EUPHORIC FEMME: Teresa Ascencao

Canadian artist Teresa Ascencao has created a collaborative platform for an on-going exploration of women’s sexuality.

Canadian artist Teresa Ascencao has created a collaborative platform for an on-going exploration of women’s sexuality. Euphoric Femme is a “progressive construction of woman’s sexual imagery” fueled entirely by its participants.

Teresa’s interest in Sexology is based on women’s sexual expression and self-representation through today’s ubiquitous digital tools. The process is simple: a participant takes a digital photograph during a particularly euphoric act (masturbation) and “ornamentalizes” the image to her liking. Teresa provides step-by-step instructions for both image making and sound recording. For the latter, only a telephone is required. Teresa has partnered with composer Chris Rolfe , who engineers each recording into the audible landscape of Euphoric Femme. Current submissions can be viewed on the online project gallery.

The results are sublime mandalas of pleasure, fusing the auto-erotic with a greater sacred self: the collective identity that contemplates vanities of the body far more than its transcendent pleasure. The works in Euphoric Femme aren’t tainted by the pleasure-as-weapon tactics of media as we know it. Each mandala is a contemplative uniqueness of tantric transmutation. The emotional fingerprint of female ecstasy. The works feel multi-petaled, quietly at ease, glowing with light.

Seeing the works on the online gallery, I realized just how much the mandalas resemble traditional rose windows of Gothic religious architecture. Rose windows were once called “Catherine Windows”, after Saint Catherine of Alexandria, who was to be executed on a spiked wheel. By merely touching the wheel, Catherine dismantled it to pieces. Touch and shatter, indeed.  

Likewise, Teresa has dismantled inherent elitisms of Religion and Art by democratizing the process of creating this work. Independently of faith or figure, Teresa has launched a platform for further discussion and awareness of the sacred sexuality of women.  The artist also maintains an incredible blog of her inspirations and historical context of Euphoric Femme, exploring women’s sexuality from Teresa of Avila to Nao Bustamente.  If you identify as a woman and would like to participate, find out how at Euphoric Femme.

Title: Euphoric Femme
Co-creators: Augusta Shaw, Andrea Luxton, Aurora King, Jess MG, Teresa Ascencao (amongst other not listed)
Year: 2009