Inter_skin II


Sciencia sexualis of the Western civilisation charts and directs sexu-ality with great precision. Dealing with sexuality is the concern of education/institutions and moral codes i.e. of the field of culture. Art is beyond culture, it is a by-product of sorts, an excess, a trans-gression of the norm. Science and technology make possible an autonomy of pleasure and the separation of sexuality and repro-duction. The development of digital technology provides the contemporary sexual body with sexual gratification in virtual space. Transported to a laboratory, sexuality becomes independent of the body of the other. But, is sex without the Other possible? Do we invent some imaginary cultural identity of the other person when engaged in this sort of sexual contact? Is a sexual relationship based only on physical stimulation — “pure sex” — possible, and finally, what is the relation between phantasm and physical stimulus?

The Inter_skin II (2004) project by the Norwegian artist Stahl Stanslie, which deals with digital age sexual practices, answers some of these questions. The medium of his work is the body — a sexual body receiving and transmitting data through a multi-sensorial suit. Stenslie’s suits do not serve to prevent, restrict or inhibit, but rather to stimulate. His construct is a pleasure machine, providing a kind of pleasure that’s still stigmatised and taboo.

Inter_skin II is a fetishist digital sexual tool used for tactile communication. It occupies the border between sex in cyberspace/cybersex, sex with actual body contact (coitus) and auto-eroticism. Here, touching ourselves we arouse our partner, and an additional option alows us to determine the strength of this stimuli. Sexual experience is transferred via computerised network of interfaces, making it is a form of informa-tion exchange. The sexual contact of telepresent bodies excludes direct touching of flesh, fluid exchange or intimacy. Stenslie turnes sexuality into a pleasure field where sexual/gender definitions become irrelevant, together with the issue of promiscuity.

With Inter_skin II, sex becomes an aesthetic communication practice expressing orgasmic creativity, and we are turned into sexual cy-borgs, participants of a sexual evolution that shields us from pro-creation and disease by means of a technological prosthesis.

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