Fear, impotence and remote masturbation: repression of male sexuality in Stelarc’s rhetoric and performance practice

Ploeger, Daniël (2010) Fear, impotence and remote masturbation: repression of male sexuality in Stelarc’s rhetoric and performance practice. Media-N: Journal of the New Media Caucus, 6 (2). ISSN 1942-017X

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Abstract

In this paper, a reading of Australian artist Stelarc’s work is presented, which suggests that both his rhetoric and performance practice can be read as signs of repressed male sexuality. Taking Stelarc’s idealization of cybersex and his rhetoric of the hardened, hollowed body as a starting point, potential sexual implications of Stelarc’s theoretical and practical approach to the body as part of a cybernetic network are examined. Drawing from research on the correlation between the Freudian castration complex and actual impotence, the author proposes to connect Amelia Jones’s psychoanalytical reading of the masculinist implications of Stelarc’s rhetoric to bio-behavioural research into inhibition of male sexual response. Thus, what is examined is how Stelarc’s rhetoric can be interpreted as an expression of male fear of impotence. Subsequently, it is argued that the deliberate exposure of the male body’s weakness in Stelarc’s performance practice can be read as a sign of fear of loss of social esteem, which would follow from sexual failure. Meanwhile, it is demonstrated that these readings of rhetoric and practice both fit within a bio-behavioural model that locates the origin of inhibition of male sexual response in fear of sexual failure and its social consequences.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Music
Depositing User: Daniel Ploeger
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2012 10:04
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2012 13:07
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/37949
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