[NetBehaviour] Cyber Erotica and the Disappearing Arts.
marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Wed Jul 26 16:43:10 CEST 2006
Cyber Erotica and the Disappearing Arts.
Jul 25, 2006
Faced with the question, “And what do you do for fun?”, very few of us
would think to answer, “Oh, I write erotica.” But as online
you-and-me’s engaging in text-based cybersex--heck, even text-based
flirtying–that’s just what we’re doing.
Of course, most of us probably wouldn’t admit to our internet exploits
at cocktail parties anyways (Can you say conversation starter?), but the
point remains: When we use text to get each other off, we’re really
working together to create a collaboratively-authored story: a form of
art, however bad.
So why don’t we think of our sex chat as art? Because it’s fleeting, in
purpose and meaning. Because it disappears.
And I mean that (more of less) literally. Unless you keep cut-and-paste
records of your day-to-day chat, that text–be it the hottest cyber sex
you’ve ever had, or a totally inane conversation about mustard–is gone.
Needless to say, plenty of people approach disposable text with as
little artfulness as they might approach disposable panties. Which is
to say, none. “Start bring my and down just put against your pussy but
no rubbing. Then I jump little as I fell our hand going up and down
crack.” This is an excerpt from research sex with a native English
speaker in Second Life. As one more gal who goes weak in the knees for
good writing, I have to say: for shame.
Still, it’s one of those a chicken-and-the-egg dilemmas: Did sex chat
become throw-away because it’s thoughtless (as in, more often than not,
there seems to be no thought involved), or did it become thoughtless
because of it’s throw-away medium? If we had to write all our smut down
on paper, would it be more dear?
But back to the idea of a disappearing art: Cybersex certainly isn’t the
only type. Any art “act”–like the performance of a song, or of a
play–is itself fleeting. But at the same time some element of it–a
musical score, or a script–sticks around for posterity, for a
continuation of the art. What exactly is left behind after the
performance of erotica (a.k.a. cybersex)? Or is it’s artistic charm in
the fact that is really does disappear? After all, after reading enough
bad sex transcripts like the one above, you might give up on the idea
that sex chat is even art to start with.
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