Cybersex Technologies of an artist called Matta

and of his sex drawings from the early 1940's

by Joseph Nechvatal

The new internet webbed computer technologies are preparing us for connectivity with a new reality of fantasy sex, a genesis of our synthetic desires given full reign. If when we are in cybersex we are leaving the classical earthly bodily sexual feeling for one another, it is not in order to dematerialize our desire but to inhabit a new corporeality that is almost totally artificial, bionic, and prosthetic. The drawings of Matta from the early 1940's illustrates this rush in a way I never imagined seeing depicted at such an early point in time, for me predicting and illustrating the point of cybersex with an almost prophet like vision. Just as today the cyberlover is no longer concerned with the creation of another's satisfaction but with the construction of a personal onastic synthetic sex (the goal being Hypersex), Matta's fuckers seek hypersex in the hyperbody of blissed out imagination. This is to speak about post- biological sex as interface where the user of the body has volitional control over various electronic devices directly linking the nervous system's electronic signals, creating biocontrollers, a technology providing direct information channels between the human and computer (muscles, eyes, genitals and brain) where the free play of imagination can play like wild. And it is the interface to erotic networks, to systems of connectivity and interactivity, that is Matta's primary concern. Interface is contingent upon sexual content through interactivity between the viewer and the interface-as-sex object. It is in this sense that I say that Matta's drawings construct a system by which, and in interaction with which, cybersex is generated. The degree to which the correlation is "human" is of very little significance. The human value of the feelings generated resides in the intervention of the (human) user of the sex-art.

Let me then, rather simplistically, review the principal factors contributing to the Mattaesque cybersex rupture in which we are so profoundly implicated: Electronic, computer-mediated, and post-biological systems are now a fundamental part of our daily sex life and are playing a significant role in the transformation and globalization of cyberculture. People working with these systems are seeking the means to increase their cognitive and sensory immersion in the sex-dataspaces and sex- datastructures they create. Sexual interactivity is a quality increasingly sought by the public in all aspects of communications, of what used to be called 'intercourse.' Sexual fantasy interactivity empowers the individual to participate in the workings of an imaginary system, whether that system operates at the conceptual, behavioral, or environmental level, and whether it is utilitarian or artistic or sexual. The public is becoming increasingly aware of the value of electronic space as a space for personal sex transformation, communications, play, learning, and information. Older cultural notions of reality cannot adapt to the fantasy needs of the new post-biological, electronic, and on-line sex.

of people, places, kinky ideas, sex systems
of the user in the dataspace of the imaginary Matta sex space
with imaginary sex partners encountered
TRANSFORMATION of the consciousness of sex and of the artist Matta himself, and of yourself.
Radical reconstruction, redescription, and redefinition are called for: of our sexual relationships, and of ourselves. And therefore high on the agenda is sex art as interface, interface as sex art. Here, too, the telematic rule that fantasy must supersede significance applies. It must be the mission of cybersex art to provide the space, no doubt a dataspace, within which the fucker can be empowered to navigate his or her own pathways through sexual discernment. The Electronic and Post-Biological sex will increasingly embody qualities of open-endedness, of sensory immersion of the viewing subject, of intensive interactivity and connectivity, from which new material will emerge and from which a new art will evolve. The sex universe Matta imagines and draws is the global net, digitally informed but interfaced to increasingly "hot" materials and "intelligent" sex fantasies. In the new cybersex we must constitute networks of fluid, flowing open systems, supporting the qualities of open-endedness and emergence, and encouraging connectivity at all levels with all peoples and non-peoples. Cybersex offers dynamic orgasms rather than fixed and static fabrication of preexisting stereotypes. It will first need to be seeded, data-fed, technologically sustained, and allowed to grow and blossom.

It is important to make some reference to the impact of Matta's work on the field of the cybersex worker. The cybersex worker practicing in the telematic culture is a "distributed" sex partner, a paradigm of connectivity, whose technical expertise, imagination and conceptual skill will be found spread through the networks rather than embodied in a single interchange. Just as with the electronic implied sex in Matta's drawings, in Les Lits Des Vulgivagues for example, the cybersex show becomes a fun world that includes both human and artificial penetrations. The telematic sex process calls for the networking of a constant flow of transient hypotheses.

Here are some aspects of the design process in the telematic mental bedroom:
The overarching need is to design a world fit for telepresence sex: a fulfilling life in the Net. The evolution of the "fuckconducer" (the on- line consumer interjector) will result from increasing consumption and production in the electronic sex marketplace, the demand.Sex markets, requiring designed sex fantasy products for full sexual dream life, will call for close collaboration between the cybersex-art worker and the cognitive scientist. Projects such as the design of bionic interfaces to the world net and instruments for person-to-person sex communication in the nanosphere will have to be constructed. The development of warm systems and orgasm building components, calling for new vibrator type initiatives is needed. The design of communication systems within and between artificial and sex forms is needed, as Matta designs. New instruments and systems will have to be designed to enable us to access telememory and the virtualization of our own past sexual fantasies.

Virtual Reality has as its interface the total body--thus new communication sex costumes and tele-sex-wear will be required. Zones of tele-sex-mediation will have to be designed to service the increasing need for sexually voracious humans within the telematic culture. Hypersexual practice provides the clearest expression of our society's will, and its capacity for construction of various fantasies which emerge into realities. It not only articulates that will, it sharpens its resolve by identifying, clarifying, and invigorating the essential hot issues of desire. But in Matta's depiction of cybersex the view increasingly is taken that reality is no longer a given, pre-defined and pre-ordained, but instead is to be constructed, bottom up, such that the definition and evolution of natural actions and our own human identity are progressively subject to our technological invention. The will to rethink, reconstruct and build new sexual realities is emerging. Cybersex will promulgate the three axes of our humanity: connectivity, construction, and love. It is precisely at the convergence of these desires that we must look to Matta for significance in the new erotic technologies, and in the emergence of sexual interactivity that exploits the transformative potential of the new technological and post-biological systems. Matta's cybersex heightens transpersonal experience and is the defining behavior of a transpersonal art. His cybersex involves transpersonal technology, the technology of communication, sharing, collaborating -- the technologies that enable us to transform our selves, transfer our fantasies, and transcend the limitations of our bodies. His transpersonal sexual experience gives us insight into the interconnectedness of all things, the permeability and instability of boundaries, the lack of distinction between part and whole, female and male, foreground and background, context and content and color. Matta's transpersonal sexual technology is the technology of networks, hypermedia, cyberspace, cyberorganism.Matta's rendering of this cyberorgasm gives us access to mental pictures on which to base the holomatic media of the cybernet. The holomatic sex-principle is that each interface to the net is an aspect of a telematic unity: to be in or at any one interface is to be in the virtual presence of all the other interfaces throughout the network. This is because all the sex data flowing through any access node of a network is equally and at the same time held in the memory of that network: it can be accessed at any other interface through cable or satellite links, from any part of the planet, at any time of day or night. It is this cyberorgy that enables us to perceive the apparitions of cyberspace, the cuming-into-being of virtual propinquity. It is through cybersex that we can apprehend the processes of emergence in the media-flow, the invisible forces and fields of our many realities. We cyberceive transformative relationships and connectivity as immaterial process, just as palpably and immediately as we commonly perceive material objects in material locations. The cyber-sex-net is also the agent of realization and construction, embracing a multiplicity of electronic pathways to robotic sexual systems, intelligent porno environments, artificial orgasms. And in so far as men and women inhabit parallel worlds, and open up divergent trajectories, cybersex may enable us to become simultaneously conscious of them all, or at least to zap at will across multiple sex universes.

The transpersonal technologies of telepresence, global networking, and cyberspace may be stimulating and reactivating parts of the apparatus of a primal sex consciousness long forgotten and made obsolete by a mechanistic world view. Cybersex may mean an awakening of our latent psychic powers, our capacity to be out of body, or in mind-to-mind, genital-to-genital symbiosis with all others at opposite ends of the globe, as Matta's drawings suggest.

Before, we thought, saw and fucked things in a linear manner, one after another, one woman hidden behind another, one man behind the next, leading us to this or that finality, and along the way dividing the world up into categories and classes of people: women with impermeable boundaries, bodies with impenetrable interiors, superficial simplicities of vision that ignored the infinite complexities of desire. But Matta's picture of cybersex means getting a sense of a whole, acquiring a bird's eye view of desire, the astronaut's view of pleasure, the cybernaut's view of infatuation. It's a matter of high speed sexual feedback, access to massive sex databases, interaction with a multiplicity of mind-genital complexes, seeing with a thousand eyes, reaching into the enormity of sex space, even to the edge of time. Matta's cybersex is the antithesis of tunnel love or linear thought. It is an all-at-once penetration of a multiplicity of sexual positions, with extensions in all dimensions that allows us to interact fully with the values of our age of desire. His telesexual presence is the province of the distributed self, of remote meetings in cyberspace, of on-line passions. Telesexual presence means instant global interaction with a thousand sex partners, being with any one of them, or all of them, virtually at the same time. Telepresence defines the new human sexual identity perhaps more than any other aspect of the repertoire of cyberculture. Contemporary sex and shopping will become approximately the same thing. Each sex partner is a prettified and prepared production, each component chosen from a catalogue. This type of sexual mental practice has put the appeasement of Eros before collaboration with Thanatos. The need for Matta type ideas and depiction's of cybersex through interface and through sexual nodes will not go away even as typical pornographic representations flourish. We shall increasingly screw in two worlds, the real and the virtual; which is to say, the realistic and more fluid and loopy fantastic. These worlds interconnect at many points. I'm sure you would agree. The growing perspective within which the evolution of a new collective orgasm is viewed is not that only of the computer-machine, despite our evident reliance on the technological sustenance of computer systems, and electronic engineering, but technosex culture will come from the new biology, molecular engineering, smart and warm materials, artificial life, neural networks and erotic art. The recent popularity of computer simulations of the external surfaces of the body, and of the virtual body image that we are witnessing, mark the end of a sex period in which the mimetic and symbolic are central. Matta's role in providing representations of cybersex is shifting us to creating fantastic sex worlds, of inventing alternative sexual realities, a process in which the observer becomes an active participant. The attempt is no longer to imitate sexual behavior but to emulate it, as part of the co-evolution with nature that is our contemporary goal. We are entering the post-biological sex era and it is the intricately woven fabric of telematic networks that will both unclothe and fulfill our endeavors.

Copyright ©1995 Joseph Nechvatal All Rights Reserved

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