The Artgasm

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Artgasm is ecsthetic – combining aesthetics with ecstatics and ascetics

The Artgasm performance  (2004) is an extreme body manipulative affair. It presents orgasms as art, trimming down art to the original meaning of aesthetics as perception by means of the senses. The experience is conceived both as a performance and open to public participation. The project is both a free, artistic experiment on the materiality of art as well as a critique of an art-market and art-system ruled by social control mechanisms and commercial interests. Present biopolitics promotes pleasure and truth under a rule of self-control. Artgasm questions when excess become the danger? And would you like to experience forced pleasure?

Artgasm medically manipulates the male audience/participant to experience the maximum of corporal pleasure, ie orgasm. The orgasms are involuntarily induced through a medical device and under the medical treatment of a doctor and nurse. By neural stimulation males will erect and ejaculate within two minutes.


  • recombines aesthetics with ecstatics and ascetics
  • is a work of art as pure physical pleasure. It makes orgasms to art. And thereby questions our understanding of art and the artistic material
  • questions the control of pleasure – by making it uncontrollable. It physically forces pleasure on the participants
  • use semen as a statement of biopolitics (identity, nationality, bio-market)
  • engineers the pleasure of joy. This is literally orgasms by pushing a button. A dream turning unpleasant.

Artgasm (from aisthesis: the appearance of that which, of itself, shows itself). Artgasm is a pure, measurable and visible corporal experience. It is indirectly a critique of the contemporary art-market and art-system ruled by social control mechanisms and commercial interests. Further it comments on the biopolitics of pleasure control. Foucault’s history of sexuality suggests that. Artgasm makes pleasure a combination of the schism between sexual regulation and self-discipline versus libertine or permissive conduct. All forced onto the participants.

Form: Public performance where anonymous participants are given an orgasm incl. ejaculation by a medical team. On stage there are six people: three volunteers and a medical team of one doctor and two nurses/assistants. Number of audience is not limited. After the performance, art as orgasms will be offered to the audience.

Technology: By the use of a special medical vibrator applied to a specific nerve on penis it is possible to induce an orgasm/ejaculation to any male participant, whether he wants it or not. The device used is built to give orgasms to men with spinal cord injuries. Time from applied stimulus to erection to orgasm/ejaculation is in average 2. Induced orgasm is also partly applicable to women, but is not a part of this performance.

Atmosphere: The performance/installation is in a clean, hygienic laboratory ambience with a non-erotic atmosphere. There should be no indications or signs or hints in the direction of psychosexual stimulus. The room should be well lighted.

Situation: each participant (3+) are put on a surgical table and covered in a white, medical cloth. Their penis can be exposed through a hole in the cloth. 10 minutes prior to performance the participant mus take a necessary heart medicine (betablocker) to avoid stress of the heart. Then the procedure of i: stimulus, ii: erection and iii: ejaculation is started. The betablocker is important since a physically induced corporal excitement without a mental stimulation is potentially dangerous. A team of on doctor and two nurses in the usual uniforms apply the apparatus until the erection/orgasm/ejaculation cycle is completed. Their behaviour is medical, technical and functional. They are professionals just doing their job of making men achieve ejaculation/orgasm. The sperm is collected in a medical container. This could be used for other purposes/use. The sperm is also the manifestation of “pleasure”.

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