There is something retro about the concept of ‘storytelling’ and I prefer it to the concept of immersive experience when it comes to new media forms, not least because I find that storytelling has an essence of duration, playfulness and process to it. Of course these are edgy, perhaps for some even superfluous distinctions – after all Henry Jenkings in his Transmedia Storytelling 101 blogpost ultimately thinks of storytelling as the means to an end (an experience):
Registration is now open for the Staging Illusion: Digital and Cultural Fantasy conference, which is organised by my colleague Russell Pearce and others in the Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies & the Centre for Material Digital Culture at Sussex Uni.
I’ll be giving a paper on the The remediation of real bodies in genderqueer online porn: politics, control and affective labour. See abstract below and the conference tumblr blog here:
Online environments and web 2.0 platforms today appear as sites of experimentation and as opportunities to construct brand new sexual identities. The websites of queer alternative porn production companies increasingly employ the language of ‘real’ bodies. This opens up questions about the mediation of social meanings about queer and women in these sites. What kinds of publics are forming around this mediation?
Recent studies of online queer porn production have focused on questions of user authenticity (Attwood, 2010; Mowlabocus, 2010). These are concerned with the incompatibility between embodied actuality and ideal fluid cybersubjectivity (Wakeford, 2002; O’Riordan, 2007). However apart from user control, issues of authenticity in online queer alternative porn can be fruitfully thought as forms of labour.
This paper analyses discourses of authenticity in the websites nofauxxx.com and Furry Girl, two production companies from the field of genderqueer porn, which incorporate sexual and feminist politics in some way. The first component of my argument is that, in ‘real‘ body discourses, this kind of porn production appears un-mediated. The mediation aspects of digital culture are in this process occluded. Secondly, I suggest that through this emphasis on queer visibility and authenticity, sexuality is constructed both as a disciplinary site and a site for value extraction. In particular, as ‘real’ bodies in these cases translate into diverse, inclusive and multiple, they create new needs and desires for politically sensitive lesbian consumers in neoliberal societies.
UPDATE: My article entitled ‘Remediating queer politics in online porn: Brand(ed) new sexualities and real bodies’, will be published in the special issue ‘Revolting Bodies: Desiring Lesbians’, in the Journal of Lesbian Studies (Forthcoming).