Exploring Do-It-With-Others communities in the realm of SexTech.

Paper Presentation @ Politics Of the Machines Conference 2021 - Rogue Research
presenting side by side with the amazing ︎︎︎Alice Stewart.

In the past couple of years a growing number of online as well as offline initiatives emerged which are now often referred to as Maker movement. Linked to the early hackerspaces of "phygital" commoning practices and through its central notion of democratizing technology, making has moved, both with political and/or financial support from the understanding of a hobbyist activity to a mainstream phenomenon.

Taking into account the recent critique of the homogenizing and exclusionary tendencies of Free Tech Culture (Wuschitz 2014, Toupin 2014, SSL Nagbot 2016) which challenged these visions as rather naïve and even technosolutionist (Lindtner et al. 2016) in this paper we want to propose that the ideals of open access, free circulation of information and horizontal cooperation might form a crucial basis for the delicate task of linking technology with sexuality. In maker culture, engaging with the material process is a way to decode rules of mass market and rewrite societal assumptions inscribed professional design. We will outline practices of communities dedicated to Open source sex tech and the ways they already attract a particularly diverse range of traditionally underserved contributors by validating and meeting people where they are.

We will reflect upon our own practice based research to show how a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) and Do-It-With-Others (DIWO) attitudes to intimate technology allow to reflect upon the role of the stigmatized in design processes. As technologies become closer to our bodies and increasingly interwoven with our personal lives(Søndergaard & Hansen 2018) we will discuss how Making in the sexual context may increase body as well as tech literacy and the impact this might have on personal autonomy and people’s ability to make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing.

Wuschitz, S. (2014). Feminist Hackerspaces. A Research on Feminist Space Collectives in Open Culture. Vienna University of Technology.

Toupin, S. (2014). Feminist Hackerspaces: The Synthesis of Feminist and Hacker Cultures. The Journal of Peer Production, 5.

SSL Nagbot. (2016). Feminist Hacking/Making: Exploring New Gender Horizons of Possibility. The Journal of Peer Production, 8 "Feminism and (Un)Hacking". http://peerproduction.net/issues/issue-8-feminism-and-unhacking-2/feminist-hackingmaking-exploring-new-gender-horizons-of-possibility/

Lindtner, S., Bardzell, S., & Bardzell, J. (2016). Reconstituting the Utopian Vision of Making: HCI After Technosolutionism. Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 1390–1402. https://doi.org/10.1145/2858036.2858506

Søndergaard, M.L.J & Hansen, L. K. 2018. Intimate Futures: Staying with the Trouble of Digital Personal Assistants through Design Fiction. In Proc. DIS 2018. ACM (2018)