Legal Pleasures, Artistic Desires

How the law governs art, sex, and sexuality in India

On one hand, the State enables expressions of desire in art and sexuality, through the instrumentality of law, via recognition and a rights-based discourse. On the other hand, the very same legal instruments restrict expressions of desire in art and sexuality, via regulation and censorship. The infinite varieties of desire in art and sexuality are seen not as emotional and experiential acts of humanity, but as instances of criminality.

What exactly is the role of the law in governing desires vis-a-vis art and sexuality? Why do ‘public’ institutions such as Governments and Courts sit in judgement on ‘private’ matters such as sex? Who decides what is considered obscene, immoral, and unnatural? If beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, why are some visuals and viewing experiences portraying sex and sexuality outside the register of being considered ‘artistic’?

Join author and queer theorist Professor Madhavi Menon and award-winning photographer Dr. Sunil Gupta in this transgressive exchange with MAP’s Surya HK, and explore the fascinating intersections of law, art, and desire.

Speaker Profile

Madhavi Menon

Sunil Gupta

Surya HK

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