Stripping the Large Glass: An Exploration in Duchampian Bachelors and Brides

The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even, or more commonly referred to as the Large Glass (1913-23) is a conundrum, a discombobulating manifestation and amalgamation of modern sexual iconography laced with esoteric, mathematical, religious, literary, and even comical undertones. Duchamp himself, regarding his puzzling art, confessed the deliberate experimentation of the Large Glass, a project he admittedly began without solid preconceived direction or intention, a project which he worked on and off for ten years, and finally abandoned unfinished because of heightening boredom associated with the pursuit. Books have been written on the Large Glass alone, scholars desperately trying to unlock its hidden meanings and agendas, and thus creating more and more auras of mythical allure to be attached to the piece.

With so much speculation and hypotheses on what exactly the Large Glass is, it seems as though the work itself has been clouded over the decades by the postulations of hyper-definitive academicians tossing theories of alchemical juxtapositions and incestual desire into the hazy pseudo-reality of the fourth dimension. It is imperative at this point in time to conclude that the Large Glass will never be "deciphered." It is not a neo-Rosetta Stone and no neo-Jean-Francois Champollion will come along and decode the mysterious language of some parallel galaxy where Barbarella brides reign over Brave New World bachelors. Any "meaning" the Large Glass could spawn would defy rational and natural logic. Indeed, it is a puzzle of sorts, but there is no right, if any way of solving it. Its existence is rooted in modernism, and at the same time foreshadows postmodernism, an existence that is fluid, non-tactile, and unexplainable. Having said this, how do we explain that which is unexplainable? How do we attempt to arrive at a solution to a puzzle that cannot be solved? The answer is simple—we do not. Instead, the most relevant way of approaching the Large Glass is as approaching a mirror. Instead of attempting to decipher the abstract content within the Large Glass as a means to an end, we must observe those elements which the work reflects. The Large Glass resonates certain ideas and emotions relevant to, not only Duchamp himself, but to the twentieth century, to modernism, and more importantly to postmodernism. For the purposes of this investigation, I will attempt to explore the significance the Large Glass holds in reference to our contemporary understanding of the modern and postmodern iconography of sexuality and gender, those crucial hegemonies which have come to define such a large part of our contemporary cultural and artistic dialectic and aesthetic.

Before diving into this discourse it is necessary to describe the physicality of this work as it is unorthodox and complex. Notes describing and addressing the work are given to us by Duchamp, which he wrote simultaneous to the construction of the piece, but were not available in published form as the Green Box until 1934 (Sanouillet v). Originally, Duchamp had intended for the notes to be available as a catalogue of sorts upon viewing the piece. However, this was never enacted. Still, Duchamp emphasized the criticality of the notes to the work (an attempt on his behalf at removing a purely retinal aspect), and thus most of our contemporary understanding schematically of the piece derives directly from these notes.

First, let us address the basic elements of the iconographic construction itself. It is comprised of two clear glass panels, one over the other, and is freestanding to a height over nine feet tall (Tomkins 81). The panels are divided equally by a horizontal band referred to multipurposely as the cooler, the horizon, the Wilson-Lincoln effect, and the Bride's clothing. Iconographically the Bride's domain is the top half, while the Bachelor's reside in the lower portion. Let us begin with the top portion, the Bride. Basically, as Duchamp states in the Green Box, the Bride is a motor, and more precisely an internal combustion engine (Tomkins 91). Her reservoir of love gasoline is located in the bottom left-hand corner of the top panel. Just above the reservoir of love gasoline is the desire magneto. Just above the reservoir is a piece Duchamp refers to as "a motor with quite feeble cylinders" (Tomkins 91). This is connected to the Pendu Femelle which Duchamp refers to as the core of the "Bridal imagination" and the seat of her desire (Tomkins 91). To the right of this Pendu Femelle is an insectoid-looking piece referred to as the wasp or sex cylinder. This acts as the nerve center of her desire. Above the wasp and at the uppermost portion of the panel is the cinematic blossoming, which Duchamp stated was to act as a halo of the Bride (Tomkins 91). Inside the cloud-like formation are three white, crudely rendered squares called draught pistons. The draught pistons are roughly equilateral in size. On the very right side of the panel, just below the cinematic blossoming are nine shots. These are the elements which make up the Bride panel.

Below, in the Bachelors' domain there exists nine rust-colored forms. These are the nine malic moulds and they represent, indirectly, the bachelors themselves. These forms resemble Duchamp's 1914 work on glass referred to as Neuf Moules Malic (Tomkins 89). The malic moulds are outlined in lead wire painted red. From the top portion of each mould, there runs to the center of the glass capillary tubes. These tubes converge into a series of funnel-shaped objects called the sieves. These sieves form an arch, or rainbow shape approximately in the center of the lower panel. The first three sieves at left are light in color, while the four arching over on the right side become dark in color. They were allowed to be covered in dust for six months and then varnished over (Tomkins 89). Duchamp refers to these four dark sieves as parasols. Just below the sieves, or parasols, is the chocolate grinder, also rendered in previous works. This is the central object in the male domain. A vertical shaft rises from the center of the chocolate grinder. This shaft is called the bayonet, and upon it is balanced a large pair of horizontal scissors. Directly left of the chocolate grinder and just below the nine malic moulds is a type of carriage contraption called the glider or sleigh. It rests on runners and contains a water wheel.

The only elements left to be mentioned of the Bachelor domain are the oculist witnesses located on the very right portion of the panel. They are three circular designs resembling early eye charts optometrists would have used for eye exams (Tomkins 90). They are stacked vertically just below the scissors. They are rendered in a process of silver scratching. The same process was used in Duchamp's work of 1918 entitled To be Looked at with One Eye, Close to, for Almost an Hour (Tomkins 90). This is the complete construction of the lower panel.

The functioning of the Bride machine is abstract at best. Her sole purpose is to make love, but it is a love act of onanism with a "touch of malice" (Tomkins 91). She secretes her own love gasoline, also referred to as a timid power or automobiline. This occurs when the male splashes are cast upward through the oculist witnesses. The splashes never reach the Bride, but instead become deflected by the horizontal panel dividing the glass—her clothing or the horizon (Tomkins 91). Next, the splashes are cast upward toward the nine shots. It is here where the Pendu Femelle takes over, whose commands are transmitted by the draft pistons (Tomkins 91). However, when they hit the Bride's clothing, the cooler, a clockwork contraption called the Boxing Match, which was never executed, was to electrically cause the Bride's clothing to fall (Tomkins 91). The Bride begins to secrete her love gasoline at the offset of the sparks created by this electrical stripping. Although Duchamp does refer to her as the "apotheosis of virginity," she has her own desire, or "blank desire" (Tomkins 92). Because she is a type of femme fatale, she not chastely, but "warmly rejects the Bachelor's brusque offer" (Tomkins 93). Moreover, she supplies the sparks from her desire magneto igniting the motor with feeble cylinders, causing, or allowing her own stripping (Tomkins 93). She is a willing participant and the ultimate activator in her complete nudity and she, not the Bachelors, ignites the desire for her own fulfillment.

In attempting to understand the Bride as sexual figure, it has been popular among scholars since the work's initial display to attempt to psychoanalyze Duchamp in a sense, to relate the figure of the Bride to his own sexual relationships. This may seem rather off-target as the Large Glass is not direct autobiography. However, this is a dimension worthy of some attention as sexuality runs amuck throughout Duchamp's work and seems to be the life force of his entire artistic career. Duchamp's relationships with women, in a time when women were gaining much more independence both in France and in the United States, deserves significant attention when addressing such a work encoded with obvious sexual innuendoes. There were at least two intense feminine presences that inevitably had a profound effect on Duchamp's formative years. These were his mother Mme Duchamp and his sister Suzanne.

Let us begin with his mother Marie-Caroline-Lucie Duchamp. Duchamp never spoke much of his mother except in one interview; at least, he spoke of his dislike of her and resentment to her preference for his two older sisters Magdeleine and Yvonne (Seigel 67). From what we know about her, Mme Duchamp was not very present during the artist's childhood. She remained psychologically aloof from the younger children, Marcel and Suzanne, and her hearing impairment distanced her even further (Seigel 18). It is interesting to note in his painting Sonata of 1911, the crude rendering of his mother as she observes a musical session performed by his three sisters Magdeleine, Yvonne, and Suzanne. The face of Mme Duchamp conveys such sternness in contrast to the depiction of the sisters. Moreover, the fact that Mme Duchamp was deaf and unable to hear the music being performed by her three daughters creates an even eerier, almost malevolent separation.

Despite his disdain for his mother and his resentment toward his two older sisters, the young Duchamp found a close female counterpart and confidant in his younger sister Suzanne (Seigel 35). Suzanne was closest to him in age and the two children were playmates and inevitably shared a close bond due to this closeness in age and also because of their mother's psychological separation from them. Certain scholars have attempted to uncover an incestuous relationship between the two siblings. We have no direct evidence of this, and whether an actual physical act ever occurred between the two adolescents, the two undoubtedly shared some psychosexual bond due to their coming of age sexually at about the same time. In all likelihood this remained a normal relationship, though, and perhaps it would be unfair to place too much emphasis sexually on the figure of Suzanne. Yet, the two siblings were without a doubt extremely close. Suzanne's marriage of 1911 must have had some significant effect on Duchamp, for it is the following year that he begins gathering ideas for the Large Glass (Seigel 34).

A superfluous feminine power that is both passionate and desiring on one hand and cold and malicious on the other is at the core of the Large Glass. If we approached the work in an altogether logical frame of mind we would be tempted, and would undeniably try to explain, albeit via psychoanalysis, this split female persona as direct reference to Mme Duchamp and Suzanne. Yet, the Large Glass cannot be explained in such a direct manner and when approaching gender in this piece, we must constantly be aware of the pitfalls of a too rational discourse. However, these relationships are as legitimate as any other element when approaching the Large Glass and it is theoretically feasible to keep them in mind as yet additional pieces to this reflecting jig-saw puzzle.

Now let us turn our attention to the Bachelor domain. This lower Bachelor sphere, or eros matrix as Duchamp refers to it in the Green Box, is the weaker of the halves (Sanouillet 51). The Bachelors take on a pathetic position in the glass, in subordination to the Bride who hovers about them. They sing a pathetic litany: "slow life, vicious circle, onanism..., junk of life, cheap construction..." (Sanouillet 56). Duchamp refers to their construction as a "celibate machine" (Sanouillet 51). The fact that they are moulds yet to be filled with a type of fluid relates them to the limp phallus. Then, they are filled with the illuminating gas which then solidifies, and "before becoming an explosive liquid, it takes the form of a fog of solid spangles of frosty gas, all this by the phenomenon of stretching in the unit of length" (Sanouillet 53). Although the moulds are probed, hardened, and stretched, they are, while not exactly denied ejaculation, denied the orgasmic force of ejaculation. At the point just before climax, the potential "explosive liquid" morphs into mere "frosty gas," or a "fog lighter than air" (Sanouillet 53). Orgasm (and perhaps their manhood), in spite of the area of splashes, has been denied—they return to their limp form, and the vicious cycle of onanism continues, only to be repeated infinitely.

The chocolate grinder is the central agent to this masturbatory cycle. Its origin comes from Duchamp's Chocolate Grinder, No. 2 of 1914 (Moure 20). It is executed in perfect perspective, its three rollers resting on a plain Louis XV-style chassis with the cords of its drums sewn into the canvas, a rendering which causes the illusion of painterly execution to disappear. According to his notes in the Green Box, Duchamp states that the machine operates "spontaneously" without anything or anyone to activate it, for the simple reason that "the bachelor grinds his chocolate himself"—a truly onanistic premise of existence that conditions the interpretative relationship of the subject with everything surrounding it, whether persons or things, for it produces its own configurations (Sanouillet 68). The allegorical component of the spontaneity of the contraption is essential to the whole concept of the Large Glass. Duchamp's choice of the image of a chocolate grinder, however, provides even more evidence to the ideas the object invokes.

The chocolate grinder was an object Duchamp saw frequently as a child in Rouen through the window of a confectioner's shop (Tomkins 29). It was inevitably an object of child desire for him for it was the shiny, mysterious contraption that produced candy—the epitome of child lust. Duchamp himself claimed to have been utterly fascinated by it. The resurfacing of this object in his adult life and the placement of it as the core of the masculine domain within the Large Glass forces us to consider the sexual iconography of the object. The fact that Duchamp references the object as precisely masculine, while at the same time it being a focus of his young desire, spawns issues not exactly homoerotic, but rather homosocial, to use the term spawned by Eve Sedgwick:

Although Sedgwick nowhere gives a hard and fast definition of homosociality, it is clear from her discussion [within Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire] that homosociality describes a network of relationships that are themselves a derivative of patriarchal social and sexual organization...[with] patriarchy [being] ‘relations between men which have a material base, and which, though hierarchical, establish or create interdependence and solidarity among men that enable them to dominate women' (Solomon-Godeau 48).

It is interesting to note in this early act of voyeurism by the young Duchamp, with masculine desire directed upon a masculine object, the feminine presence within the erotic instance, rather than being completely removed, has been suppressed. The feminine role in the desiring of the phallic object has been cast both onto the chocolate grinder itself as the object desired by the male viewer. Thus, there is a masculine element taking on a typically feminine stance in both cases.

The placement of this masculine object in the lower portion of the Large Glass, in subordination to the Bride, however, seems to invert this patriarchal hierarchy outlined by Sedgwick. The feminine presence, and more precisely the presence of feminine sexuality, has strengthened, coming to have eclipsed that of the male domain, and thus having risen above it.

A strengthening feminine presence runs the gamut throughout Duchamp's career. Let us briefly go back to his early caricature sketches depicting street culture in turn-of-the-century Paris. In the first years of twentieth century France there were fierce debates about the social position of women (Ades 19). Middle-class women were demanding changes to the civil code so that they might have greater control of family finances (Ades 19). In 1906, women were given the right to work as taxi drivers (Ades 15). In 1907, married women won the right to freely dispose of their own salaries (Ades 19). Because of the 1880 introduction of secondary education for girls, more women were beginning to enter the professions (Ades 19). Moreover, the birth rate in turn-of-the-century France began to drastically decline (Ades 19). A conservative backlash spawned anxiety about the changing roles of women, which came to find expression in two popular stereotypes of the day—the femme homme and the belle époque (Ades 20).

Duchamp's early caricature drawings embraced both of these stereotypes. His 1909-10 Young Man Standing, misleading in its title, actually depicts a femme home or "man-woman" (Ades 20). The belle époque figure, that of a scatterbrained, flirtatious woman can be found in the 1907 Flirt. It depicts a silly woman seated at a piano inviting an equally flighty young man to come play with her. While the images of women were becoming more outgoing and assertive, those of men were becoming aloof, observant, and withdrawn. The rebellious male bohemian of the nineteenth century was giving way to the dandy of the early twentieth century. By 1909, Duchamp was drawing his own dandies. His Man Wearing a Top Hat depicts the dandyism that had grown into the intellectual, well-dressed, single man.

Duchamp's inspiration for the dandy figure was principally drawn from the poetry of Jules Laforgue (1860-87), which stressed the despair, pessimism, pettiness, and meaninglessness of urban existence (Ades 11). Duchamp applies this Laforgue influence directly to his caricatures. In Dimanches of 1909...

Life is [depicted as] an endless parade of desolat[ion]...where love is regarded as a mental invention to conceal a monotonous round of desires: Histoire humaine—histoire d'un celibitaire (‘Human history—history of a bachelor') (Ades 22).

This image displays not real celibacy, but the idea that life can only be lived in bachelorhood due to doubt in the possibility of reciprocal sexual love. Thus, in this growing image of the lone dandy, there is an increasing pessimism toward the new, liberated woman. The dandy removes himself from the courting ritual, shunning trivialized love, marriage, and even flirtation. Instead, he adopts a superior position of cool mockery and emotional detachment, the dandy sets himself up as the rival to the new woman. Yet, before this rivalry can occur, there must first be the knowledge of previous defeat on behalf of the bachelor.

The Bachelors within the Large Glass represent this status—the pre-dandy status. These bachelors are not dandies. Their isolation is not a willing detachment, but rather one of loss, of defeat. They lust after the virgin who has achieved Bride status, not by their deflowering, but by her own sexual manipulation. She fuels her own desire by manipulating the Bachelor's lust, but remains separated, never allowing their penetration of her domain. They are forced to remain below, isolated forever in the very common, non-dandy positions of uniformed servitude, those of priest, delivery boy, flunky, undertaker, gendarme, cuirassier, stationmaster, busboy, and policeman. The Bride climaxes over and over again, infinitely by her own empowerment while the Bachelors are forced to remain in an endless masturbatory cycle without achieving orgasm. Their would-be-ejaculation becomes a gas for the further fueling of the Bride's motor. The Bachelor's are never allowed to achieve the status of groom or husband. They are divorced from the rituals of both marriage and intercourse. Furthermore, while the Bride discards her virgin status by her own deflowering, she never becomes a wife. She never becomes an object to be fully possessed, although she teases the Bachelors with the possibility of her stripping. She is the femme fatale, forever in control of the situation. She resides in the position of the new, liberated woman.

While the Bride is vital and powerful, the Bachelors are locked in a state of morbidity. An element of death is suggested by the previous work entitled the Cemetery of Uniforms and Liveries No. 2 of 1914, of which eight of the nine Bachelors (malic moulds) are depicted (Ades 17). The Bachelors are sexless creatures, in a sense already in the cemetery. Moreover, it is in the bachelor half of the Large Glass where Duchamp's dust breeding exists. The Bachelors have been doomed to the trash bin, their very own hell. They are phantoms whose only encounters with life are through the oculist witnesses, which provide the corridor to the Bride's fleshly heaven above.

This correlation of heaven and hell within the Large Glass brings to light the notion of the work as reference to religion, to Christianity, and more precisely as an assumption of the Virgin piece. The Bride as an "apotheosis of virginity" takes the superior position of the Virgin, bride of the godhead while the Bachelors, like the saints, are left in the terrestrial realm below (Sanouillet 39). Duchamp describes the cinematic blossoming as the "halo of the Bride, the sum total of her splendid vibrations" (Sanouillet 42). Furthermore, the three draft pistons within the cinematic blossoming could be read as a reference to the holy Trinity. This idea, however, becomes problematic when we go back to the notions of morbidity that the Bachelors seem to express. If the Bachelors were related to the saints and the Bride to the Virgin, a tone of rebirth and salvation would seem appropriate. However, this is a mood that never surfaces within the Large Glass. It remains too pessimistic, perhaps relating to Duchamp's agnosticism. We do not, however, have enough evidence for this, and when compared to the later work Etant Donnés: 1. la chute d'eau, 2. le gaz d'eclairage, this theory seems more unlikely.

It has become common to parallel the Large Glass with Duchamp's last work Etant Donnés, (1946-66), revealed after his death in 1968 (Ades 190). Etant Donnés in many ways seems to pick up on themes Duchamp abandoned with the Large Glass, being both complementary, yet opposite to the previous work. Like the Large Glass, Etant Donnés is executed on a large scale. While the Large Glass is transparent and the viewer is able to walk around it, Etant Donnés is a closed sphere that forever remains distant from the viewer. It is comprised of a wall of brick and mortar containing a closed, wooden door. It is only when the viewer closely approaches the wooden door that he or she notices two small holes drilled through the wood. Upon peering through the holes the viewer sees a few feet away the shocking image of a realistically rendered nude female torso with legs splayed out to the spectator. Her face and head are completely obstructed by the side of the brick wall, except for some cascading strands of blonde hair. Lying on a bed of real twigs, she holds a faint gas lamp in her raised left hand, beyond which stretches an otherworldly landscape background rendered two-dimensionally.

Unlike the Large Glass, most of Etant Donnés is three-dimensional, and rendered not abstract, but very representational. The manner in which the nude must be viewed, through the two holes as a Peeping Tom or voyeur, seems to allude to the Bride of the Large Glass and to the oculist witnesses. In a 1969 Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin article, Anne d'Harnoncourt and Walter Hopps suggest:

Perhaps the Glass and Etant Donnés...are the projections of the same invisible configuration onto two different dimensional systems...Perhaps the relationship of the Large Glass to Etant Donné that one is the apparition, or even the ‘negative apparition' of the other ‘negative' being used by Duchamp in the sense of a photographic negative...(d'Harnoncourt 17).

For Duchamp, as master of paradox and "meta-irony," perhaps this is the case. However, there are elements of both works that do not seem to parallel. For example, in Etant Donnés, the nude appears to be dead. Clearly, there are breasts, but the flesh around the pubis seems to be in a state of decay so that the genitalia are not quite discernible. Jean-François Lyotard has even argued that the figure's bulge at the groin suggests an androgynous, male-female identity (Ades 202). While some sense of androgyny might be warranted, the breasts indicate that the figure is in fact female. Furthermore, the death notion seems even more apparent considering the manner in which her body is splayed on a bed of twigs. If this nude somehow relates to the Bride of the Glass, then what has happened to the Bachelors? Has the Bride, the nude, now taken up the morbid state the Bachelors once inhabited? Did the Bachelors somehow make physical contact with the Bride, rape her, and leave her for dead? This is all speculation. We are left with no clear answers, only mere possibilities.

In Postmodernism and the En-Gendering of Marcel Duchamp, Amelia Jones points at a feminist reading of Etant Donnés in relation to the Large Glass. She suggests that Etant Donnés more blatantly depicts male castration anxiety that the Large Glass merely hints at:

The strangely flaccid...body of the figure lying in the bed of twigs is uncanny precisely because she has not a vagina leading into her interior, her womb, but a shallow crevice with no exterior lips at deep internal orifice here. This body refuses...the penetration of turns the gaze back into the look, exposing the insufficiency of masculine attempts at visual flaunts...the female body as violently castrated...the male terror...that forms the basis of what Freud described as male castration anxiety...(Jones 202).

This return of the gaze shocks the viewer. The voyeuristic position becomes obvious through the jolt of castration fear. When viewing the Large Glass, we are not made so overtly aware of our status as Peeping Toms. We are not even initially aware that the image we are viewing is one that reaches far beyond pornography. The Bride and the Bachelors of the Large Glass are not nudes, but rather they are beyond nude—internal organic and mechanical organs and fluids, minus the flesh: "[the] mucous texture of the forms suggests the anatomy of body openings" (Steefel 140). The malic moulds and the Pendu Femelle are the internal tissues and veins of the penis and vagina. Etant Donnés shocks us with the fear that initially escaped us upon viewing the Large Glass. Now, however, peering through the transparent glass we are sickened, frightened of the possibility of our own castration, mutilation—our genitalia being ripped apart and put on display. We want to remove ourselves from this series of voyeurism, greed, lust, manipulation, and finally mutilation. We desire the position of the dandy, removing ourselves from the sex act completely, both as participant and as observer. We become the oculist witness to an early abject and we are made horrified at our previous ignorance:

The body's inside, in that case, shows up in order to compensate for the collapse of the border between inside and outside. It is as if skin, a fragile container, no longer guaranteed the integrity of one's ‘own and clean self' but, scraped or transparent, invisible or taut, gave way before the dejection of its contents...The objection of those flows from within suddenly become the sole ‘object' of sexual desire—a true ‘abject' where man, frightened, crosses over the horrors of maternal bowels and, in an immersion that enables him to avoid coming face to face with an other, spares himself the risk of castration (Kristeva 53).

Upon viewing the Large Glass, the viewer, whether male or female, takes on roles of both genders. First, there is the masculine perspective of the voyeur, the obtainer of the gaze. This is followed, however, by the fear of being the object viewed, the feminine focal point of the gaze. Through the transparency of the glass, we are allowed to engender ourselves, and through the Bride's stripping, occurs a stripping of our own consciousness. We are allowed to view from both panes of the glass. We as viewers initiate our own androgyny. As Richard Hamilton noted in the French La MARiee mise à nu par ses CÉLibataires, même, the name Marcel is divided in gender, and so are we (d'Harnoncourt 1973:60). We become a dandy, a femme-homme, a voyeur. In our act of viewing the Large Glass we place ourselves in front of the window to be potentially viewed by a viewer on the other side. We become perpetrator and victim in one instant, Bachelor and Bride.

What Duchamp's Large Glass most coherently presents to us is the postmodern notion of the unstable nature of gender difference. This is an exploration he incorporated into his entire career, from his early caricature drawings of femme-hommes and dandies, to the Bride, to his Rrose Selavy persona, to Etant Donnés. The Large Glass, however, still stands as the most monumental culmination of this obsession. As a window on contemporary society and on ourselves, the Large Glass forces us to consider the context of gender and sex within our postmodern culture. The twentieth century gave rise to women's liberation, birth control, and more recently gay rights. Gender roles became less rigid, more fluid, and thus were reconsidered and reassigned. The Large Glass reminds us of the more rigid sexual parameters of our not so distant Modern past, while ushering in the isolation and pessimism that often comes with newly-found freedom. Through this, we become oculist witnesses to our own sexuality, and ultimately, our own identities.


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