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Nin Magazine: The Erotic Art Publication Celebrating the Female Form

12 August 19 interview: Caroline Barry
photos: Fabrice Gagos

Art and eroticism can be difficult to define. How do you decide what constitutes art and what is just, well, plain old porn? A lot of the porn that we see is made for men by men; it can be extremely off-putting in the choice of bad lighting, terrifying angles or actors who seem a bit dead in the eyes. But where is the alternative? Where are the female erotic creators?

Nin is a new erotic art magazine that caters to those who prefer to celebrate the body in a more tasteful and artistic fashion. Under the leadership of Creative Director Letícia Gicovate, the magazine – which is written in Portuguese and English – presents tasteful nudity as secondary to poetry, art and interviews that form the backbone of the artistic presentation. We caught up with the Nottingham-based Gicovate to discuss the female-curated erotica project…

Where are you from originally, and what made you choose Nottingham as a city to live?
I’m from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. I moved to Nottingham three years ago because my husband was enrolled in a PhD programme at Loughborough University. I miss the sea in Rio, but I love being able to walk through the same streets as D.H. Lawrence – whose poetry is featured in the very first issue of Nin – once did. I love the rebellious history this city has, as well as the youthful atmosphere. 

What made you decide to work with Nin?
As a passionate reader and costume designer, I really missed having a publication that brought me inspiring images and words. Researching the 1920s – which is my favourite era – and the flapper girls put me in touch with Anaïs Nin – the French-Cuban writer. I became fascinated with her sense of freedom, about how transgressive she was as a writer and a woman. I could identify a hint of eroticism in everything I kept as reference, from fashion images to literary pieces; I was diving into Nin's universe and becoming more and more interested in it. I worked as a trend forecaster and fashion writer back in Brazil and, after publishing my zine, I Love the Way You Look, I met book publisher Alice Galeffi, who became my business partner and helped me shape Nin magazine. We shared a passion for art and literature, and it brought together our voices as feminists and our love for print. 

How do you feel erotic art differs when produced and/or curated by different genders?
The male gaze shows women as they idealise us, whereas we show women as we are. Besides that, I think we should all exercise our view on eroticism, it’s something more subtle and gentle. It’s not what you see, it’s what will stay in your mind.

How does your presentation of the body differ from the media representation?
Since the first issue we've been trying to disrupt not only the mainstream view on the representation of the body, but also the idea of erotica. A piece of cake, a stone, a root can all be sexy, and a naked body can be just flesh and bones. It depends on the intention, as well as the imagination. I can feel an immense change in representation since we started in 2015. This is just the beginning, and I’m very glad to feel a part of this revolution. 

How do you feel about the current state of the porn industry?
It's changing. There is a wave of feminist porn coming out to show sex as it should be: an expression of pleasure for two (or more) partners. The porn industry has traditionally shown women as sex toys, as quiet and submissive objects with a perfect body, amazed by the gaze of an abnormally big male sexual organ, treated as a machine for the pleasure of men. This is harmful for both men and women, who grow with unrealistic expectations about sex. This male-dominated industry created generations of men and women that know nothing about female pleasure.

Porn shows it while erotica insinuates it. We are an erotic magazine; we instigate your senses, leaving some space for your imagination and your desire to complete the scene

Where do you draw the line between porn and art within Nin?
Porn shows it, while erotica insinuates it. We are an erotic magazine; we instigate your senses, leaving some space for your imagination and your desire to complete the scene.

There is also depth to what we do. We share articles written by philosophers, academics, and anthropologists; there is an interview with a Rabbi on our third issue, where we discuss female archetypes in the Old Testament Books. We are willing to investigate human sexuality, to naturalise our relationship with our bodies, to understand our desire and to own it.

Where is your own favourite place to buy magazines in Nottingham?
Ideas on Paper is definitely one of my favourite places in town, and somewhere I go in search of new references and fresh inspirations. I've been collecting indie magazines for the last ten years and I'm still fascinated by the endless possibilities. I love going there to talk to Alex about the market, and it's very important to listen to his feedback. It helped me shape Nin's last issue and it's helping me to define the future of the publication.

How has Nin evolved within the three issues?
We’ve become much more mature, but there is still a lot to develop and learn. Our first cover was an image of the porn star and politician Cicciolina from the 70s, our second cover was a transgender model and our third cover was a pregnant actress from Brazil. But we need to be more diverse; this is a magazine made by two white, cis women and there are many other voices to be heard. We want to listen to all of them, and we want to please all of them. 

What does the future have in store for Nin?
Hopefully a future where magazine sellers are not intimidated by our content, so we can sell it widely! 

Nin Magazine website

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