Presentation for first research assignment on PVC.
Good Vibrations Erotic Arts Festival is seeking submissions from artists, technologists, designers, and performers. The committee is looking for work from film to toys that expand the conversation about sex and pleasure, and help combat the stigma about a natural part of adult life. (Based on the Good Vibrations Erotic Short Film Festival)
What does fetish clothing in the 22nd century look like?
If we are all cyborgs now, how does that effect the way we experience sex?
What are ways we could build intimacy and feeling into wearable technologies?
The Wearable Pneumatic Vibrator is a fetish suit made of PVC and created specifically for single-person sex. Understanding that breath and skin stimulus are critical to masturbation and orgasm, the WPV is powered by the wearer's breath, contracting and releasing against the middle of the back, inner thighs, nipples and abdomen. This first iteration is modeled for a woman's form.
PVC fabric has been associated with fetish and futuristic fashions since the mid-20th century. It became popularized for its "wet look" that mimicked latex and polished rubber at a lower price point. While PVC is categorized as a second-skin material, it does not feel like one. There is usually a layer of cotton or polyester lining PVC clothing. This other barrier positions PVC fabric as the most "fashion" of the second-skin materials. Wearing PVC emphasizes being viewed, emphasizes presentation, emphasizes the performative mode of dress.
The Wearable Pneumatic Vibrator is made from PVC because of this quality. It is a suit. It is not lingerie to be worn underneath other so-called "day-appropriate" clothing. It is not meant to simulate the contact of human skin to skin. Its purpose is to make explicit and more attractive the sexual relationship between woman and machine.
The Dominatrix, the most recognized and classical figure of fetish, is armored in second-skin materials and or PVC. Yet she is described by fashion historians as a phallus substitute. Most traditional vibrators are modeled after the penis, designed to be inserted into vagina or anus. Innovations like hands-free vibrators unfairly preference penetrative sex. This reading of the Dominatrix removes the agency from the woman's body. The WPV acknowledges the arousal from being encased. The form: encasing the breasts and pelvis with a node in the middle of the torso connecting them. A vibrator should no longer be an apparatus removed from the body. Like the corset and the thigh high boot, a vibrator should be a form of body modification.
Key to improving product is play-testing. During the festival, I would establish a pop-up store that sells paper versions of the WPV. Participants would shop the paper models and try them on enabling me to create and alter pieces, gain feedback on what areas of a woman's body are most often erogenous zones.
To be considered in later iterations:
- On whose body is this fetish device/apparatus/suit being modeled?
- What fashion aesthetics outside of the dominant Western images can be considered when designing?
The Wearable Pneumatic Vibrator Store at the IXAF would help answer these questions.
- Fetish: Fashion, Sex and Power by Valerie Steele
- Steele, V. (1996). Fetish: Fashion, Sex, and Power. New York: Oxford University Press.
- "In Bizarre Fashion" by Julia Pine
- Pine, J. (2013). In Bizarre Fashion: The Double-Voiced Discourse of John Willie's Fetish Fantasia. Journal of the History of Sexuality, 22(1), 1-33.
- Skin to Skin: Eroticism in Dress by Prudence Glynn
- Glynn, P. (1982). Skin to Skin: Eroticism in Dress. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Sex and Suits by Anne Hollander
- Hollander, A. (1994). Sex and Suits. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
- Interview with Chadley from Purple Passion
- Talk with Andreas Bastian
- Talk with associate from Babeland
- Dodson and Ross