“Up with Bottoms. Down with Gods.”
-T Clutch Fleischmann
Gødbottom is an exhibition pertaining to “bottoming,” popular gay slang referring to being the receptive partner during sexual penetration, particularly during anal sex. However, the term is not exclusive to the gay community or anal sex. In BDSM terms, to bottom is to be submissive to another—therefore bottoming would be to be submissive. In French, German and Spanish (Passif, Passiv, Passivo), to bottom is to be passive as opposed to active (Actif, Aktiv, Activo). There is an all too common conflation of bottoming with the feminine and topping with masculinity—a persisting patriarchal ideology of the feminine being passive, submissive, the “bottom.” In etymological terms, from Old English bodan all the way back to Latin Fundus bottom derives from “ground, soil, foundation, lowest or deepest part of anything.” Bottom is a stand-in for the earth, and the earth is to be discovered, claimed and plowed. Emilio Rojas’s video work 1492, in which he shoves one thousand four hundred and ninety two wine corks (the year Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas) up his rectum, makes clear the links to colonialism, particularly to Manifest Destiny. What is to be taken, what is to be given, who is marked and who is the marker?
Gødbottom takes up the term bottoming and unravels it in an expansive cross gender, sexuality and post-colonial manner. Gødbottom is a comparative study of different cultural and historical vernacular for bottoming (Mandarin Chinese: 做零 [Being Zero], Hebrew: נושך כריות, מקבל [Pillow Biter and Receiver], Japanese: Neko [Cat]) and the identity concepts built up around these terms. Persisting patterns of specific power dynamics unsurprisingly emerge. Rather than seeking a definitive result, Condo Association seeks to make empathetic bottom associates with the hopes that some transformative action could emanate from a theoretical “flip” or “bottoming out” of the notion itself. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Jackson Fydim Stacy’s (Australia) video work Dissolve Target of a snake eating its own ass, an ouroboros, and the entire concept of bottoming and topping complete dissolves upon itself.