Arse Elektronika San Francisco 2013

Talks, performances and films

19 Years in the Porn Mines

By Christophe Pettus.

How porn has changed since 1994, and how it is going to change in the next 19 years.

Advertising For Sex Outlaws

By Maggie Mayhem.

When it comes to advertising, everyone knows that 'sex sells.' In theory, selling sex online should be easy but the logistics of legality, sting of stigma, and the nuances of building an erotic brand are complex issues that impact how providers connect with clients. Learn how to navigate the digital red light district and see how sex workers cultivate their own sex identity and interface with commercial sex consumers.

Cherry 2000

Directed by Steve De Jarnatt; produced by Edward R. Pressman, Caldecot Chubb; written by Lloyd Fonvielle, Michael Almereyda; USA 1987.

When Sam Treadwell breaks his Cherry 2000, a robot wife/sex toy, he hires E. Johnson, to guide him across a dangerous apocalyptic wasteland to an abandoned manufacturing plant where he hopes to find a duplicate model Cherry 2000 to replace it with.
A sci-fi classic starring Melanie Griffith and David Andrews.

Digital Dildo Crafting in the Jungle

By Rex Johnson.

My research brings me to work with scientists in semi-remote areas and teach workshops in digital and electronic crafting. Typically, these activities focus on creating expressive or exploratory tools for interacting with non-human animals. However, during one particular field trip to a research station, I was informed of another need of the scientists that could potentially be fulfilled with my digital and electronics equipment. I was lucky enough to have a request from a participant to look into how she could use the tools I had made available at the research post to create a sex toy for herself. What I thought originally was just maybe a fun idea and a novel purpose for some of the tools and equipment I had laying around, ended up revealing interesting design criteria specific to this unique context. It thus made for an excellent critical study in DIY digital design. For instance, some of the constraints driving the design were to build the device covertly in front of others in a communal laboratory space, and making something that will hopefully be able to keep sanitary in the very dirty, moldy, wet rainforest climate.
The goal of the talk will be to use this unique instance of DIY sex toy making as a point of ingress for discussing themes of sexuality, the do-it-yourself community, and holistic design. I will present details of the crafting of this relatively simple device, and we will also hear from the point of view of the female scientist participant about her experience. Then we will discuss the work with the unique critical community available at Arse Elektronika to investigate the topics mentioned above in the social, material, and natural realms.

Drones and the Gaze: technological scopophilia

By Adam Rothstein and Megan Rothstein.

The power of humans to observe each other is one of the main means we utilize to identify each other, and identify ourselves to others. Today, our senses are augmented by new technologies that change what we know as vision and memory. Individuals are deploying this technology, as are entities bigger than individuals, like corporations, states, and groups of individuals banded together. Various "machine vision" technologies augment our senses, but how do they change the way we think about the gaze? How does this technological gaze change our identities? To have some control over the way we present and understand identity in contemporary times, we need to think about how the gaze is changing, even as we use it.

Facial Weaponization Communiqué: Fag Face

Video by Zach Blas; USA 2013; 8 Minutes.

The Facial Weaponization Suite develops forms of collective and artistic protest against biometric facial recognition–and the inequalities these technologies propagate–by making masks in community-based workshops that are used for public intervention. One mask, the Fag Face Mask, is a response to scientific studies that link determining sexual orientation through rapid facial recognition. This mask is generated from the biometric facial data of many queer men's faces, resulting in a mutated, alien facial mask that cannot be read or parsed by biometric facial recognition technologies.

Fuckin's State of the Fuckin' Art

A conversation between Kyle Machulis and Johannes Grenzfurthner.

Future of Fornication: Open Love in the Open Generation

By Lex Pelger.

We've barely begun to experience the seismic sociological shifts coming from this Information Revolution - unmatched since Gutenberg put together his press. In the realm of sexuality, the old paradigms are passing away, but the new ways of doing business and hooking up are still emerging.
It's easy to focus on the Cassandra-like prophecies lamenting Google Glass, facial recognition, location sharing, always-on video & public profiles but humans will mostly use these new communication tools like they have every other similar invention - to stay close to the ones you love and to find the Others who share whatever strange little passion that possesses you.

Gangbang or Vanilla Sex on Mars?

By Catharina Cronenberger Golebiowska and Nathan James Bather.

We signed up in an Open Call to become a part of the first human colony on the Red Planet Mars (2023). Four participants will live three years isolated in capsules before the next group arrives.
When it comes to sex in space, federal agencies' lips are sealed. NASA claims that no sexual experiments have ever been carried out, and astronauts play coy when asked about the topic, because sex hasn't been an issue on short-term missions. Mars One Mission will be a one-way trip. Once the body gets used to the martian gravity it won't be able to re-adjust to earth's gravity. In either case, sex will have to be addressed, especially for a mission with a mixed-gender crew. The $6 bn project will fund itself by becoming a Martian Big Brother House, where the colonists will be monitored by cameras that will stream back live footage.
How will new media cover the event in a society where, through the Internet's effect, is increasingly finding its sense of identity, both collectively and individually, in constant state of flux. The colonists will live in an environment not governed or influenced by sex, whether in advertising, fashion or pornography; further, sexual desires may possibly be suppressed through medication.
We, as being a visual artist and a media creative at BBC, would like to create a fictional narrative following one astronaut accompanied with a visual interpretation: a wild mixture of data collages, analogue technics and found footage.
Mars One is not a future event; we've been talking of colonizing Mars for the last century, and now it is happening through an Open Call being spread via social networks. The future is now, and we are in the thick of it.

Making a Vibrator That Listens to Your Body

By Micah Elizabeth Scott.

I wanted to interact with my vibrator in a way that made it feel like a natural extension of my body and the space around me. Originally this vibrator had pushbuttons and a tilt control, neither of which felt right to me. I reverse engineered the wireless protocol and built a new remote that uses a cone of ultrasonic sound to create a new kind of sex toy that makes the empty space around your body into an interactive control surface.

The Mystery Box Show

A storytelling show.

The Mystery Box Show is a live storytelling series based in Portland, OR. Get ready to unzip your storypants as real people share true sexual stories from their lives, unscripted and without notes. Portland audiences have been enjoying The Mystery Box Show in sold-out numbers since April of 2012, helping to establish the show not only as a great event for sex-themed storytelling, but as one of Portland's favorite storytelling events period. It's not just the sex, it's the stories.

The National Anthem

Episode 1 of TV series "Black Mirror"; UK 2012; 60 Minutes.

Michael Hogan of The Daily Telegraph described Black Mirror's first episode "The National Anthem" as "a shocking but ballsy, blackly comic study of the modern media". He went on to say that "This was a dementedly brilliant idea. The satire was so audacious, it left me open-mouthed and squealing." How is it related to sex and identity? You will see!

Nerding out about the things people do with their okcupid profiles

Ongoing research by Adam Flynn.

At Arse Elektronika 2013, I'd like to do a series of interviews with online dating people, and look into the rhetorics of the "online dating profile" as an ignored locus of folk literature, as an interplay between a poorly-understanding central authority and people looking for varieties of things. Basically, nerding out about the things people do with their okcupid profiles.

NymRights: an exploration of names, both online and offline

By aestetix.

In this talk, we'll explore the nature of names, why they are important, and how some of the power dynamics behind naming work. Why is it that we use "special" names for play parties and other contexts, and what happens when these names are "unmasked"? And most important, what can we do to protect ourselves from "unmasking"?

Practical privacy for online expression of identitiy

By Rich Gibson and Christie Dudley.

Online dating poses some interesting challenges. Unmasking is only one of the minor problems with regards to privacy. Did you know that any information you give a 3rd party (like an online dating site) can be easily retrieved by anyone hoping to sue you (say, for a divorce) under the third party doctrine? The potential problems abound.
Then there are the privacy policies. For example, okcupid, rather foolishly assumed that their users would be totally OK with selling their data for a buck. Information leakage here is only the tip of the iceberg, as there are data brokers who are VERY interested in self-reported tastes and preferences in order to sell that data to advertisers (and, oh, by the way law enforcement) who want to target you better.
So, some question that might be answered in this workshop:
- Privacy policies and what they REALLY mean.
- Third Party Doctrine and YOU
- Data brokers and what they know about you. (and are willing to sell and to whom.

Preventing Rape with Online Identity Security: Using sexual harassment reporting software based on information escrow as a case study for the complexities of safety, privacy, identity, and anonymity on the internet

By Ned Mayhem.

I will present the conceptual and technical design of a piece of software I am helping to develop, which allows victims of sexual harassment to file secure online reports which are revealed to authority figures only when multiple reports are filed against a single harasser (lowering the expected backlash on the victims for reporting the incidents). This software has a clear social benefit, but its core functionality requires both trustworthy security and robust identity verification algorithms. I will discuss the methods we plan to use to implement these online identity challenges here, and the extent to which tradeoffs must be made between anonymity, privacy, and accountability. I will also discuss the potential harm involved in the failure of a system like this, and the ways in which government compromised security undermines the software's core functionality even in the absence of targeted spying.

Search: "How to Draw a Woman" - Male Perspectives from YouTube Result Pages 1-50

Video by Charmaine Ortiz, USA 2013; 10 Minutes.

Drawing is my means of revealing, understanding, and coping with the physical, social, and political structures in the world around me. As form of imaging, the process of drawing is capable of recording and reflecting the human psyche from individual-personal to broader attributes of thought. This video is an extension of my drawing practice, it explores social disconnects between male and female via private projections on a worldwide audience through social media (YouTube). Created by a man for a man? What makes a woman, what makes her attractive, what makes her loveable?
Search: "How To Draw a Woman" is a collection of YouTube videos compiled from male authors who describe the techniques and attributes necessary for portraying a woman. The result pages 1-50 reveal that "to draw a woman" not only consists of understanding an overall bodily form, but the successful capture of specific feminine aspects: smooth face, flowing hair, delicate hands, sexy eyes, etc. The male perspectives create varied views on the differing mechanisms of anatomy while noting aspects of beauty and physical flaw. Their tutorial voices are revealing since many of them are creating their women from memory, making their drawings appear as psychological mirrors of themselves. Interestingly as they create their images they openly give instructions to an outsider (the viewer) on how they too can create a similar view. In this regard, YouTube not only allows these men to project and broadcast themselves (unconscious fears and desires) but it also projects back onto the spectator notions of gender, beauty, and fantasy.

Sex, Lies and Porn on USB

A conversation between Yoshi Obayashi and Johannes Grenzfurthner.

Sex-Positive Startup Stories or: Phase 1: Sex / Phase 2: ? / Phase 3: Profit

By Kristen Stubbs.

If you had the chance to take your favorite hobby and turn it into a business, would you?
What if that hobby were sex?
Dr. Kristen Stubbs shares her adventures as a sex-positive entrepreneur, including her lessons learned and advice for folks who are interested in founding sex-positive businesses of their own. Kristen will discuss pseudonymity, dealing with the sex-negative world, finding collaborators, and more.
No prior business experience is required or assumed -- Kristen didn't have much when she started, either!

There is no/a sexual report: Entity, identity and the construction of a relational San Francisco

By Jos Diegel feat. Lisa Schröter
The text of French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy, entitled "there is a sexual report" -- emphazising the "is", e.g. the existence of that relation itself, the entity -- refers to Jaques Lacan's provocative thesis: "there is no sexual report". That would mean that there is always sex, but no describable or reportable relation. That would be a space of intimacy, non-existent, it would be a physical communication of the bodies. In addition to this theme there should be a way out of the dilemma of images, patterns and messages of love and sex, desire and relationship, eros, creativity, identity, entity, self-fullfilment and emancipation, that mark the sexes. A relation develops where there are no patterns, where there is no message, but nothing else than a linguistic crystal, a topological bubble.
The artists Jos Diegel and Lisa Schröter met in Zürich at Theater Gessnerallee. Since then a kind of mutal interest can be reported on both sides, but there has not been much of a reportable relation between the two of us. But this project is about to create one -- the invitation to San Franscico for Arse Elektronika will be about the construction of a situation for a report of a relation between the sexes of the protagonists. The project shifts as an paradox medial parody of pornographic revelation and or an examination of the high value placed on sexual identity.
This intimate scene will be documented. The performative scenario will go on for the four days of Arse Elektronika and will shift the private act into the public sphere, as a public presentation and performative lecture.

Why Machines Matter: On the Diversity of Cyborg Sexuality

By Dr. X.Treme.

Why do machines matter? Are the just a convenience or is there something more important going on here? I explore why I believe sex machines are more than just fun toys, and can improve more than just someone's ability to have an orgasm. I make outrageous claims about the power of machines to help promote consent and safety while maximizing sexual enjoyment, as well as for the future of human sexuality in general. And finally, based on the ideas discussed here, I present a proposed set of "axioms of teledildonics" which may be used as a basis for building relevant technologies.