September 7 – 9, 2023
DH5, Linz 4020, Upper Austria
Technology and human sexuality have been intertwined throughout history, from ancient cave drawings to modern VR porn. Despite the common belief that technology isolates us, it’s crucial to acknowledge that we are both sexual and tool-using species. Sex tech, which encompasses a wide array of tools, machines, biohacking, AI-driven experiences, and bodies with enhanced sexual capabilities, opens up new possibilities for self-expression and self-exploration. Artificial Intimacy introduces new avenues for the technological mediation of affection and desire, ranging from virtual erotic lives to AI-powered companionships and interactive sex robotics. Often explored in sci-fi and futurism, these practices and concepts are steadily becoming part of our everyday lives, which warrants their intellectual and expressive contemplation.
Since 2007, Arse Elektronika has globally explored the intertwinement of technological development and human sexuality. DH5 brought monochrom’s Arse Elektronika to Europe for the first time and integrated it into Ars Electronica Festival, one of the oldest and internationally most acclaimed festivals of media arts and technology. Together with monochrom, we created an unforgettable festival with highly versatile content and an ecstatic party.
Arse Elektronika 2023: Sexponential delved into heated debates over the role of AI-driven practices in expressing and fulfilling sexual desires and the future of the sex industry. While previous iterations of Arse Elektronika focused primarily on hacking and creative exploration of technologies, the feminist team of DH5 expanded the range of perspectives to adjacent topics such as privacy, consent and data security, gender construction and expression, improvement of public understanding of AI-powered technologies, ethical and legal aspects of sex tech, its impacts on the lives of sex workers, and prospects of a more inclusive, environmentally sustainable sex industry.
September 7, 7:30 pm – September 9, 12.00 am
‘1000 Hungry Eyes’ by Kevin Blackistone & Gabriella Garcia
‘Animal Farm’ by Hidéo Snes
‘B-Hind’ by Dani Ploeger
‘Candy Grabber’ by CADerpillar, liv & paulaner
‘Circuitous Bodies’ by Behiye Erdemir & Volkan Dinçer
‘Computer Says No’ by Thomas Kranabetter
‘Cybersexuality Experience’ by Philipp Fussenegger, Stefan Kainbacher & Matthias Smetana
‘Das Vorspiel / The Foreplay’ by Litto
‘Intimately Entwined’ by Dunia Sahir & Cristian Anutoiu
‘Nas-Horn’ by Kaname ‘Kenny’ Muroya & Nas
‘Object Sexualification’ by Ekaterina Osipova & Kay Kender
‘tabOO’ by Franz Ablinger
‘Trans/Masc’ by Offerus Ablinger
‘Undressing Mirror’ by Natalia Shepeleva, Toma Pilein & Kat Suryna
‘XXXGel®’ & ‘Bimbo Dildo’ by Mar Osés
CONFERENCE, FILM SCREENINGS & PARTY
September 7, 7:30 pm – September 8, 12:00 am
Arse Elektronika: Sex, Tech and the Future of Screw-It-Yourself / Keynote by the head of the festival, Johannes Grenzfurthner
Peaches & Cream / Talk by Thomas Kranabetter & Jasmin Hagendorfer
Circuitous bodies / Performance by Behiye Erdemir, Volkan Dinçer & Veronica Pace
Techno-Fetish Party / Talk and performance by Dani Ploeger
Hentai shorts / Selection from Sinan Şahin
Schwammerlbaron (DJ set)
September 8, 11.00 am – September 9, 01:00 am
BOT or NOT / Workshop by Thomas Geissl
Giga guat! / Cooking performance by Sebastian Vetter, assisted by Jakob Hagen & Jonas Aaron
Copy-Paste Hentai! / Walk-in anytime workshop by Big Tiddy Oni-Chan Collective
The Pleasure of Hacking / Workshop by Sabrina Verhage
OltrelaPelle / Workshop by Bruxies Lab
Love Tester Machines. Media Archeology of Sexual Appeal / Talk by Ania Malinovska
Eros, Ethics, and Cyborg Identity in Virtual Space / Talk by Quill Kukla & Dan Steinberg
Musings of a Mechatronical Mistress — The Peculiar Purpose of Tiffany the Sex Robot / Premiere of Jasmin Hagendorfer’s film
Mechatronic Musings: Discussing Society, Feminism, and the AI Revolution / A post-film panel discussion featuring Jasmin Hagendorfer, Kate Devlin, Katta Spiel, Iris Phan & Philipp Fussenegger
Wired Desires / Short film selection presented by Porn Film Festival Vienna
Arse DJ Set
September 9, 11.00 am – September 10, 01:00 am
History of Oral Sex / Talk and performance by Maximilian Modl & Daniel Bierdümpfl
When Sex Robots Come!— An IT Security Penetration Test and Its Legal and Ethical Implications / Workshop by Iris Phan
Pleasure Seeker Time Travel Talk: Exploring Love, Sex, Toys and Features in Future Motions / Talk by Claudia Virginia Dimoiu & Wenzel Mehnert
Beyond the Cleftal Horizon: Generative AI Porn for Diversity, Inclusion, and Empowerment / Talk by Stefan Lutschinger
Copy-Paste Hentai! / Workshop by Big Tiddy Oni-Chan Collective
The Future of Social Sextech / Talk by Mahalia Henry-Richards & Abel Enklaar
The Fab Lab Cable Orgy Playbook / Talk by Noam Youngrak Son
How to Cheese AI: A Creamy History of Digital User Interfaces / Workshop by Hideo Snes
Interview with Anouk Wipprecht
Technology as a Resistance Tool Against Sexual Norms — Chance or Exclusion? / Performance by Uýra & panel discussion moderated by maiz and featuring Nina Comtessa, sugar pa! and Damijan Stranner
Late Night Ultimate Full Contact Wrestling Madness / Moderated by Alice Moe; stage design by Haras Ananas, Christoph Eblie Ebner & Walter Schalter; music by ZAK!
L’«IL YA» DU RAPPORT SEXUEL: Entity, Identity and the Construction of a Situational San Francisco / Jos Diegel’s film
1000 Hungry Eyes
Artists: Kevin Blackistone & Gabriella Garcia
This work pays homage to the first-ever circulated „virtual reality“ experiences, through multiple layering of erotic imagery in a mélange device of original stereoscopic design and the modern VR system technologies. It was pornographic imagery that popularized the stereographic image, launching what would become a long trajectory of erotic labor driving the development and dissemination of mass media technologies to the present day. This iteration connects today’s technology with the historical importance of this labor as a principal driver in the mainstream adoption of new technologies, hoping to inform the audience of the often-silenced voice of the sex worker.
Artist: Dani Ploeger
B-hind is an installation based on a product launch that took place in 2020. A commercially available anal electrode for the treatment of fecal incontinence was re-appropriated to control a failed domestic entertainment robot, originally produced by a French start-up. The product launch was accompanied by a product pitch, developed based on online tutorials for start-up founders.
Artists: CADerpillar, liv & paulaner
Type: Interactive installation
Do you want to grab candy but have social phobias or want to avoid time-consuming interactions? Candy Grabber is here to help: grab the candies of your choice! Whether you prefer sweet or salty, it offers almost as much pleasure as real candies. Candy Grabber: you’re just one grab away from satisfying your cravings!
Candy Grabber is a modified toy equipped with levers to control tongs for grabbing candy and moving it to the ejector. The modification includes computer-controlled music adjustment, moaning, and a little blinking. Genital-shaped Candies Sweet Ingredients: sugar, fruit flavor, natural colorant. Genital-shaped Candies Salty Ingredients: wheat, olive oil, white wine, salt.
Artists: Behiye Erdemir & Volkan Dinçer
“Circuitous Bodies” uses nail art and noise intertwined to transcend physical boundaries and bend the social norms surrounding the body. The nails transform into a political and performative act manifesting in a sonic space, with sound oscillators integrated into the nails.
With this synthesis, „Circuitous Bodies“ enters a resonance between noise and nail art that acts as a form of expression for marginalized subjects. This resonance creates a transcendental space of expression for marginalized bodies that oscillate with the sound frequencies surrounding the space.
Computer Says No
Artist: Thomas Kranabetter
Type: Interactive installation
We condemn sexual assault in real life. Does the same logic apply to technology? Are sex toys allowed to say “no” and do we respect that? Is there a difference between a simple vibrator saying “no” or a complex AI avatar you might experience with a virtual reality headset and where do you draw the line?
Try it for yourself: what level of refusal would you choose for your sex toys?
Artists: Philipp Fussenegger & Matthias Smetana (Cybrotel Berlin), Stefan Kainbacher
Type: Interactive installation
Embark on an extraordinary journey with Cybrothel. Dive headfirst into the compelling universe of sexual wellness powered by the most advanced technologies. Our ground-breaking experiences have been designed to catapult you into thrillingly vivid virtual realities, showcasing the pinnacle of passion and intimacy. With this unique installation, you are not just an observer, you are a pioneer.
Experience the evolution of the commercial video game “Cherry VX” like never before, elevated and amplified by Cybrothel at ARSE Elektronika. Cutting-edge VR technology, realistic sex dolls, and sensory stimulation create an unforgettable experience.
Das Vorspiel / The Foreplay
Type: : Interactive installation
“Das Vorspiel / The Foreplay” is an interactive audio-visual installation that can be perceived passively or actively via an interface. The audience can choose to interfere with the piece and trigger the images and the sound by teasing and exploring—or just lean back and enjoy the abstract voyeuristic gaze and shifting soundscapes produced by the players. The object reacts to the movements and state of pleasure of its visitors.
Artists: Dunia Sahir & Cristian Anutoiu
Type: Interactive Installation
Intimately Entwined is an immersive haptic technology that delves into the interference of the body and the low-frequency EM landscapes that surround us and evokes a future where technology melds with the organic, encouraging this encounter to be a sensual experience. The ear-bone prosthesis, born as an entwined computational mutation, acts as a prolongation of the sensory apparatus and, connected to the EM feelers, adds to the arsenal of vertebrate senses. Gentle vibrations caress one of the cyborg’s most sensitive and erogenous zones and whisper to it alluring sounds deciphering the complex web connecting all entities of the universe.
The exhibit encourages participants to explore the exhibition space, seeking devices emitting stronger EM fields to heighten the sensual experience.
Artists: Kaname ‘Kenny’ Muroya & Nas
Type: Interactive Installation
The project name is a play on words with the German word for rhino “Nashorn” and the Name of the co-creator Nas. It aims to enhance human capabilities in the spirit of transhumanism and transgenderism. An open-source modular robotic inflatable prosthetic phallus is to be attached to the user’s genitals, thus looking like a strapon. On the „inside,“ there are vibration motors that get triggered if the capacitive touch sensor of the prosthesis is activated. The behavior is programmed using Processing and Open Sound Control enabling orchestration of a synchronized collective orgasm, if mass manufactured and interconnected over WiFi.
Artists: Ekaterina Osipova & Kay Kender
Type: : Mixed-media installation
“Object Sexualification” invites visitors to sexualize and sexually objectify… objects! Reversing prevalent understandings of material intimate encounters that deem objects mere mediators of human-to-human intimacies, the installation puts objects and their sexual pleasures center stage. Visitors of the installation are encouraged to embrace their filthy human minds and act as a medium for sexual intimacies between objects, and by doing so learn about their own (sexy) entanglements with the material world.
Artist: Offerus Ablinger
Type: Painting series
„We need new stories,“ Donna Haraway stated in her essay „A Cyborg Manifesto“ from 1985. The depictions of masculinity in Offerus‘ work are signs of a new era. The cyborg serves as a symbolic challenge to the notion of a fixed and binary identity, acting as a missing link between human and machine and embodying transformation, particularly in light of humanity’s entrance into the realm of transhumanism! In „Trans/Masc,“ societal codifications are dismantled, critically examined, and reinterpreted through abstract body extensions, modifications, and cyborgization. Terms like biopower (Foucault), transhumanist utopias or dystopias, ethics, and gender find new meaning in Offerus Ablinger’s socio-political works.
Artists: Natalia Shepeleva, Toma Pilein & Kat Suryna
Type: Interactive installation powered by a custom-designed AI program
In the realm of sextech, AI-powered tools have significant potential for misuse, particularly with the rise of Deepfake technology that can manipulate appearances with convincing realism. Existing so-called Deepnude software often utilizes non-consensual images for training, enabling the virtual undressing of individuals without their permission. In contrast, the Undressing Mirror aims to demonstrate the ethical use of this technology.
For training the undressing AI, the development team used nude video data provided exclusively by people who agreed to be part of the dataset, featuring consenting and diverse individuals in both the training and inference phases. The training data was collected just for this AI model and deleted after the final training. The training happened without registering gender, sex, skin color, age, or body type. If the audience agrees to be virtually undressed, they can place themselves in front of the virtual mirror and see how the machine imagines them naked.
XXXGel® & Bimbo Dildo
Artist: Mar Osés
Type: Mixed-media installation
XXXGel® proposes a speculative narrative around the possibilities of bodies in the pharmacopornographic era, characterized by the political and technical management of the body, sex, and sexuality. In this sexopolitical state, the body is not bounded by a carnal envelope, nor is it pre-discursive: it is a multi-connected techno-alive entity that incorporates technology. In the context of these technobodies, it is xenobiotic substances such as Climaxene found in XXXGel® that are capable of corrupting the wetware, transforming and expanding it, understanding us as toxicopornographic subjects: subjectivities defined by the substances that dominate their metabolisms.
“Bimbo Dildo” references Paul B. Preciado’s Countersexual Manifesto (2018) as it explores the idea of a dildo from a poliedric perspective: taking into account all its symbolic, artistic, technological, and sexo-political possibilities. The project proposes an understanding of the hyperfeminine bimbo gender performance as a penetration strategy (an at-first-sight contradictory comparison due to a strongly masculinized character that has been historically associated with the phallus), in which bimbo subjects have demonstrated they have the power of transforming from within the subjectivity of those who interact with them, functioning as a clear example of body modification.