Netporn delves into the aesthetics and politics of sexuality in the era of do-it-yourself (DIY) Internet pornography. Katrien Jacobs, drawing on digital media theory and interviews with Web porn producers and consumers, offers an unprecedented critical analysis of Web culture as digital artistry and of the corresponding heightened government surveillance and censorship of the Internet. Netporn features Web users who question the goals of global commercial porn industries-whether they are engaged in Usenet fringes, video blogging, peer-to-peer distribution, porn art collectives, or decadent amateurism. Emphasizing gender and cultural differences, Jacobs shows how the creative uses of netporn images and services are important ways of exploring or redefining the "network body" and indispensable ingredients of a maturing network society.
Katrien Jacobs's Netporn is an eyewitness account of sex life on the new digital frontier and an analytical report on how sensual imagination and activity is changing our world. From personal investigation and interviews with Internet porn producers and consumers, Jacobs is able to mark the evolving contradictions of an area where sex as freedom and expression runs up against commercial exploitation and government censorship. This up-to-date investigation makes concrete the sometimes vague and hyperbolic discussions of digital networking, and thus it carries on a substantial description of the interactive exchange between new media technologies and the new social relations, behaviors, and body functions. Thoughtful, sober, and adventurous, this is THE landmark study of new media for our time.
Pornography drives new technologies. Avant-garde porn enthusiasts and producers have a passion to learn about Webcams, video streaming, blogs, and peer-to-peer file exchanges. Katrien Jacobs is one such pioneer who takes the reader on a journey into the world of Internet porn. Jacobs provides cutting-edge scholarship on understudied cyber-subcultures that have grown up around the sharing of sexually explicit materials as she models a new type of cultural research for the digital age. It should be read by all those interested in the questions surrounding the intersection of technology, identity, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and cyber-culture. The sections on warporn and Abu Ghraib and on the netporn "blogolution" in greater China are two highlights. Jacobs clearly shows that sex and the digital revolution go far beyond Euro-American networks.
In resistance to the restrictive economy of the state and capital, as well as the rigid and globalizing nation-state surveillance Web, net porn practitioners in Jacobs's study are not only swapping porn and exchanging juicy scenes, but also staging pleasurable even sublime experiences through creating disorderly tastes and desires that enact the exuberance and ecstasy of our culture. As such, Netporn constitutes a powerful and timely intervention into the infringing and criminalizing power of the growing exclusive society as well as the regulatory state.
John Nguyet Erni
Jacobs's alluring book turns up the heat on media theory in its analysis of the world of Internet pornography. It represents the complex world of producing and consuming Internet pornography as a critical space of subcultural sexual experiments, and in so doing, compels us to experience the morphing patterns of arousal, at both the intellectual and bodily levels. Netporn is a serious academic achievement, even as it offers us a sweet temptation.
Katrien Jacobs is assistant professor in new media at City University of Hong Kong. She has lectured widely on gender, sexuality, new media art, globalization, and censorship. She is the author of Libi_doc: Journeys in the Performance of Sex Art.
Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 1 Netporn Browsing in Small Places and Other Spaces Chapter 3 2 Post or Perish: The New Media Schooling of the Amateur Pornographer Chapter 4 3 Porn Arousal and Gender Morphing in the Twilight Zone Chapter 5 4 Eros in Times of War: From Cross-Cultural Teasings to the Titillation of Torture Chapter 6 5 Post-Revolutionary Glimpses and Radical Silence: Netporn in Hong Kong and Mainland China Chapter 7 Conclusion