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  • Writer's pictureGEM LAB

Pornography's Graphical Interface

Pornography's Graphical Interface

Patrick Keilty (University of Toronto)

March 9, 2018, 5pm

GEM lab (FB630.15)

Globally, online pornography is a $97 billion industry and more than a hundred million people visit pornographic video streaming sites every day. Online pornography sites may seem like amateurish distribution services. Instead, they are sophisticated technology companies that employ hundreds of technical staff to design and develop interfaces, algorithms, data mining software, data analytics software, video streaming software, and database management systems. These designers are responsible for making strategic choices about information management and the graphical organization of content that translates into large profits, innovative capitalist media techniques, and dominant modes for curating, distributing, and regulating our experience of sexual desire today. This talk focuses on one aspect of this design strategy: the creation of an immersive viewing experience to increase attention retention and “time on site.” How does the pornography industry design for desire? How does this differ from similar practices in other industries? What can theories of desire add to our understanding of how these systems operate? Patrick Keilty is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. His primary research interest is the politics of digital infrastructures in the online pornography industry. He has written about embodiment and technology, the history of information retrieval, technological transformations of gendered labor, graphic design, and much besides. His current research is generously supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. He is co-lead editor of Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience.

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