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Arse Elektronika 2012 / Call for Submissions: '4PLAY: Gamifuckation and Its Discontents'

Arse Elektronika 2012
San Francisco, USA

4PLAY: Gamifuckation and Its Discontents

Call for papers, talks, workshops, performances, and GAMES.
[In addition to traditional talks, workshops, and papers, this year we are also accepting submissions of games. This can include digital games, street games, LARPs, social rulesets, procedural game-art, or other forms, for demonstration, presentation, or debut during the conference.]



Gaming, like sex, is a human cultural practice of apparent frivolity. Yet both afford surprisingly deep levels of analysis. How might models of critical gameplay inspire deeper critical reflection on issues of sex, and vice-versa?

What is the history of sexual games, particularly in the pre-digital era? What were the fairground and peepshow precursors in titillation? What was the design history of the “love tester” machine?

Why are game metaphors so prevalent in narratives of sexual conquest, and how did popular games in history influence the thinking of contemporary lovers? What can we learn about Roman gaming culture from Ovid's Ars Amatoria? What determines the many definitions of "cheating" in each of those contexts? How do the procedural rhetorics of modern game design encourage objectification of women?

How might contemplative gaming teach us to free ourselves from the tyranny of the climax?
How does the concept of the 'magic circle' in games coincide with safe spaces for sexual exploration? How do players act out transgressions of sex and gender expectations within the relatively safer spaces of games? What can we learn about social scripts and expectations from looking at society through a ludological lens?

What is the relationship of sex and games to the recent 'non-human turn' in arts, science, and philosophy? How might games engender empathy and understanding towards the non-human? What is the technological equivalent of Alan Moore's plant-sex issue of Swamp Thing? Could a game help you contemplate how a mantis fucks, or what it feels like for a fern to spore?

Beyond the simple human-to-human interfaces of the now-almost-quaint developments of sex machines and teledildonic, how might game design interact with biometrics and haptic feedback to create entirely new techno-sexual situations?  Game-based learning and medical rehabilitation has been used in the past for stroke victims and the disabled to re-learn their bodies; how might those same techniques allow further bodily exploration towards positive pleasure? How much might BDSM simulators borrow from virtual pet trainers? How is predicament bondage like game design, and what can the two learn from one another?

If we are headed towards the 'gamepocalypse' envisioned by Jesse Schell, how might that affect our sex lives and our sexualities?

Is sex in danger of gamification?

If so, how can we stop it?


Deadline: July 1, 2012

Please send submissions to office AT

Posted by johannes, Monday, May 21, 2012 ( General )

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Arse Elektronika 2013. October 3-6, 2013 in San Francisco, USA.

monochrom's Conference on sex and technology!

Sex, technology, identity... big-ass sweeping themes for Arse Elektronika 2013.

Identity, but also identification. Technologies for the exploration of identities. Technologies for the articulation and performance of identities. Technologies for the enforcement of hegemonic identities. Technologies for the verification of identities. For example: What about the vast fencing-off of the old wild internet; the #nym-wars and the push for “real names”?

We typically assume there is ‘something’ that takes and/or performs an identity. What is this entity? Are awareness and consciousness strictly limited to and made sense of in human experience alone? How is identity understood and made sense of in terms of artificial intelligence? What might transhuman, android, or cyborg identities consist of? What does sexual desire mean to a dolphin?

We have technology-based identities. If we are to agree that agency is a key factor in identity AND position technology as extension/manipulation of agency, then is technology an identity in and of itself?

The Bay Area, famous as a place to “find yourself,” also hosts vast projects to organize and catalog the world’s identities, whether they want that or not. So, how does the Californian Ideology drive identity politics and techno-sexuality?

Will apps like Bang With Friends and gadgets like Google Glass provide us with the ultimate gonzo pornoverse? And why are services like LinkedIn explicitly banning escorts from using the site to get clients?

What have been the social ramifications of Web 2.0, ten years on? By what means have queer users of dating sites and social networks reframed or otherwise hacked the systems surrounding them? What is the design history of the drop-down gender menu– and its alternatives? How did Facebook’s inclusion of “in an open relationship” as a standard option for one’s relationship status affect youth mores? What has been the effect of location-based hookup apps on the architecture of cruising? What are the economics of niche dating sites, and how are they policed? What are the ethical obligations surrounding the ability to algorithmically identify those who are in the closet?

What technologies could ensure more flexible, fluid identities? What would TSA protocols look like if they were designed from a queer perspective? What does counter-surveillant fashion look like? How might we ensure the right not to be found? (Should we?) Are there technologies for anonymity that do not also afford stalking and harassment? Are there technologies for transparency that do not also afford stalking and harassment?

If an identity requires recognition (either by the self or through the Other), then is it ever possible to be “truly” or “identifiably” queer? Is ‘queer identity’ an oxymoron?

Former Tory chairman Lord Tebbit warns that legalizing gay marriage in the UK "opens up the possibility of a lesbian queen giving birth to a future monarch by artificial insemination." Interesting times for sex tech? Indeed!

What about a historic dimension? What were techno-sexual systems of identity like in the past? What were the technologies of masked rituals? What technologies drove the invention of privacy? How did the adoption of fingerprinting change the regulation of prostitution in the early 20th century? Besides hanky-flagging, what techniques/technologies were used to signal ‘deviant’ interests? How was handwriting judged in the evaluation of potential lovers? What is the techno-social history of the "secret admirer?"

How will technological progress change the way we see ourselves? What are we without our iPhone and our beloved designer vibrator? Is the Marxian commodity fetish actually entering the sphere of (what a wordplay!) customization fetishism?

If orgasm patterns are unique and impossible to duplicate, could one’s sexual response be the ultimate biometric identifier? So, how worried should we be about the spectre of sphincter-printing?

What about Big Data in a sexual context? Does size matter?

What about a decent ontological debate with your buttplug’s AI?

Well... dear entities out there, with your proud Egos, Super-Egos and Hyper-Egos! Never forget that there is an Id lurking round the corner! The real Voight-Kampff test is not minding that it hurts!

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