Arse Elektronika 2011: SCREW THE SYSTEM

Talks, machines, workshops and performances.
September 29-October 2 in San Francisco, USA.

monochrom's Conference on sex, technology, class, and culture.

The remarkable diversity of human behavior across cultures and classes also extends to sex and technology. Most discussions in this area tend to make certain assumptions about the culture, class, and race of the participants. Technologically represented sex tends to be ableist and heterocentric. Who gets left out of this, what effects does this have, and what would it look like to include them?

Is there working class, middle class and upper class porn? How does the commercial sex industry reproduce and enforce racial, gender, and class exploitation and dominance? How do people use sex and sexual technology to transgress or change social status? How can DIY porn and sex tech counter the social injustices reproduced by the commercial sex industry? Does gay porn make use of the class, race, and power tropes found in heterosexual pornography, and if so, how?

Is kinkiness a luxury? What does kink from different social classes look like? Can economic realities poison the power dynamics of a D/S relationship? What are the demographics of people admitted to hospitals with weird objects up their asses? Does activity in a swinger or BDSM scene act as bridging social capital? Are there class dynamics at work in the feminist debate over porn?

How and why do governments intervene in sexualities? When do governments shape or use sexual desire, both implicitly and explicitly? Can sex tech challenge the future of biopolitics and what Michel Foucault calls "biopower" (the subjugation of bodies and the control of populations by modern states)?

What are the labor conditions of non-Western workers who make most of the world's sex toys? What's the environmental footprint of a technologically assisted orgasm? How does the criminalization or stigma of sex tech production harm the communities in which it is produced? What's the product life-cycle and planning horizon of sex tech? What are the barriers to entry for sex tech production? How important is intellectual property to sex tech, and how is it enforced?

What does production, regulation, distribution, and consumption of sex tech look like outside of North America, Western Europe, and Japan? How do state-sponsored religions or religious states interact with these issues? How do majority Muslim cultures differ from one another and from non-Muslim cultures on these issues? What's the intersection of sex tourism and sex tech? Is Japan's pornographic dominance in the Asian market an exception to the Korean wave? How does a country's pornography (or lack thereof) reflect its culture? Who consumes racist pornography?

How do the class and cultural impacts of differential access to shifting reproductive technologies like IVF, surrogacy (especially international surrogates), egg and sperm donors, birth control, and abortions affect the ways people have sex and construct relationships? Do these technologies or their social deployment enforce heteronormativity? How could the sex tech industry positively impact control and awareness of STIs?

What's the intersection of sex tech and hospitals or hospice care? Where are the sex toys for the elderly? Where are the sex toys for prisoners? What are the pornography surfing habits of homeless people in libraries? Can technology meaningfully contribute to solutions for sexual social problems like rape? Should the government allow or require masturbation aids in prisons to reduce prison rape? Should your health insurance be paying for your vibrator? How do your sex toys hurt you? What are the health risks of using everyday objects as sex toys when you can't afford the good stuff?

Who buys sex tech? Is sex technology a luxury? Does the demand elasticity for sex tech vary across subcultures? By age, sexual orientation, race, etc? How much does the average lesbian couple spend on sex toys? What are the substitutes employed to or within sex tech if it's unaffordable or unavailable? Is consumption of sex tech correlated with any other social significant behaviors or consumptions, positive or negative? How do distribution methods affect who consumes sex tech? How will the DIY movement change the sex tech market? Will we be able to print our on sex toys on rapid prototyping machines?

Who can afford to challenge sex tech?
Johannes Grenzfurthner/monochrom (Conference organizer)