Tangible Control: An Erotic Body
The Call Techne! from Eyebeam
Excerpt from the website:
We are asking you — artists, digital creators, engineers, creative technologists, researchers and cultural producers — to join us in creating provocative work that helps realign the arts to the mechanic. As devices become further extensions of the body, in a time when advertisements are tailored to hyper-specific, localized desires and privacy is nearly a luxury product, artistic practice is more important than ever in influencing the cultural trajectory. This residency cycle Eyebeam is looking to support new work that is deeply examining artistic creation in relation to emergent technology in various forms, and will consider all proposals, especially those that are provocative and have positive real-world impact.
The making of machines affords dramatic new perspectives on how we constantly make ourselves and our worlds. We build ourselves alongside, and relative to, the invention of machines. (Dobson, 2007)
Our culture wants both to multiply its media and to erase all traces of mediation: ideally, it wants to erase its media in the very act of multiplying them. (Bolter and Grusin, 2000)
If we are all cyborgs now, how does that affect the way women experience sex (Case, 2010)?
How do the erotic devices we use reinforce dominant culture's views about women's sexuality?
How do erotic devices influence how women mediate their sexuality?
How could an erotic digital device be a tool of body modification, becoming an extension of the user's body rather than a facsimile of the body not present?
Despite the affordances that advances in digital technology have brought us, dominant culture's beliefs about women's ability acquire, sell, and perform sex remain regressive. The ubiquity of gonzo porn has not shifted conversations about the relationship between technology and sex. Vibrators continue to be a stream of candy colored disembodied phalluses marketed to heterosexual couples. And why?
I am not proposing the Erotic Haptic Device as a solution, but as an investigation, a possible metonym for an erotic body; one that is perpetually becoming, never to be fully realized or satisfied or experience release.
The juxtaposition of those candy-colored phallic vibrators serves as an impersonal entry point to this project——a professional guise. While the motivation concering the relationship between technology and the woman's body remain the same, the idea was sparked by my decades long attraction to Manfred Thierry Mugler's collection Les Insectes. The tension between the hyperfeminine clothing and styling and the grotesque is erotic. Les Insectes subverts its heteronormative feminine presentation by transforming the models into creatures.
The Erotic Haptic Device is a non-phallic non-penetrative biomimetic garment. It is designed to be used by a woman without any other outside actor. Because of this, the garment is intended to act an extension of the woman's body rather than a thing that penetrates.
Next Steps My next step is to build out different renderings now in the physical realm. I plan to use different materials and document it.
Images from ITP Winter Show 2014