From September 10 to 20, 2009, the Institute for Contemporary Culture (ICC) at the Royal Ontario Museum
(ROM) presents Green Porno: Scandalous Sea, an art installation and series of short films written by and starring internationally-renowned actress and filmmaker Isabella Rossellini. Presented in partnership with the Toronto International Film Festival®: Future Projections, these two- to four-minute films, three of which receive their world premieres, illustrate in a humourously entertaining yet scientifically accurate portrayal the reproductive habits and ecological challenges of marine life. A variety of intricate and oversized paper sculptures and colourful costumes created for the Green Porno series accompanies the films.
Green Porno: Scandalous Sea is displayed in the Spirit House, accessible for free via the Bloor Street entrance of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal. The films are played in a continuous loop during regular Museum hours. As the series contains frank language and simulated mating rituals, visitor discretion is advised.
Ive always been interested in animals and animal behavior, said Rossellini. Among the things you read about is their sexual lives, their reproduction, if they take care of their babies, what they eat, etc. And everybodys interested in sex, so I figured, lets go there! I wanted people to laugh, but then to leave and say, Wow. I didnt know about that.
Green Porno: Scandalous Sea
The Green Porno series was originally commissioned for the Sundance Channel in 2008. Season One explored the mating rituals of insects while Season Two delves into sex under the sea. Conceived, written and co-directed by Rossellini, she performs the role of a creature being portrayed in each short film and explains in first-person narrative the particulars of each animals reproductive habits in a simplified and amusing story, featuring bright costumes and props made of paper. The ROMs exhibition will feature nine episodes from Season Two of Green Porno including Angler Fish, Limpet, Barnacle, The Dangling Organ, Starfish and Why Vagina. Three episodes, Bon Appétit: Shrimp, Bon Appétit: Squid, Bon Appétit: Anchovy, are world premiere showings.
Complementing the films are a variety of oversized paper props created for the Green Porno series, including a fishing vessel, a net full of bycatch, a whale, squids, and a school of anchovies. The exhibition also includes text panels written by Rossellini and marine biologist Claudio Campagna highlighting the ecological plight of marine animals as well as a list of seafood that is safe to eat and others to avoid on the basis of sustainability. The messages of conservation and sustainability are as important to Rossellini as the scientific accuracy and entertainment value of the films.
In addition to the ROMs exhibition, the Toronto International Film Festival offers Green Porno: Bon Appétit, a screening followed by a talk with Rossellini and marine biologist Claudio Campagna, consultant for the series. The discussion emphasizes the environmental context of the project and features world premieres of new Green Porno episodes as well as a short documentary about elephant seals and their mating habits. Green Porno: Bon Appétit takes place Friday September 11 at 8:30 pm at the Yonge and Dundas AMC.
Rossellini began her career as a model and graced over 500 magazine covers including Vogue, Elle and Vanity Fair, working with such renowned photographers as Richard Avedon and Bruce Weber. As an acclaimed actress, she has worked on numerous feature films in both Europe and the U.S.A., most notably, Blue Velvet, Big Night and Fearless. She has recently appeared in television programs including Napoleon, Merlin and 30 Rock. Her first foray behind the camera was as writer and creator of My Dad is 100 Years Old, directed by Guy Maddin, included in a retrospective of her father Roberto Rossellinis films at Cinematheque Ontario, Toronto and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Ms. Rossellini, the face of Lancôme cosmetics for 14 years, is also an author of three books and a philanthropist. She made her directorial debut in 2008 with Green Porno.