New Media, Sex, and Culture in the 21st Century
Museum of New Art, Detroit
Curated by Steve Coy and Jonathan Lillie
October 2 – October 30, 2010
Showcasing THE SCHOOL OF SPAM (SPAM the musical).
This is what the museum says about the show:
‘Sex has a long history of being subjected to technologies of observation, regulation, enhancement, and representation. Certainly many of the discourses and technologies of the Internet have been preoccupied with it, even though the U.S. government and other groups have tried to make it harder for people to find sex online. One of the messages of the “cyberporn scare” of the mid to late 1990s in the U.S. was: It’s here, and it’s bad! But in the drawn-out process of letting everybody know about it, online porn became somewhat normalized.
As Internet-researcher Niels van Doorn argues, “pornography has been involved in a ‘mainstreaming’ process over the past decade…simultaneously, the public discourse on sex and sexuality has grown exponentially.”
Foucault observes how sundry discourses of sexuality espouse a veil of silence and prudishness towards sex while at the same time positioning people to seek knowledge about it, observe it and talk about it.
The rhetoric of the cyberporn scare asked society to wall up and hide pornography, but ended up forcing people to accept it and engage it more directly, whether it is to talk about it, joke about it, actively seek it, or actively avoid it.
Web2.0 publishing tools and social media networks have made it easier for people to publically talk about sex and to publish their own sex online for anyone to see.
Scholars and artists who explore many such aspects of online pornography, sexual identities in today’s society, femininity, masculinity, desire, pleasure, family politics, liberation and repression, prostitution, sexual violence, and other topics are featured in the MONA’s upcoming exhibition “New Media, Sex, and Culture in the 21st Century.’