"SimpleSexSite" questions the relationship between desire and technology by highlighting the role technology plays in shaping and satisfying our desires. SINTRON boldly challenged the boundaries of art, technology, and social norms by aggregating and repurposing adult-oriented images and videos from across the World Wide Web. Utilizing a customized video game joystick interface, SINTRON 'stole' content from a myriad of professional adult websites, provoking heated reactions and even threats of decapitation from the affected providers.
Presented at the 2000 Whitney Biennial, with the assistance of RTMark, "SimpleAdultSite" took the form of a minimalistic website with a logo and a multi-select text form. Users were invited to interact with the artwork by selecting categories of adult content they wished to view. The artist's objective was to collect and display the most popular types of content on the Internet at the time, offering a stark commentary on the evolving relationship between digital technology, human desire, and contemporary art.
"SimpleSexSite" remains a powerful example of how art can push the limits of legality, ethics, and societal expectations, paving the way for subsequent generations of artists to explore the complex and ever-shifting boundaries between the virtual and the real. By presenting adult content as a simple and accessible form of entertainment, the artwork challenges traditional notions of shame and taboo surrounding this type of content and questions the extent to which technology has allowed us to indulge our desires without consequence.
The SSS Cyborg Link Harvester Game Interface
The game interface, which is responsible for harvesting and tagging images and videos, was ingeniously developed using Visual Basic, a programming language that enabled SINTRON to create a versatile and user-friendly environment. In conjunction with web spider technology, Visual Basic facilitated the process of searching, locating, and aggregating content from a vast array of adult websites. The score was the total number of adult content links harvested which were subsequently stored in a database.
At the core of the user experience was the SSS Cyborg Link Harvester, a unique and interactive feature that provided users with an initial seed list of adult sites. This seed list served as a starting point for users to navigate and preview through the various websites with ease, aided by the joystick's up, down and sideways motions. The fire button on the joystick enabled users to harvest all the links within a particular URL, simplifying the process and inviting more engagement with the artwork.
One notable aspect of the artwork was the inclusion of special effect sounds that provided auditory cues for user actions. These sounds included a nuclear detonation for harvesting an entire tree of content, and a laser gun sound effect for acquiring a single image. Sounds were randomized to ease the monotony of the task. This auditory component not only enriched the overall user experience but also reinforced the notion of the work as a game-like interaction.
The use of a joystick as the primary input device was a conscious decision by SINTRON to infuse a sense of playfulness and interactivity into the artwork. By merging familiar gaming elements with a controversial and socially charged subject matter, "SimpleSexSite" challenged the traditional boundaries of art and technology, ultimately ushering in a new dimension of artistic expression.
The SimpleSexSite.com Website
"SimpleAdultSite" extended its groundbreaking exploration of art and technology by incorporating a database-enabled ColdFusion application to serve the aggregated content on the web. ColdFusion, a rapid web application development platform, allowed SINTRON to create a dynamic and efficient method for organizing and displaying the vast array of adult images and videos obtained through the Cyborg link harvester.
The front-end website component of the artwork, reminiscent of Google's iconic search page, featured a minimalist black and white color scheme. This deliberate design choice underscored the simplicity and accessibility of the content, while simultaneously evoking a sense of anonymity and neutrality. The stark contrast between the monochromatic aesthetic and the provocative content served to further heighten the impact of the artwork, emphasizing the duality between the virtual and the real, as well as the tension between public and private domains.
Central to the user experience was a multi-select form that displayed all available content topics, allowing users to easily navigate and customize their interaction with the artwork. The simplicity and familiarity of the interface belied the subversive nature of the content, inviting users to confront their own perceptions of digital culture, human desire, and the role of art in society.