#1 Netporn


Friday September 30

Opening Remarks

Keynote Lecture
Mark Dery: ‘Sex Organs Sprout Everywhere’: The Sublime and the Grotesque in Web Porn.

Mark Dery will elaborate on the Web as torture garden, a Psychopathia Sexualis for the Age of Xtreme Media. Delving deep into the Web-enabled efflorescence of subcultural obsessions and pop pathologies, Dery will consider the most grotesque of the Web’s alt.sexualities. He will theorise the “democratisation of exploitation”: the niche-marketing of non-standard body types that, ironically, realises the feminist dream of dethroning normative notions of beauty-“ironically” because this niche-marketing presumes that no one is so morbidly obese, so mind-crushingly ugly, so mottled with liver spots, wens, and carbuncles that s/he can’t be the object of obscure desires *somewhere* on the Web. Is this phenomenon destabilising mainstream notions of the beautiful? Or is it simply extending that cultural logic to previously unexploited demographics? Then, too, what are we to make of the runaway proliferation of fetishism, in the Web age? (Hentai tentacle rape, anyone? Decapitation fantasies? Amputee worship?) Is fetishism becoming *the* default sexual modality? If so, is it transgressive or repressive-one more example of the iron cage of techno-industrial rationale constricting our desires, or a salutary instance of subcultural sensibilities rebelling against mainstream normalcy? And what is the relationship between that trend, Net culture, and the Digital Age? “Sex organs sprout everywhere,” wrote William S. Burroughs, in NAKED LUNCH. “Rectums open, defecate and close…” Even as the self-appointed morals czars of the Bush administration try to childproof the Web, exotic new toadstools spring up in its danker corners. Using theorists of sexual deviance and the Rabelaisian grotesque such as Bataille, Bakhtin, Kinsey, Kipnis, and Steele, Dery will consider the Newtonian physics of official culture’s actions and the equal and opposite reactions of the Web’s sexual underworld.

Keynote Lecture
Mikita Brottman: ‘Is the Internet a Portal to Hell? Sex, Magic, and Phantom Paedophiles’ audio

Much of the rhetoric surrounding the Internet, especially among U.S. conservatives, frames it as a magic portal, from which may emerge destructive viruses that can cause your computer to literally explode, or, even worse, can turn home-loving husbands into drooling porn fiends. Most often, the internet is regarded as a home for those phantoms that sneak through in the “cracks” made by technology: the anonymous destructive hacker, the identity thief, and – most terrifying of all – the paedophile, who, in the guise of an innocent pal, hangs around chat rooms. Waiting for the chance to abduct and molest your children. My paper will chart the rise of the phantom paedophile, and will trace this fear to the concomitant popularity of “barely legal” websites and the sexualisation of ‘legitimate’ children like Britney Spears and the Olsen Twins. I suggest the social panic about online paedophiles is a screen for the fetishisation of children that goes on every day, in the media, and in our own homes.
Discussion audio

The Rise of the Netporn Society (part I)
Moderators: Matteo Pasquinelli, Indira Reynaert audio

Tea Break

The Rise of the Netporn Society (part II)
Moderators: Matteo Pasquinelli, Indira Reynaert

Netporn Society is a emerging category and group of netporn users, a growing network of micro-industries using hands-on practises and extra-portable devices for rethinking media production and distribution. The society includes suburban amateurs and indieporn, porn bloggers and sexperts as knowledge workers who channel the web’s excess energy through personal meanderings, fan writings, and essays into sex politics.

This society could arguably challenge the idea that porn has a very narrow function, i.e. to incite spectators to masturbation. Just like the 20th century art world fought the elitism of ‘art for art sake,’ we hope to come out with a critique of ‘porn for porn sake.’ The netporn society also includes artists who use aesthetics and collaborative art practices to reclaim porn as sexual politics. How can we conceptualize this era of the rising netporn society and participate in studies of indie media and micro movements? Presentations will consider the aesthetics and politics of netporn society, or how it copes with gender, war, bodies and media. Speakers will also make notes on how to ‘map’ and critically examine netporn’s global political developments, the migration of netporn industries, the impact of netporn on e-commerce, and web-based sex workers.

Ayah Bdeir: ‘Spam: Do You Swallow?’ audio
Matteo Pasquinelli: ‘Warporn! Warpunk!’ and ‘Neurobody’ audio
Heather Gorgura: ‘Micro/Macro-Level Discourses of Altporn’
Sergio Messina: ‘Realcore’ audio
Julie Russo: ‘The Real Thing: Reframing Queer pornography for Virtual Spaces’ audio
Metka Zupanic: ‘Confidante’
David Boardman: ‘My Favorite Abughraib Links’ audio
Manuel Bonik: ‘The Naked Truth: netporn and search engines’ audio
Rogerio Lira: ‘It’s not porn, it’s me’ audio



Saturday October 1

Keynote Lecture
Susanna Paasonen: ‘Gut reactions: affect and netporn’ audio

Pornography is inseparable from gut reactions, be these ones of arousal or disgust, titillation or shame. My ongoing research on commercial netporn has lead me to thinking about representational conventions, formulas and scripts employed in porn, but also the necessity to engage with the affective power of pornography in the encounters of texts, their producers and readers. After all, porn functions with the logic of attraction, spectacle and affect and its representations cannot be fully addressed with semantic models of explanation.
Susanna Paasonen’s talk looks into possible ways of accounting for gut reactions and their meanings in and for studies of porn, without loosing sight of questions concerning normativity, power and desire central to feminist theorisations of porn.

Porn Meets Brain: Netporn Theory
Moderator: Geert Lovink

The artists and scholars in this section look for ways of exposing dominant concepts and image regimes informing the history of netporn. Some of the presentations focus on hot/cold and love/violence binaries writing the canonical histories of art and porn. Others look at the impact of netporn as pushy commodities on concepts of the body and sexual desire, highlighting netporn’s ‘demons’ and ‘phantoms.’ The presentations will bring to light hidden yet highly emotive elements of sex and gender politics.

Matteo Stocchetti: ‘Demons in the Net’ audio
Paul Mathias: ‘Towards a PPP (Point per Point) Theory of Porn’ audio
Franco “Bifo” Berardi: ‘The obsession of the (vanishing) body’
David Sterritt: ‘The Aesthetics of Netporn: Modernism, Postmodernism, and the Primitive’ audio


Porn as a Technology of the Self
Moderator: Katrien Jacobs

The presentations in this section will analyse cultural varieties of ‘queer’ sexuality or alternative types of pornographic presentation and networking, suggesting profiles and identities for sex workers and gay/lesbian/transgender web communities. Media agency is defined beyond the conventional staging of stardom and voyeurism, as sex seekers use peer-to-peer platforms to mutually show and consume sex. The question is if the porn self is managing to create hospitable and open networks on the web, where individuals of different body types, tastes and ethnicities can be free of ‘moral majority’ intolerance and/or censorship.

Michael Goddard: ‘Big Beautiful Women-Techno-Archaism. Excessive Corporeality, and Network Sexuality’ audio
Barbara de Genevieve: ‘Ssspread.com’ audio
Rodney Jones: ‘Cybersex and Technologies of the Self’ audio
Mireille Miller-Young: ‘Because I’m Sexy and Smart: Black Porn Actresses as Web Mistresses’ audio
Jason Wee: ‘Eunuch Admirals’

Questions & Answers audio

Tea Break

Netporn and Censorship – Open Debate
Public debate hosted by Albert Benschop

How can we continue seeing ourselves as pornographic beings and digital networks in an age of cultural excess and warfare? One of the main reasons why there is lack of committed scholarship on netporn is its association with crime and punishment. As a result of media mystification of the facts about the rise of porn industries, the rise of child pornography and paedophilia, there have been new waves of censorship with repercussions in the arts and academia. Progressive individuals and institutions may believe that dialogues on open sexuality and the politics of porn are no longer needed in the 21st century, but recent events and testimonies have proved us wrong. For instance, after the murder on Theo Van Gogh and his provocative use of female nudity in Submission I, it has become clear that there is a need for public debate on sex/porn culture and intolerance or freedom of expression.

As pornography and sex services are globally more available to web and mobile phone users, specific cultures and web users are indeed more actively being surveilled by ISP’s, or censored by nation-state governments. From the recent closure of chat rooms and cyber cafés, to massively government-funded operations on p2p networks and net predators, we will have an open debate on the dark side of the netporn economy, arguing as a support network to the perilous state of free speech in art and porn/sex research.

Shu Lea Cheang: ‘Milk or No Milk Today?’ audio
Adam Zaretsky: ‘Why I Want to Fuck E.O. Wilson: The Sociobiology of Netporn’ audio
Koen Leurs: ‘Exploring Paedophilia: a pragmatic inventory of the paedophilic discourse observed from a digital media perspective’
Katrien Jacobs: ‘Porn Browsing: Habits Within the Profession’



Saturday October 1
Porn Pour Porn Soirée

Porn Pour Porn Soirée on Saturday night will have performances, screenings, DJ/VJ acts, live music and drinks.

The evening will kick off with the book launch of Katrien Jacobs’ book: ‘Libidoc: Journeys in The Performance of Sex Art’ (Maska Publications). The launch will be followed by a mixture of live and mediated acts, screenings, and will end in party sounds and video specials by Phag off and girlswholikeporno.

The Porn Pour Porn performers will engage in a dialogue with the netporn society. Media artists and porn performance will seduce or educate the audience with a provocative mixture of highbrow and lo-fi porn experiments.

Kim Jan Bréwee: ‘Plane’, ‘Fast Evolution City’ and ‘War’ that are all made with footage found on the web.
Shu Lea Chang: ‘IKU’
Dawn/Duana: ‘Sex Dolls’
Darko Fritz: ‘XXX [body . technology . desire . porno]’
Antonia Hernandez: ‘Latex Heart: domestic porn’
Mistress Koyo and Karla Grundick, ‘www.linuxvirgin.info’
Peter Luining: ‘Doktertje Spelen’
Frédéric Moffet: ‘Hard Fat’
Adam Zaretsky and Barbara Groves: ‘Ovarium.org’
Porn Pour Porn Soirée: music, visuals, performances by Phag Off and Girlswholikeporno

Kim Jan Bréwee shows the video animations ‘Plane’, ‘Fast Evolution city’ and ‘War’ at NETPORN. These animations are made from footage found on the Web. The footage is digitally remastered to become short videos, which should be played in loop. His work revolves around image quotes, the use of stereotypical images token from the media and the world of film.

Shu Lea Chang’s IKU is an innovative Japanese production that depicts a world where sex may soon be deemed obsolete by the GENOM Corporation, which develops a machine capable of sexually satisfying the user by connecting a computer directly to the brain. In order to collect data on the sexual preferences of every sort of person, they send seven sexy cyborgs into the city of New Tokyo with the intent of having relations with as many people as possible. Experimental and explicit, Shu Lea Chang’s sci-fi-film crosses all sorts of boundaries while making creative use of digital filmmaking technology.

Dawn/Duane ‘SexDollSex.com’ is a web-based new media project that will feature an Internet sex doll community. Modelled after popular PHP web communities and amateur porn sites, SexDollSex will include a sexblog, photo galleries, a webcam, message boards and interactivity. Dolls will have fantasy personas, will interact and correspond to visitors by writing in daily smut journals, posting sexy/erotic photos, as well as live webcast performances and other media. Visitors will be encouraged to create their own sex doll personas for the site, create sexblogs, submit photos, and join in the sex doll community via message boards and discussion lists.

Darko Fritz’s project ‘XXX [body . technology . desire . porno]’ is a visual composition of encrypted (coded) TV signal dislocated into the physical space (of the art installation). TV broadcasters encrypt the video signal for those who don’t pay a subscription fee. Nevertheless such a signals are present in both the air and at the Amsterdam TV cable. In particular, a TV program with hard-core porno films was recorded. Within unregulated rhythms of distorted and noisy moving images of unsynchronised video signal the image processing just happened by itself: polarisation, black and white and colour negative inversions, image moving out of frame horizontal and vertical, strobe- effect etc. No additional editing was used. During the transfer of analogue to digital video image a new quality of image is achieved.

Antonia Hernandez’s ‘Domestic Porn: Porn as the Last Refuge of Identity’ innovative web graphics—visual essays exploring the subconscious ideas assorted with a particular genre of porn. The piece speaks (visually) about porn as a literary style, the clichés associated to each genre, symbolism,….

Mistress Koyo and Karla Grundick will present ‘www.linuxvirgin.info’. The site www.linuxvirgin.info is currently hosting weekly launches of the linux virgin 1.1-1.5 series, an erotic and informative video series about learning to build a computer to run linux on. In its brief public exposure the linux virgin project has rapidly became a site of contagious, or viral, information exchange. During the two-week preview stage, before the official launch of the site on Valentine’s Day, their project was blogged, linked, posted, and commented on all over the world web.

Peter Luining’s ‘Doktertje Spelen/Playing Doctor’ provokes discussion. The project from 1998 has quite a bit of a history and is considered by some as very controversial. It’s at the moment available online through computerfinearts.com which is hosted by the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art (Cornell University, Ithaca New York). Also there’s no direct link through Google or other search engines to the piece anymore.

Frederic Moffet’s ‘Hard Fat’ is a short documentary about the subculture of gainers (a gainer is someone who deliberately gains weight because he enjoys living in a fatter body) that questions our notions of size, desires, beauty and masculinity.

Adam Zaretsky and Barbara Groves’ ‘Ovarium’ is a playful critique of netporn, through exhibitionistic ‘play’ practices that deconstruct pornographic voyeurism. Making use of space and autonomous media to stream video, broadcast intimate forms of play, as did Zoot en Genant in 8X8X72 Fucking Retreat. They are guided by vitalistic and poetic anti-artifice tendencies in finding a new definition of porn.