Arse Elektronika 2009-Of Intercourse and Intracourse

bannerOn October 1st, 2009 I was asked back to participate in the annual Arse Elektronika which is an annual conference organized by the Austrian arts and philosophy collective monochrom, focused on sex and technology. The festival’s curator is Johannes Grenzfurthner. The name Arse Electronika is a pun on Ars Electronica, the name of an arts and technology organization also based in Austria which still cracks me up.

For this years event I performed during the opening celebration, the Prixxx Arse Elektronika Award Gala and gave the now infamous talk on Browser Based Telemetry of Genital Haptic Devices at the Noisebridge hacker space.

Browser based telemetry of gential haptic devices By Allen Stein
Welcome to the First Church of Appliantology. Allen Stein hates the word teledildonics and thinks it’s tacky. He would rather say “browser based telemetry of gential haptic devices.” He resents the fact that he is a well known teledildonist. It’s even hard to say. Regardless… in his Arse Elektronika 2009 presenstation he will take you on a trip through nearly a decade in commercial teledildonics and the adult industry. Learn a bit of history on how humans relate and interact sexually with machines. Demo some of the latest in sexual technologies and talk about its commercial uses. Explore some emerging markets incorporating biometrics.  Allen would appreciate it if we could come up with a new name for teledildonics. For his mother’s sake.

Here is the theme for this years event:

Of Intercourse and Intracourse

Sexuality, Genetics, Biotech, Wetware, Body mods.

Scottish SF author Iain Banks created a fictitious group-civilisation called “Culture” in his eponymous narrative. The vast majority of humanoid people in the “Culture” are born with greatly altered glands housed within their central nervous systems, who secrete – on command – mood- and sensory-appreciation-altering compounds into the person’s bloodstream. Additionally many inhabitants have subtly altered reproductive organs – and control over the associated nerves – to enhance sexual pleasure. Ovulation is at will in the female, and a fetus up to a certain stage may be re-absorbed, aborted, or held at a static point in its development; again, as willed. Also, a viral change from one sex into the other, is possible. And there is a convention that each person should give birth to one child in their lives. It may sound strange, but Banks states that a society in which it is so easy to change sex will rapidly find out if it is treating one gender better than the other. Pressure for change within society would presumably build up until some form of sexual equality and hence numerical parity will be established.
Does this set-up sound too futuristic? Too utopian? Too bizarre?

We may not forget that mankind is a sexual and tool-using species. And that’s why our annual conference Arse Elektronika deals with sex, technology and the future. As bio-hacking, sexually enhanced bodies, genetic utopias and plethora of gender have long been the focus of literature, science fiction and, increasingly, pornography, this year will see us explore the possibilities that fictional and authentic bodies have to offer. Our world is already way more bizarre than our ancestors could have ever imagined. But it may not be bizarre enough. “Bizarre enough for what?” — you might ask. Bizarre enough to subvert the heterosexist matrix that is underlying our world and that we should hack and overcome for some quite pressing reasons within the next century.

Don’t you think, replicants?

Johannes Grenzfurthner/monochrom (Conference organizer)