Vienna net-art-pranksters Monochrom have just posted their annual call-for-submissions for Arse Elektronika, "Do Androids Sleep with Electric Sheep? Critical Perspectives on Sexuality and Pornography in Science and Social Fiction."
Arse Elektronika 2008 — "Do Androids Sleep with Electric Sheep?" — will take place at San Francisco's Ft. Mason Center. September 25 thru 28, 2008.
Taking up where the successful conference in autumn 2007 left off, this year's Arse Elektronika stands under the motto "future" — and the ways in which the present sees itself reflected in it. Maintaining a broadened perspective on technical development and technology while also putting special emphasis on its social implementation, this year's conference focuses on Science and Social Fiction.
The genre of the "fantastic" is especially well suited to the investigation of the touchy area of sexuality and pornography: actual and assumed developments are frequently depicted positively and approvingly, but just as often with dystopian admonishment. Here the classic, and continuingly valid, themes of modernism represent a clear link between the two aspects: questions of science, research and technologization are of interest, as is the complex surrounding urbanism, artificiality and control (or the loss of control). Depictions of the future, irregardless of the form they take, always address the present as well. Imaginations of the fantastic and the nightmarish give rise to a thematic overlapping of the exotic, the alienating and, of course, the pornographic/sexual as well.
In order to intelligently contextualize the abundance of queries that are involved here, this year's conference will be structured around three day-long discussion panels, each devoted to a specific theme. The impossibility of fitting many of these issues and relationships into such neat categorizations is not only accepted, but also encouraged.