Archive for contemporary art

Arse Elektronika 2008 Report!

Posted in Announcements! with tags , , , , , , on September 30, 2008 by Bonni Rambatan
Eating My Cake and Having It Too

Eating My Cake and Having It Too

So I was not able to get permission to enter the US for Arse Elektronika, but as host Johannes Grenzfurthner put it, we managed to trick the State department by filming my lecture beforehand and doing a telepresence via Skype connection. Don’t know Arse Elektronika? Check these links out:

Click here if you want yet more links.

And it was wonderful! I kept following Bonnie Ruberg’s twitter-updates on the event and watched as dozens of photos are being uploaded, and of course the MP3 recordings of the talk. You can find all of the MP3s here, but of course, I’ll be generous and provide a direct link to my talk and the massive all-star closure panel, in which I had the chance to clarify certain things I left out in the original talk. Here they are:

Bonni Rambatan — From Computer-Mediated Sex to Computer-Generated Sexuality:
MP3 | Video | Lecture Notes

Arse Elektronika 2008 Closure Panel, featuring all participants:

There is also a launching of Pr0nnovation? monochrom’s Arse Elektronika Anthology, and of course I’m getting my copy. Get yours here for $25.

And, last but not least, Flickr photos!

But ah, if you also have photos or want to browse more, just join the Arse Elektronika 2008 Flickr group!

So yeah, it was a lot of fun — very sexy, truly geeky, and all the time critical and intriguing. Though I cannot say I fully agree and endorse all the views of the speakers, nonetheless they are smart people worth listening to, far from your usual daily hedonist club. I am very glad that the Skype telepresence and filmed lecture screening went well (not to mention properly fitting the futuristic sci-fi setting!).

The only downside, though (beside missing all the live physical fun), is that it turns out to be pretty hard to predict how long you should talk and how detailed you have to explain things, since I cannot see the audience’s expression. In hindsight, I don’t think I did too well on the Q&A. My paranoid fantasy of me never getting my real point across still haunts. But I guess satisfactory audience understanding is my objet a, much as the electric sheep is the object-cause of desire for your stereotypical android.

UPDATE (10/06): Oh, and hey, there is now a picture of my televised self taken by Mela Mikes. Also, my talk is now available on TPM’s YouTube channel. Go and watch it if you haven’t, TPM readers! ;)

Arse Elektronika 2008 Coming Up!

Posted in Announcements! with tags , , , , , , , on September 6, 2008 by Bonni Rambatan
Arse Elektronika 2008

Arse Elektronika 2008

Hi, TPM readers! I’m excited to announce that Arse Elektronika 2008 is coming up in less than three weeks! If you happen to be either 1) a culture/sex/tech theorist, 2) a sexy geek, or 3) a geeky pervert and are in or near San Francisco in September 25th to 28th, go and grab your tickets now because it will be an event you wouldn’t want to miss out!

Since I am all three above, I am privileged enough to be a speaker, and I’ll be presenting my latest research paper titled “From Computer-Mediated Sex to Computer-Generated Sexuality: An Outlook on the Posthuman Sexual Trope” (abstract available here — scroll down to my name) on the final day (September 28th) at 1 PM. I had a little trouble coming to the States last time (the country won’t let me in), but this time things should (hopefully) work out.

For those of you who cannot come, I will post a download link to my lecture notes in PDF on this website after the event is over. An audio recording of my lecture will also be available at a later time.

Stay tuned to The Posthuman Marxist, and see you in San Francisco!



And this also means I will be canceling ALL my future appearances in the United States indefinitely. I cannot tell you how this news frustrates me. But I will continue to provide links to resources on this website.

Fetus Art and Virtual Art

Posted in Pop Culture with tags , , , , on June 17, 2008 by Bonni Rambatan

I wrote something like this some time ago for an art magazine, but haven’t received any responses… But anyway, the topic has crossed my mind several times, and I do not recall anyone else discussing this topic. Here by “virtual art” I am not talking about new media art in the strict sense. Instead, I am talking about art that is virtual in the sense that it does not really exist — but nevertheless has real effects. One good example I always mention, and perhaps the only one up to now: Aliza Shvartz’s fetus art. It has been two months since the incident, and people rarely talk about it now, but I think there is a huge aspect that many generally overlook. You would notice how Shvartz finally decided to do another project for her final assignment — and many see this as a loss. I, however, read it as the opposite — it is a major win for Shvartz, precisely because it is through this gesture that she can preserve the fantastic mystery of her so-called fetus art.

Did you notice how much controversy the art has sparked even before it even has an empirical existence? This precisely illustrates my point on what I call the virtuality of art. I claim that every art — in fact, every text — has this domain that could not be precisely put into a certain deterministic discourse (which I would read within the context of psychoanalytic informatics, but not here). What is the strength of this virtuality? Why is this a post in a Marxist blog? The answer, of course, lies in the deadlock of the complicity of art and capitalism — the postmodern lifestyle where aesthetics has replaced ethics, in which every art is thus an instrument of ideology, and so on. I would admit this deadlock otherwise, but the fetus art incident brought a very new phenomenon to the stage. Nobody in their right mind would appropriate such extreme posthuman gesture of art in their lifestyle — our (current) capitalist ideology is not capable of doing so.

Let us go a bit further: for me, the power of fetus art lies precisely and only in its virtuality. If it was enacted, let’s say that Yale permitted her to do it, the entire structure of fantasy would collapse — it would either be fake, which would be simply stupid, or it would be real, which may suggest psychosis and complicate matters further. Like Schrödinger’s cat whose mystery vanish when the box is opened and an observer is introduced, fetus art’s grandeur resides precisely in the virtual pre-empiric realm in which the state of fact and fiction collide.

It is by functioning in this virtual realm that I claim a true subversive art is possible. The ideal (proto-)object of art would be, like fetuses up for exhibition, something that radically fully assume capitalist fantasies of commodification more than the capitalists are ready to assume themselves, to show them what nightmare our current ideology could become. Now think of an idea while I’m writing a proposal for a politically-correct Folsom Fair equivalent for coprophiliacs using pills to produce healthy hygienic shit. And by the way, my group dance performance using twenty voluntary corpses will take place next Sunday — yes, they are gonna be mutilated to five parts each nearing the end.