Arse Elektronika Blog Archive

Arse Elektronika 2013 / Call for Submissions: 'ID/ENTITY'

Arse Elektronika 2013
monochrom's festival on sex and tech and id/entities.
October 3-6, 2013 in San Francisco.

Call for talks, performances, workshops, games, machines.
Deadline for submissions: July 15, 2013

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!
Please submit through our form.
Deadline for submissions: July 15, 2013

For questions, please email: office AT

Posted by johannes, Saturday, May 25, 2013 ( General )

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Arse Elektronika is being supported by:

Arse Elektronika 2014. October 2-5, 2014 in San Francisco, USA.

At Chez Poulet, the Center for Sex and Culture and Noisebride.

Trans is a Latin noun or prefix, meaning "across", "beyond" or "on the opposite side". What does that mean for sex and technology?
- Transitions, translations, transgressions, transistors & transducers, transactions, transmission (specifically sexually transmitted infections), transdermal?
- How does sex change as we age? As we grow, as we mature? And what about old age? Sex in nursing homes? Sex when people have lost much of their sense of identity with Alzheimer's Disease and the like, but are still horny, still sexual entities? How do pharma and biotech help/monetize this situation?
- Sex under drugs, sex under other altered states? Is Viagra a drug? At what point does a loss of cognitive function take away our ability to consent?
- Transnationality and sex. What about translations and transitions across cultures? For example: Hacking, porn, dissent in Iran? Purity Balls and the American obsession with virginity whatever that really means?
- How does our sex and our perception of sex change with the introduction of new gadgets? Who are the early (sexual) adopters? And what about the adapters? What about (white male) privilege and new gadgets? Google Glass Ceiling?
- SCOT (social construction of technology) research, such as that of Mackenzie and Wajcman, argues that the path of innovation and its social consequences are strongly, if not entirely shaped by society itself through the influence of culture, politics, economic arrangements, regulatory mechanisms and the like. So if its true that technology itself doesnt matter, but the social or economic system in which it is embedded (Langdon Winner), then what does that tell us about the transition from sex tech into the cultural mainstream?
- Is human sexual behavior transforming our planet? What's the sexual side of the anthropocene?
- Transgression and mechanophila? Is our technological society driven by erotogenic fixation on machinery? What about hardcore pornography such as Fucking Machines? Can this be seen as constituting the limit of current sexual biopolitics?
- Sex puppets, Real Dolls and the Uncanny Valley? A never-ending transition?
- Teagan Widmer's latest app, Refuge Restrooms, highlights the importance of providing safe public accommodations for trans people. How can apps like Widmers help with tasks that most people take for granted, like the ability to use the bathroom?
- Is trans* a controversial label online? How do we develop language-theory-activism in general? Programming languages are designed to be inclusive of "trans" in a broad sense for both binary and non-binary gender modalities. Does it have transmisogynist qualities?
- Feminists, among other critical scholars, have long argued the problems with the notion of the Transcendental. Focusing on the transcendental moves our attention away from the day-to-day struggles involving the material and instead replaces it with transcendent ideas and ideals. How is this manifested through issues of sexuality and technology? What can we do about it? What are the power struggles involved, positionalities afforded and relationships to, that transcendental modes of thought afford for socio-economically marginalized populations? Can we compare and contrast notions of transcendence alongside notions of immanence? What is the role of the body and embodiment with respect to transcendentalism? What are the implications of transcendental for power? Grassroots activism? Citizens' movements? Open source? Hacking? Can we have visions of the future without being transcendental?
- And, last but not least, since sex is a pretty biological thing (insofar as things are biological things), we want to remind of genetics with our theme. Genetic transformation/translation/transcription/transmission.

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