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Volume II Number III

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Plus loads more articles and gorgeous guys Volume II Number III


Marina Abramovic: The rhythm of the

Marina Abramovic knew from an early age that she couldn’t do anything else but art: to be an artist, to elevate the human spirit. It was that simple. The hard part came later. Interview by Tom Goulter.


Marina Abramovic performs ‘Freeing the voice’: from the Freeing trilogy


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She’s just finished an exhibition at the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) entitled The artist is present. Every weekday for three months she sat gazing silently at visitors seated opposite her. The visitors were transfixed. A girl with red and pink flowers in her hair sat still, a million expressions crossing her face. Another suddenly clutched her heart and gasped. When the flower girl got up to leave, she nearly collapsed.

‘It was a kind of purification process, in order that I could step into the new period of my life, working with Ulay. I gave my ego away for this new relationship which became the symbiosis of male and female.’ Ulay is Uwe Laysiepen, the artist with whom she lived and worked from the mid1970s to the late 80s. Their work together explored duality and singularity, conflict and risk; in Rest energy, Marina pulled taut a bow on which Ulay notched an arrow, aimed at her breast. Another, Imponderabilia,

Performance is live. That kind of reality, I think, is more powerful than even the best theatre. The reception has not all been this positive: one visitor ascended the museum’s panoptical terraces to drop leaflets decrying Abramovic. Another stripped naked. A third did his level best to projectile-vomit on the artist. The dissenters’ common theme was the perpetually unanswerable problem of what exactly ‘art’ ‘is’. But there are more interesting questions raised by Abramovic’s body of work: questions of what the artist owes her audience, what it means to live on the edge of creativity, cautionary examinations of free will. Her famous Rhythm 0 involved the artist tying herself up next to a table of objects ranging from delicate stroking implements to chains, nails and a loaded gun, then giving the audience permission to use those objects on her however they saw fit. ‘I accept full responsibility’, her artist’s statement read.

Breathing in thick Balkan air

requires the audience to walk through a narrow alleyway flanked by a nude Abramovic and Ulay. At MoMA, the line to walk through a recreated Imponderabilia went around the room. Some looked deeply into the eyes of one or the other nude stand-in; others pushed through embarrassed, as though watching everyone else’s passage hadn’t prepared them for brushing against a man’s pendulous organ. There’s strong symbolism in Abramovic and Ulay’s work together that borders on the shamanic. An example is their use of the colours red and white: ‘In many of our pieces there is that symbol. In Chinese cosmology, the world was created by a drop of red menstrual blood and a white drop of sperm. Ulay was in white and I was in red. It was the unification of creating the world.’

Her early works arose in a thick Balkan air of struggle and suffocation. ‘I was still living in the former Yugoslavia with my family, with my mother completely controlling. It was very difficult to breathe, which all performers have to do. This was the world I lived in – heroism, sacrifice, willpower, the idea of legend: all these very epic, very old fashioned kinds of things.’

Her work with Ulay culminated in the 1988 Great wall walk, in which the artists started at opposite ends of the Great wall of China – him at the Gobi Desert, her at the Yellow Sea – and walked the entire wall toward each other. When they met, they parted ways.

To escape, she embarked on three works: Freeing the voice, Freeing the body and Freeing the memory, which see her screaming until her throat gives out, dancing until she collapses and speaking every Serbian word she can think of.

At the conclusion of The artist is present, Abramovic was widely quoted as saying, ‘I am completely destroyed.’ She says this was partly due to the physical demands of sitting poised for seven hours a day and ten hours on Fridays.

Physical destruction and the power of colour

Abramovic and Ulay performing ‘Imponderabilia’ with a MoMA visitor walking through


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Jasper Wrayburn rifles through the secret files to determine just who was the sexiest communist. Illustrations by Charles Carr.

Sex and communism may not seem like natural bedfellows – after all, pornography was illegal in the Soviet Union until the late 1980s – yet many of communism’s greatest figures were as radical in their views about sex as they were in their politics. Furthermore, the idea that macroeconomic forces influence something as personal as the sex act still remains relevant and insightful today. You may know the communist whose face sold the most T-shirts – Che Guevara – and the one responsible for the most deaths – Chairman Mao, 50–70 million – but which revolutionary was best between the sheets? We examine a selection and apply our thoroughly unbiased ratings.




Germany, 28 Nov 1820 – 5 Aug 1895 For Marx’s sidekick and co-writer of The communist manifesto Engels, the key turning point in history was when men realised that sex led to pregnancy. Before that, women were worshipped for their seemingly magical ability to create children. Once men had worked out their own role in reproduction, three thousand years of patriarchal oppression followed, as they tried to ensure that they were the fathers of their own children. Engels argued that in a classless communist society men would no longer think about relationships in terms of property and inheritance. Instead, relationships would be happily monogamous, based on what Engels dubbed ‘modern individual sex love’. Engels also did his bit for undermining the concept of patriarchal inheritance by claiming that he was the father of Karl Marx’s housekeeper’s child.

Germany, 5 May 1818 – 14 Mar 1883 Despite his tramp-like appearance, bushybearded Marx had seven children with his wife Jenny Von Westphalen and allegedly a seventh with his housekeeper, while still finding time to write The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital. Marx believed that one can judge

humanity’s whole level of development from sexual relationships between men and women and claimed that ‘social progress can be exactly measured by the social position of the fair sex, the ugly ones included.’

Russia, 22 Apr 1870 – 21 Jan 1924 Lenin had a distinctly pragmatic approach to sex, regarding it as a waste of energy that could be better used in the services of the communist revolution. He often bemoaned the fact that the younger female communists were only concerned with discussing pamphlets on the question of sex. For Lenin, ‘dissoluteness in sex was bourgeois, a symbol of decay.’ In his own life Lenin rejected a permanent union with his vivacious lover Inessa Armand, regarding romantic love as bourgeois and Inessa’s children as too time-consuming. Lenin was, however, committed to trying to bring about equality between the sexes and in 1918 brought in the Bolsheviks’ Family Code which legalised abortion and homosexuality, made divorce easier and created many new crèches.

Personal life Sexual theories Ideological consistency Facial hair Overall sexiness

Personal life Sexual theories Ideological consistency Facial hair Overall sexiness

Personal life Sexual theories Ideological consistency Facial hair Overall sexiness

The idea that macroeconomic forces influence something as personal as the sex act still remains relevant and insightful today.

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Putting passion into porn Porn isn’t exactly known for its emotional realism. Physical variety is abundant compared to its little variety in emotional response. The perception is that consumers aren’t looking for genuine human connection when they rent a porno. However, someone expecting a traditional adult film would be puzzled by one of Jennifer Lyon Bell’s movies. It’d seem like it was taking an age to ‘get to the action,’ but patience and attentive viewing would be rewarded, as Bell’s works aim to engage in a way that mainstream adult film doesn’t typically offer.


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Ambrosia Rose examines emotional context in porn, and director Jennifer Lyon Bell talks about putting it there. Bell’s films are remarkable in the adult movie industry because of their emphasis on vulnerability. She casts artists and students, rather than professional adult performers, to help produce films that showcase emotional intelligence unheard of in popular mainstream pornography. I recently spoke with Bell about the creative process, sexy sound design and the marketability of emotion-rich porn.

What makes your films different? My inspiration for making my own films was to impart the sexuality with a sense of emotional realism. In real life, sex is full of so much emotional context — your sexual past, your expectations, your worries, your particular enthusiasms for this specific partner. I wanted to bring that context into my films because I think that’s what makes sex sexy. On top of that, I hoped to bring a level of camera craft to my films in order Jennifer Lyon Bell films to bring that emotional engagement to life. And, naturally, I felt it was crucial to show the lead-up to real female orgasms. I’m personally attracted to sex films where genuine female pleasure is obvious, and I can’t get into a film at all if it lacks that.

Headshot A young man is filmed as he interacts briefly with a woman offcamera and then receives oral sex from her. Nothing explicit is shown, but watching his face transition from cocksure-if-nervous grin to single-minded desire for release is surprisingly affecting.

Skin. Like. Sun (Des Jours Plus Belles Que La Nuit) Bell and Murielle Scherre record a couple making love in an empty house, with special attention paid to capturing the entire experience in real time, including all the badinage and awkward moments. The authenticity of the performance and the emphasis on both parties’ enjoyment helped Skin. Like. Sun. win a feminist porn award.

Matinee A fiction film about an actress’s trouble generating chemistry with her romantic lead. While this film may lack situational realism, it boasts artistic cinematography and outstanding performances.

You have uesd several different methods in your films to achieve that emotional realism. What inspired each? Shooting the documentary pieces felt like the most natural thing in the world. Headshot, the non-explicit film, was a risk because it’s so unusual, but I love the way it turned out and it’s found quite a fan base of people who think it captures something intensely exciting about sex that more explicit films can’t necessarily pull off. Matinee, the fiction film, was a lot harder. The story was emotionally dear to me — it’s about the relationship between creative risk and emotional risk — but

diversity is wonderful, both for us and for customers. I like to cast from outside the traditional ‘adult’ film world, whereas most of the other female adult film directors such as Erika Lust, Anna Span and Candida Royalle are casting mostly current adult performers. That gives our work a very different feel. My films are also more sound-oriented than most: I love the subtle sounds of sex, so I take an audio-centric approach: I use a good mike or have a separate sound professional on set, so that I can capture even the small breathing sounds, and I spend extra postproduction time on designing the sound ‘narrative’ in the sex scene.

Are your films aimed at a specific audience? Do you know who actually buys them? I made these films for women, since the whole point was to create films that would turn women on and let them enjoy their own sexuality. I focused on straight and bisexual women, because I felt that there were relatively few good hot straight films. My thinking has shifted a little since then. I’ve learned from customer comments that plenty of straight men are interested in ethical, authentic alternatives to the porn they’ve seen in the past, and many straight men want to please their female partners by finding films they’ll both enjoy. Moreover, I’ve been surprised to find that queer people sometimes like my films too! In the end, I’m focusing on making films that I enjoy and that I think are hot. My hope is that then they’ll appeal to straight and bisexual women as well as other people.

In real life, sex is full of so much emotional context — your sexual past, your expectations, your worries, your particular enthusiasms for this specific partner. designing the visual and aural storytelling was quite complicated. I love both making documentary and making fiction. They each have their own kind of authenticity.

How do you go about casting? Is it difficult finding the right couples? Casting is my number one most important job, because I work collaboratively with the performers. Collaboration and having trust in one another means that we all enjoy the process, and it seems to me that the only way to have a positive production process is for the performers to be able to enjoy themselves, both sexually and creatively. I also simply think that real sexual pleasure shines through on film.

What differentiates your work from that of other female pornographers? Each of the current female pornographers has their own distinctive approach. The

Does the wide appeal make marketing your films easier, or does the lack of a specific demographic make it harder? I’m still experimenting with how to market my films. The kind of people who’d like my films are more defined by having a different sexual mindset than by their demographic. I’m glad there are magazines like Filament that appeal to women — and people in general — with this new mindset that’s about authentic sexual pleasure.

Ambrosia Rose is an amateur critic and professional wine-pourer in Southeast Arizona, who is willing to watch porn for the greater good.

Jennifer Lyon Bell

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Red lights to red umbrellas:

a closer look at prostitution law reform Sylvia Guest-Carroll looks at different approaches to prostitution law around the world, and asks, what works? Illustrations by Kirsten McNee. Hollywood may have glamorised prostitution with films such as Pretty woman (1990); sex worker Divine Brown may have given arguably the world’s most famous blow job to actor Hugh Grant, but the business of exchanging sex acts for money remains controversial, in most countries illegal and is considered immoral by many. Amsterdam’s red light district is perhaps the most famous example of an alternative model of prostitution legislation, but in fact, prostitution laws vary greatly from country to country, with new ideas being tested from Germany to New Zealand.

Decriminalisation versus legalisation Understanding the difference between decriminalisation and legalisation is vital in discussions around prostitution law reform. Decriminalisation begins by removing the offences and penalties relating to sex work, with the purpose of improving working conditions, health, safety and welfare. Legalisation makes prostitution legal under state-controlled conditions. Although legalisation may aim to improve working conditions, health, safety and welfare, it also seeks to control or regulate the industry.

Permits and licenses Where countries have decided to legalise, costly state licensing requirements for brothels and their employees, rigorous police clearances and stringent local


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planning permissions may apply. While licensing may be used to protect sex workers, the bureaucracy involved can also be abused by local authorities seeking to stamp out prostitution. In Australia, prostitution law varies from state to state. The state of Victoria legalised brothels in 1994 with the Prostitution Control Act. Here local council planning permits are required along with a ‘Prostitution Service Providers Licence’. One or two sex workers running a private business are exempt from needing a licence. However, it was found that local council bylaws were often too costly or prohibitive and in 1995 the Victorian Parliament introduced legislative changes resulting in an edict that councils could only reject brothel applications on planning grounds, and not on the basis of ‘morality’. Further restrictions under the Planning and Environment Act 1997 determine that sex establishments in Victoria must be 100 metres away from any home and 200 metres away from any church, school, hospital, place of worship, children’s services centre or any place where children regularly spend time, and that

the area must have industrial zoning. Thus there is no allowance in law for individual prostitutes to work from home and street prostitution remains a criminal act. A different approach to licensing is at work in the Netherlands, where prostitution itself has never been illegal and new laws are now being enacted to require registration of all prostitutes and licensing of brothels, in the hope of tackling human trafficking and the use of underage workers. To qualify for registration, sex workers must have a face-to-face meeting with officials about the risks, health and legal implications of prostitution. Clients will be able to make sure they are dealing with a registered prostitute, as the worker will be provided with an official licence with photo ID.

Sex workers’ rights In 2002 Germany passed the Act on the Regulation of Prostitutes’ Legal Affairs, which brought with it pragmatic and immediate changes to the lives of sex workers. Perhaps most importantly, the Act removed the definition of ‘immorality’ previously applied to prostitution. While seemingly just semantic, legally defining prostitution as immoral meant that sex

While licensing may be used to protect sex workers, the bureaucracy involved can also be abused by local authorities seeking to stamp out prostitution.

To qualify for registration, sex workers must have a face-to-face meeting with officials about the risks, health and legal implications of prostitution.

the criminalisation to any Norwegian resident buying sex anywhere in the world. Following worldwide moves to legislate to reduce trafficking and exploitation, England and Wales introduced the Policing and Crime Act 2009, a strict liability offence which penalises clients who knowingly or unknowingly pay for sexual services ‘of a prostitute subjected to force’. Scotland’s prostitution laws are similar.

workers did not have access to the full range of legal rights enjoyed by the ‘moral’ majority. The 2002 law specifically allows sex workers access to the federal welfare system, meaning they are now eligible for unemployment benefits and pensions – provided they have paid tax on their earnings. The catch is that individual municipalities have the power to regulate where and when brothels and street workers ply their trade, and to set tax rates. Some local authorities have implemented a daily tax per prostitute and/or brothel – regardless of their income that day. Since the passing of the Act, prostitutes can sue clients who refuse to pay for services received; however with the lingering social discrimination against them, many sex workers are reluctant to publicly acknowledge their profession in going before the courts. Regulating the legal age for prostitution is another hotly contested question. The standard for the countries discussed in this article is either 18 or 21, but the Amsterdam Municipality wants to see the age raised to 23. The rationale behind this move is that by this age a woman is more likely to be entering the industry voluntarily and to have a more realistic viewpoint, along with a greater ability to deal with difficult clients. Opponents of this move raise the point that as one is legally an adult at 18, can die for one’s country, own a home, vote – to be prevented from choosing what to do with one’s own body is essentially a violation of human rights.

Criminalisation of the client Sweden pioneered the ‘Criminalisation of the client’ model in 1999, making it a criminal act to buy sexual services, but not to sell them. The law is based on the assumption that the prostitute has less choice in the matter than her customers. It officially views prostitution as an aspect of male violence against, and exploitation of, women and children, aiming to stamp out prostitution by removing demand. A report published in July 2010 claimed that because the number of street workers in Sweden had halved since the legislation was introduced, the measures were successful. However, the report goes on to say that – in part because of the relative anonymity of the internet – prostitution in more hidden, and so is harder to assess and limit. In 2009 similar laws were adopted by Norway and Iceland, with Norway extending

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Volume II Number III

Bart, 22, raised in Poland, currently living between London and Poland How do you feel about being a redhead? I was never really bothered. I’ve heard stories about ginger bullying, but I never got that. It probably helps to stand out in the crowd a bit, but just a bit.

Tell us a story related to gingerness I’ve got plenty of stories, but none of them are gingerrelated! It might be a big deal in the UK, but where I grew up, nobody really cares.

Know any fun ginger facts? They say that ginger people need more anaesthetic. I’m sure that’s an urban legend. [Editor: It’s true, apparently – studies have found that redheads have higher levels of pain sensitivity and therefore require greater levels of anaesthetic.]

Who’s your favourite redhead? Maybe Lily Cole or Scarlett Johansson – they’re just so damn beautiful! Definitely not Dave Mustaine (of US heavy metal band Megadeth), with his squeaking voice. About the photographer Diana More grew up in North America. She came to Europe for a holiday and ended up studying photography in London. She is a full-time photographer and loves questioning perceptions with her subjects. More at

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The changing face of female


It’s supposed to be about women being in control, so why is female dominance largely represented by the image of untouchable women in uncomfortable clothes, and where are the men? Alice Archer investigates. Among the many articles written about the pleasures of female submission these days, it’s hard to find one that doesn’t reference Steven Shainberg’s 2002 film Secretary. This accessible, elegant and romantic portrayal of female submission brought kink into the mainstream, challenging stereotypes of submissive women and dominant men. Some eight years later, the kink on Secretary’s flipside, female dominance or femdom, is yet to receive such an image overhaul. Most of us hear ‘female dominance’ and picture a woman wearing spiked-heeled boots and a corset, weilding a bullwhip. Femdom is even maligned by some of those who practice it. I asked a 23-year-old bisexual male switch why he says ‘I hate femdom’ and he elaborated, ‘It’s the way male submissives are portrayed: wanting their female dominant to be above reproach, wearing her latex catsuit and strap-on, with a ‘don’t look at me, you worthless worm’ expression on her face. That’s not what female dominance means to me. I want to be dominated by a woman who can be caring as well as cruel, and who knows me well enough to know what buttons to push. I think a lot of dominant women may be projecting a certain image because it’s what’s expected of them... which sort of defeats the point.’ If this young man’s perception is correct, it’s no wonder that commentators like blogger Bitchy Jones declared femdom ‘broken’.

The image problem With Hollywood still gutting female characters of their independence and pumping male characters full of bravado, it seems unlikely that they’re going to give us a female equivalent to Secretary’s strong but loving E Edward Grey and a male equivalent to assertive yet eager-to-please Lee Holloway. At least, not any time soon. But it seems that change is on its way, starting with the blogosphere. It’s hard to have a serious discussion on the femdom scene these days without someone mentioning Male submission


Volume II Number III Ms Tytania, photographed by Gavin Mecaniques

art or Bitchy Jones’ diary. Maymay, curator of Tumblr feed Male submission art, challenges the invisibility of the male submissive in erotic art. Meanwhile, Bitchy Jones, writer of Bitchy Jones’ diary, challenges, among other things, the undue emphasis placed on the appearance of female dominants. Bitchy pulls no punches, and her writing has been controversial, particularly her apparent blaming of the professional female dominant, or dominatrix, for proliferating the problem.

the man who’s meant to be doing everything to please her.’ Another professional dominant, Ms Tytania of London, perceives that ‘the uniform’ is loosening up. ‘The internet has created a newer breed of pro-Dommes with a more subjective approach. I can think of one who embraces her Anglo-Indian heritage and sessions in sarees and shalwar kameez. When I sported a Chelsea cut, braces and Doc Marten boots, I attracted a lot of attention from male subs.’

On the kink scene, femdom is much maligned, even by some of those who practice it. Bitchy Jones (known affectionately to many simply as ‘Bitchy’) quotes a number of professional dominants’ websites, which seem to strongly support the aforementioned young male switch’s perception of the scene’s image problem. Bitchy says, for example: ‘When [professional female dominants] say ‘male creatures may not touch me – none of them are worthy’, I can only think they have some kind of phobia or disease.’ To see the popularity of the notion that a certain look is indispensible to female dominance, look no further than respected sex and relationship advice columnist Dan Savage. In answering a question from a woman who wants to know what to do next once she’s tied up her boyfriend, he invites professional dominant Mistress Maitresse to comment. Her first words are, ‘get dressed in sexy lingerie or something fetishy.’

Professionals on appearance Speaking to professional female dominants, many were looking for the same liberating of the image of the female dominant and male submissive that Bitchy seeks. Despite her reputation for attacking professional female dominants, it’s not unusual to see them link to Bitchy Jones’ diary from their websites. Ms Slide, a London-based professional dominant, says, ‘People have mixed opinions on what constitutes a ‘true’ Domme. Many, Bitchy Jones and myself included, object to the idea that a dominant woman must wear a uniform of uncomfortable shoes, push-up bra and impossible corsets, just to impress

Bitchy also raises the invisibility of nonprofessional dominant women on the kink scene: ‘If you look around in kink, there’s this thing… the dominant women are missing. There is this clear gap where they should be. Sometimes there are a few prodoms in that gap – clear them away and it becomes way more obvious.’ A commentor on Bitchy’s blog, Mir, added: ‘Although I’ve been turned on by male submission since my teens, most of my life has been spent with vanilla partners, because most... were far more welladjusted, respectful and generally highquality than the submissive men I met. The impression I got, that I would have to reform my casual dress, playfulness and actual sexual desires to be worthy of a submissive man’s attention, frankly put me off completely for several years... Like you still have to be a perfect sex object, but with more responsibility for everything.’ US-based sexuality author and Japanese rope bondage teacher Midori talks of the emotional dimension of the femdom stigma. ‘The stereotype seems to be the ‘damaged man-hating woman’ and the ‘damaged door-mat of an emasculated man.’ Thankfully I think that’s shifting a bit, as people become more sophisticated in the variance of erotic desires.’ In a Carnal nation article titled The new power femmes, Midori writes about how in recent years, the women who are attending her Forte femme female dominance workshops have changed from largely bewildered wives inspired by ‘my husband’s into this’, to

The ‘ideal’ female dominant? An archetype that many dominant women feel at odds with. Illustration Hannah Crosby

younger professional and educated women who seemed ‘less inclined to castrate their own sexual powers.’

Bringing out the beauty in submissive men If femdom is about men getting their kicks from pleasing women, Bitchy wondered why male submissives don’t seem to be falling over to attract women with their appearance: ‘How come submissive men aren’t all about well-cut jeans and tight Tshirts over their lickable torsos and expensively cut knicker-dampening suits and butchy boots and dirty looks. Yeah, not all women like the same thing, but there are vague ideas... Why are you doing something that no women want or like? Isn’t that, like, the opposite of your entire thing?’ On kink social network Fetlife a dominant woman asked why submissive men largely wore only black underpants (leather, rubber

Volume II Number III


e h T Model Corbin Mac


Volume II Number III

a h p l a d e k na

It’s good to know that my interest in looking at and creating girl porn puts me in excellent, dirtyminded company! Michigan-based photographer Sita Mae Edwards is a confirmed fan of the alpha male. She speaks to Filament about capturing the caveman. Why did you start photographing men? I love big, macho, typically masculine men. I read embarrassingly trashy bodice-rippers and photograph the kind of men you might find on their covers; the kind of men who make me swoon because I can smell the pheromones wafting off them at ten paces. I like looking at and being around alpha males. I wasn’t seeing that, so I decided to create it.

Are you aware that you’re doing something uncommon for female photographers, simply photographing men erotically? I’ve long lamented how few photographers create work with a female audience in mind, but I never realised other women felt the same. It’s good to know that my interest in looking at and creating girl porn puts me in excellent, dirty-minded company! Even if there aren’t many of us yet.

Model Justin Sandler

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