SFBG über Arse Elektronika: ‘The Performant: Dies Arses have it’

Couldn’t make it out to the “Oscars of computer art” at the Ars Electronica Center in Linz, Austria? Me neither, but thanks to Viennese techno-prankster collective monochrom,
I could stay in San Francisco and experience a slightly more warped
version at the 4th annual Arse Elektronika instead. An exploration of
sex, tech, and space — inner and outer — Friday evening’s lineup of
lectures and presentations turned the Center for Sex and Culture into a grown-up game of show-and-tell.

First up was “Spaceman” Sam Coniglio of the Space Tourism Society
presenting on one of his favorite topics: “Sex in Space”.
Unfortunately, as Coniglio notes, this is not NASA’s first priority as a
research topic and the jury is out on whether or not anyone has ever
successfully joined the 217-mile club or not. (If so, “they’re not
telling.”) But such lack of information hasn’t stopped the hopeful from
designing prototypes of gear that might assist in future feats of space
sex. With the help of volunteers, Coniglio showed off his own favorite, a
plushy “snuggle tunnel”—like a giant slinky covered in velveteen.

Jason Brown’s extremely entertaining talk, “The Endosymbiotic
Cha-Cha” took the concept of sex in space from the outside in, beginning
with the premise that humans may fantasize about boinking a reasonably
attractive, bipedal extraterrestrial race, but in reality, scale might
be the real barrier. Perhaps alien life forms already live among us (or
in us!) at a microscopic level. Are multiplying viruses getting it on
while we suffer the side effects of their fevered touch? Wrapping up the
evening was Heather Kelley, aka moboid, presenting an iPhone app she
designed called Body Heat which allows the user to manipulate the speeds
of a vibrator using a touchscreen. She showed off its incidental
percussive potential along with Jordan Gray, or starPause, who
accompanied her with electronic blips and sampled bits.


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