The joke that became a fetish
Ryuko Azuma is a Japanese illustrator specializing in ero-guro art. The term is a contraption of ‘erotic grotesque nonsense’, which is a genre born in the 1920s among the highbrow critics of Japan’s moral dissolution, roughly reminding of the Weimar republic’s nihilistic cabarets. In other words, Azuma makes a living drawing very weird, disturbing stuff.
This makes him a darling of the local porn industry which – given the laws that prohibits to show uncensored sex – is always on the lookout for strong psychosexual symbols to be used in their videos as a replacement for straight copulation. In early 2010 the artist was tweeting about the results of this schizophrenic approach to pornography, known as kikaku (or ‘project’) videos. In the effort not to show a normal act, producers had created progressively sicker and more abstract concepts, such as bukkake, dehumanization fantasies, kegadoru, nystagmus fetish and so on. «If they go on like this one day they will make a hit out of something like girls licking doorknobs» he joked. But you should never taunt the fate…
A young female photographer, Ai Ehara, took the challenge seriously and becameDoorknob girl. The interesting part of her interpretation was the complete asexuality of her portraits: while each photo can be construed as erotic, no element is actually titillating. The girl is always dressed, often looking bored or absent, and it is only the mind of the viewer to fill in the blanks creating obscene associations.
The two teamed up to involve and photograph more girls, then the meme took a life of its own, spawning infinite spontaneous variations that spread all over the world. As you can see below, Azuma went on creating a series of drawings based on the photos, but if you fancy the doorknob girls, you can satisfy your fetish through the countless blogs chronicling their continuing, inexplicable metaerotic adventures.