Theorizing The Web

My paper, “Grindr: Browsing and Geolocating Sexiness” was accepted to the 2012 Theorizing The Web Conference in April! This conference seeks to assemble a multi-disciplinary group of scholars interestes in exploring how the Web both influences and is influenced by the social.

The quest for actualization and interconnection within socially mediated realities, such as Facebook, Linkedin, OkCupid, and Grindr, is linked with an individual’s desire for pleasure and power.  Drawing from Sigmund Freud’s book Civilization and Its Discontents and Michel Foucault’s concept of space and power, my paper examines how Grindr, an all gay male location-based social network application for mobile phones, is altering the space and time of sexual relationships and the way users signify or survey their sexuality. Grindr, as a heterotopic space of otherness, is able to surpass the limits of Victorian ideology by liberating sex from the confines of the home. However, it also controls and represses the individual’s desire for physical sex through the censorship provided by the culture’s super-ego and the guilt produced by the ego. This paper seeks to answer the following question: What is it that users of Grindr ultimately desire from this technology and how is this desire regulated or maintained by civilization?

This year they are also calling artists to participate. I took this opportunity to suggest playing the short film I wrote, Over & Out. The film explores the way we wrap ourselves around technology to communicate with others, as well as the way we recycle memories and meaning into our new technical objects. If you are not into speaking panels, you should come check out my film!