|Arse Elektronika 2012: 4 PLAY|
Talks, machines, games, workshops and performances.
September 27-30 in San Francisco, USA.
monochrom's Conference on sex, technology, games, and culture.
Gaming, like sex, is a human cultural practice of apparent frivolity. Yet both afford surprisingly deep levels of analysis. How might models of critical gameplay inspire deeper critical reflection on issues of sex, and vice-versa?
What is the history of sexual games, particularly in the pre-digital era? What were the fairground and peepshow precursors in titillation? What was the design history of the “love tester” machine?
Why are game metaphors so prevalent in narratives of sexual conquest, and how did popular games in history influence the thinking of contemporary lovers? What can we learn about Roman gaming culture from Ovid's Ars Amatoria? What determines the many definitions of "cheating" in each of those contexts? How do the procedural rhetorics of modern game design encourage objectification of women?
How might contemplative gaming teach us to free ourselves from the tyranny of the climax?
How does the concept of the 'magic circle' in games coincide with safe spaces for sexual exploration? How do players act out transgressions of sex and gender expectations within the relatively safer spaces of games? What can we learn about social scripts and expectations from looking at society through a ludological lens?
What is the relationship of sex and games to the recent 'non-human turn' in arts, science, and philosophy? How might games engender empathy and understanding towards the non-human? What is the technological equivalent of Alan Moore's plant-sex issue of Swamp Thing? Could a game help you contemplate how a mantis fucks, or what it feels like for a fern to spore?
Beyond the simple human-to-human interfaces of the now-almost-quaint developments of sex machines and teledildonic, how might game design interact with biometrics and haptic feedback to create entirely new techno-sexual situations? Game-based learning and medical rehabilitation has been used in the past for stroke victims and the disabled to re-learn their bodies; how might those same techniques allow further bodily exploration towards positive pleasure? How much might BDSM simulators borrow from virtual pet trainers? How is predicament bondage like game design, and what can the two learn from one another?
If we are headed towards the 'gamepocalypse' envisioned by Jesse Schell, how might that affect our sex lives and our sexualities?
Is sex in danger of gamification?
If so, how can we stop it?
Johannes Grenzfurthner/monochrom (Conference organizer)