institute in Diary of a Young Soul Rebel. His play, The Dish, was performed in London, New York and Toronto. A BBC Radio 4 adaptation of The Dish was broadcast in 1998. In the late 1970s he was part of the independent film group, Four Corners. The group set up a cinema and film workshop in Bethnal Green, London.
Many of his essays, articles and reviews have appeared in a range of books, journals and magazines. His first book, The Book of Sodom (Verso) is a very personal look at the idea of the “wicked city”. The book emerged from a repeated city walk in Clerkenwell, London. He wrote the title essay for Estate, a Fugitive Images book.
In recent years Paul has collaborated on many short films, Soho, a film by Ron Peck and Paul Hallam, King's Cross, a film by Kate Boyd and Paul Hallam, and the autobiographical The Last Biscuit (Paul Hallam and Andrea Luka Zimmerman).
He was a former writer in Residence, and cultural studies tutor at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. He moved to Istanbul in 2008, and taught at Istanbul University. He recently left teaching to focus on new writing.
He is at work on a new book, and a feature film set in Turkey, provisionally titled The Turkish Dormitory and a second project around Charles Laughton. He has also been a script advisor on a new feature length documentary about Yilmaz Guney by Ilker Savaskurt, Ballad of the Exiles. All of these recent projects are in collaboration with the producer, Abbas Nokhasteh (Openvizor).
The extensive Paul Hallam Archive (also in collaboration with Openvizor) is housed at the Bishopsgate Institute in London. A series of films concerning the Archive and archiving have recently been produced.
In 2015 Paul entered into collaboration with Metaflux Publishing to republish, redesign and newly introduce some of his earlier work, but also to produce new work around sexuality.
Gary Wickham graduated with honors in philosophy from Miami University of Ohio in 1990. He subsequently received a Ph.D in philosophy from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1997, and an M.S.W. from Hunter College in 1998. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW-R), Gary has been living and working in New York City since then, most recently as the Director of an Office of Mental Health-licensed supportive housing program in Midtown Manhattan. He also donates time reviewing and cataloging archival material at the LGBT Community Center National History Archive.