Queer desires in Tech


Transcript for #unit festival, 08.05.2015 

Welcome to our little private space in a public sphere that is open to everybody. It is an art to organize such thing. And we queers are so good at that, transgressing the border of the public and private and disturbing so many perceived binaries. We create our safe zones – safety, for which so often queer people need to fight. To safely indulge in pleasures, out for cruising, go to sex parties and darkrooms and lately chat on grindr. The Internet does amazing things to the worldwide community. Queer seems a very good fit to the Internet.

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Der Mensch blickt in den Weltraum und glaubt von “allen Seiten die Augen des Weltalls teleskopisch auf sein Handeln und Denken gerichtet zu sehen”. Dadurch wird auch noch der bescheidenste Mensch vor Stolz “sofort wie ein Schlauch aufgeschwellt”.

Wenn aber die Erkenntnis nicht mehr so unbefangen aus sich herausgeht und sich in der äußeren Natur zurückgespiegelt findet, wenn die Erkenntnis vielmehr sich auf sich selbst zurückwendet, dann kann es geschehen, daß sie sich als einsames Prinzip inmitten einer erkenntnislosen Natur begreift. Erkenntnis wird selbstbezüglich, sie bemerkt ihren eigenartigen Autismus.


Rüdiger Safranski: Nietzsche. Biographie seines Denkens, München  2000, S. 175

Sewn-in Intimacy

Way beautiful is this dress made by Studio Roosegaarde.

The dress is made out of e-foils which respond to changes in the heart rate of the model. It becomes transparent! Wow. While this is a very erotic and aesthetic example of human-machine interaction, i find it also somewhat blunt. While the designers claim that this high-tech project is an experiment in social interaction, there is no real social interaction or play involved. They make use of a simple feedback system.

This points to a problem deeply seated in todays application of new technologies being mostly so one-sided. Furthermore, it is rarely desired to show arousal in public. Unless you are an exhibitionist this dress would probably also be conflictual with some people wearing it.

So here is a thought to spice things up:

Why not handing someone a remote control which tracks the heart rate and optionally switches on transparency?? After all, this dress reaches its full potential in erotic play between two or more people who like to share intimacy. Wouldn’t you agree that not being in control (in a consensual way) over being exposed is what makes it so much fun?!

Two quotes from Design the New Business

There is lot of talking about values in those new business models for innovation. Makes me think whether those synthesize business and design, so that design is subordinated to business logic. Is there really space for something new to emerge from?

“People are realizing the value of access to experiences and services, rather than owning something outright, that they have in their hands. And from that moment it usually depreciates in value.”

“So I think the key lesson of what is learned in working Proto Partners is that as a business we need to spend more time focusing on desirability, what do our customers want, what are their expectations. I think by truly designing desirability, it does create experience innovation..”

On Seduction: A technology of desire

Can computers, software, and new technologies in general be companions in social transformation and help us in bringing about new forms of collectivity? Not in terms of organizing and channeling action, but by incorporating object-orientation and emerging forms of subjectivity. I call this thinking software design instead of designing with software.

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