Stephen A. Schrum

ATHEMOO and NetSe­duc­tion: Cen­sor­ship and The Art of Sex­ting Before Cell Phones

Abstract: This ses­sion will recall the pro­duc­tion of NetSe­duc­tion staged in ATHEMOO in 1996. Though only a text-based vir­tual real­ity, it caused con­ster­na­tion and efforts of cen­sor­ship by the mod­er­a­tor of ATHEMOO, who was wor­ried that the frank sex­ual dia­logue would cause offense. (This, of course, assumed that any­one would actu­ally log in and show up for the per­for­mance.) Flash-forward to 2012, with cell phone users “sex­ting” and Sec­ond Life avatars par­tic­i­pat­ing in con­sen­sual “pixel sex.” Was text-only more dan­ger­ous than full-frontal car­toon­age? Or has cul­ture change that makes text-only less pow­er­ful, by virtue of their ubiq­uity in a constantly-texting society?

Bio: Stephen A. Schrum, PhD is Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor of The­atre Arts at Pitt-Greensburg. His research area is cur­rently “The Per­cep­tion of Pres­ence in Vir­tual Per­for­mance,” and he has directed vir­tual pro­duc­tions of The Bac­chae and Prometheus Bound in Sec­ond Life (SL). He began teach­ing with tech­nol­ogy in 1993, and his pub­li­ca­tions include the book, The­atre in Cyber­space: Issues of Teach­ing, Act­ing and Direct­ing (as edi­tor, 2000); “The­atre in Sec­ond Life® Holds the VR Mir­ror Up To Nature,” in Hand­book of Research on Com­pu­ta­tional Arts and Cre­ative Infor­mat­ics (2009), and “Teach­ing in the Vir­tual The­atre Class­room,” in Teach­ing Through Multi-User Envi­ron­ments (2010).