23C3 - 1.5

23rd Chaos Communication Congress
Who can you trust?

Tina Lorenz
Day 3
Room Saal 2
Start time 21:45
Duration 01:00
ID 1422
Event type Lecture
Track Culture
Language English

Pornography and Technology

a love affair

Pornography is an abstract phenomenon. It cannot exist without a medium to propagate it, and it has very little (if anything at all) to do with sex. The relationship between pornography, which is entirely fictional and sex, which is very real, very sweaty and mostly not a very aesthetic thing is something like the correlation of science-fiction literature and technological innovation: sometimes the ideas are bizarre, completely nuts and would never work without a Heisenberg Compensator - but sometimes some fragment lasts and is taken to the real world.

The key to pornography is perception; perception is passive and naturally conceptional, since the eye and the brain have to translate the image (be it letters, a painting or a frame from a movie) into sexual stimulations and 'make something of it'. This is hard cognitive work that requires media competence and a high degree of ability to abstract. Contrary to the strong wish of authenticity and realism that prevails in most of the consumers, the techniques of sexual stimulation by pornography (and its side products like sex toys, for example) have become ever more fictional and not corporeal. We had to learn how to be sexually stimulated by something so far away from sex and all that precedes it that it seems almost impossible we managed it.

The relationship between pornography and technology has always been a love story of sorts: new developments in technology were an inviting incentive for the emerging porno industry which in turn, as it became more powerful, was supposed to have had enough weight to influence specific technological innovations. In all this, idealism did not surface; the power of what worked and therefore paid and what did not was entirely in the hands of the (predominantly male) customers, who were assumed to be techno-savvy. The porno industry was very open-minded and experimental, and in the quest of the next hot thing that sells, interesting approaches were made.

Typically, it's the porno industry that makes new developments interesting and available for the masses: one of the first fields of application of proprietary streaming solutions for example was the Cam Girls phenomenon: girls at home on their beds, who streamed their stamp-sized webcam pictures to dozens and hundreds of customers at the same time in real time. And just think of the remote-controlled dildo operated via online interface by a customer thousands of miles away at his computer.

Although Pornography may not be the number one factor geeks think about when they dream up new products and new standards (they usually dream about porn seperately, if they are not Zwiebeltuete fetishists), it features largely in the consideration if something new is going to be hot or not.

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