Artgasm – Orgasms as Art

Stahl Stenslie


The Artgasm project investigates how orgasms can be experienced as art. Artgasm presents orgasms as an ultimate form of art and aesthetic experience. The project stimulates volunteer participants into orgasm through a medically crafted orgasm machine, an ‘orgasmotron’. Through a clinical treatment and with qualified medical personnel, the project manipulates its audience/participants to experience the maximum of corporeal pleasure, i.e., the orgasm. The orgasms are induced through a neural stimulation technique, using a custom-built medical device. On average, males will become erect and ejaculate within two minutes. Female participants are in need of longer periods of stimulation. Artgasm: 
recombines aesthetics with ecstatics and ascetics represents art as pure physical pleasure, transforms orgasms and fluids to art, and thereby questions our understanding of art and the artistic material  questions the control of pleasure – by making it uncontrollable; it physically forces pleasure onto participants use semen as a statement of biopolitics (identity, nationality, bio-market) engineers the pleasure of joy; literally orgasms by pushing a button; a dream turning unpleasant
Artgasm trims down art to the original meaning of aesthetics: perception by means of the senses (from aisthesis: the appearance of that which, of itself, shows itself). Artgasm is a pure, measurable and visible corporal experience, commenting on the biopolitics of pleasure control. Michel Foucault’s history of sexuality suggests that pleasure and truth is found under the rule of self-control. In a society where the individual’s life is dominated by the care for the self, excess becomes the danger.

Stahl Stenslie is an artist, a curator, and a researcher specializing in experimental art, embodied experiences, and disruptive technologies. He has a PhD on ‘Touch and Technologies’ from School of Architecture and Design, Oslo. His artworks that challenge ordinary ways of perceiving the world include: cyber_SM (1993), Inter_Skin (1994), Sense:Less (1996), Erotogod (2001), The Blind Theater (2009), and Somatic Sound (2015). The technological focus in his works is on the art of the recently possible, such as panhaptic communication on smartphones, somatic sound and holophonic soundspaces, and open-source disruptive design for emerging technologies. He has exhibited and lectured at international events including ISEA, DEAF, Ars Electronica, and SIGGRAPH. His work has appeared at the Ichihara Lakeside Museum (2014) and he represented Norway at the 5th International Istanbul Biennial (1997). Stahl also co-organized 6cyberconf (1997) and is a recipient of a Grand Prize of the Norwegian Council for Cultural Affairs. He has moderated various symposiums like Ars Electronica (Next Sex), ArcArt, and Oslo Lux. He co-founded The Journal of Somaesthetics and is editor in chief of EE – Experimental Emerging Art.;;