The Strange Eroticism of Æon Flux Adventures
On November 30, 1991, the first episode of the animated series “Æon Flux”, created by Peter Chung, aired on MTV in the United States. The series premiered on the experimental animation program Liquid Television as a six-part short film series, followed in 1992 by five individual short episodes. The series pilot introduced the female agent Æon, engaging in espionage and assassination adventures in a futuristic world inhabited by mutants, clones, and robots. In its early episodes, “Æon Flux” captivates viewers with the erotic aspect of the main character, semi-nude and with a visual style reminiscent of German expressionist films and paintings, known for their distorted and dramatic images.
However, the series goes beyond expressionism, as stated by Peter Chung himself: "I was interested in experimenting with visual narrative, telling a story without dialogue and also trying to create a style of telling a story with animation that wasn't influenced by the usual kinds of things that you see". This experimentation allowed Æon, with her slender figure and unusual features reminiscent of the drawings and paintings of Egon Schiele, to acquire a unique identity composed of various references.
The Eroticism of Such Strange Eyelashes
Before establishing a mythology, “Æon Flux” immerses the viewer in a reality where everything is presented surprisingly, like the opening sequence of the series. In this sequence, we see a fly gliding along the edge of an eye, captured by the main character's eyelashes as if it were prey of a carnivorous plant. There is something erotic, grotesque, and morbid in this opening, similar to the famous scene in the series "Westworld" where a fly walks on the eyes of the android Dolores, as if she were a living corpse. It is interesting to note that Æon dies (in a clumsy manner) in the early episodes only to reappear intact in the following ones, a situation also recurs with Dolores in the series.
Since there is almost no dialogue and little explanation about the plot in its early episodes, “Æon Flux” animation focuses on creating unsettling situations for the audience, removing their passivity in front of the TV screen. In an interview, composer and sound designer Drew Neumann commented on this: "Peter’s thing was that he wanted to present an antihero view of ultra-violent material. So yeah, it was violent, but it was violence with the intention towards an anti-violence statement. Building excitement only to make the audience uncomfortable in unpacking what motivates that feeling. Same with the whole S&M aesthetic, skimpy costumes, and sexually suggestive moments. Again, it’s trying to play off the dichotomy between sex and violence; you’re not meant to feel comfortable about either thing" (https://www.artofthetitle.com/title/aeon-flux/).
In the extended Premium edition more on the sexual themes in the series like the foot fetish and intertwined tongues, its expositional narrative structure and aesthetic qualities, more on the live-action version of “Æon Flux” starring Charlize Theron, and much more striking images.
Click HERE for the influential erotic animations of Osamu Tezuka