THE VISCERAL EMBODIMENT OF DIGITAL PLEASURES
This panel explores digital pleasures that arise through the entanglement of bodies and digital technologies. Focusing on the digital structures and affordances that facilitate seeking, receiving and giving pleasure we analyse the ways in which intimacy is not only interactive, but also profoundly embodied. Haraway’s work in particular highlights the importance of taking seriously the nexus of human bodies and technologies and attending to the ways in which technologies not only deliver and mediate pleasure, but potentially expand upon our capacity to experience it. This panel explores how mediated practices engage the body as a site of pleasure and embodied affective intensity. Within this frame, we suggest that digitally mediated pleasures, while widely consumed, still have a hint of the ‘fringe’ or ‘subversive’. As well as proposing a theoretical framework for understanding embodied digital pleasures, this panel also examines specific examples of digital pleasure from sex to drugs and sound. To date the research corpus has largely focused upon the micro-social interactions of digital intimacies. This emphasis on relational intimacy puts the body into the background of the digitally mediated encounter and limits the ways in which we can talk about embodiment, sex and pleasure online. Embodied pleasure is intrinsic to the human condition, and digital media is deeply embedded in contemporary life. How these intersect is a key piece of the puzzle of what it means to be human in contemporary society.