Lasse Raus: Hentai Haiku

  • ©2015-2016, Lasse Raus, Hentai Haiku
  • ©2015-2016, Lasse Raus, Hentai Haiku
  • ©2015-2016, Lasse Raus, Hentai Haiku

Artist(s):


Title:


    Hentai Haiku

Symposium:


Venue(s):


Creation Year:

    2015-2016

Category:


Medium:


    Interactive 3D virtual environments

Artist Statement:


    Hentai Haiku is a series of interactive 3D environments, each involving the visitor in a virtual erotic encounter. Like traditional Japanese haiku poems each ‘hentai haiku’ aims to condense a rich sensual impression into a minimalist piece of art with no lengthy narrative: all for the visitor to see and play with is always right there in front of them. Hentai Haiku are outbursts from the vast realm of imagination that spins around physical sexuality, with themes ranging from common fetishes to outright ridiculous fantasies. Slightly beyond the limits of human anatomy, Hentai Haiku introduces characters of a fictitious human-like race that is all and only about our flesh’s desires, and where your mind may take them to. Hentai Haiku asks the visitor to assume an active role in each environment by providing the means to interact with scene objects. Like with 3D video games, Hentai Haiku’s visuals are generated in real-time from 100% synthetic character models, which would come to life as an immediate response to the visitor’s actions. Turning the visitor’s curiosity into playful exploration like this allows conveying more complex matters, an advantage well-deserved by an intricate topic like physical sexual communication.

    To make this experience easily accessible, Hentai Haiku relies on video game technology and related paradigms for user interface design. Originally published for desktop web-browser via a dedicated website, the projects current implementation for ISEA 2016 is to explore the more casual user experience of touch-screen devices. The series’ pieces are based on a custom framework for procedural character animation. At its heart sits an AI running a model for sexual stimulation that continuously translates low-level sensory stimulus into higher level perceptions, adjusts internal states (such as arousal), and, based on the latter, generates feedback via multimodal expressive behaviors. Each Haiku now presents an arrangement of requisites, dynamic and static, set up to allow the visitor to physically interact with the virtual character’s body at varying degrees of freedom, where some allow to control limb motion restraints applied to the character, and others allow to cause sensory stimulation more or less directly. With visitor and character entering into this haptic dialogue (a key component of sexual interaction), physical believability becomes important. Here a second technological cornerstone of this work comes into play: All scene objects that may interact with each other (body parts, bars, clamps, ropes, …) are simulated using a state of the art video game physics engine.

    Best described as a “fully animated ragdoll”, all character motions are carried out by applying appropriate muscle forces to joints of the doll’s skeleton. Muscle forces depend on various factors, such as determination, verve and fatigue, and will, in combination with obstacles and external forces, determine if and how far body expressions will come about. The result of this unique combination of techniques is playful exploration on the visitors’ part and continuous believable reactions of the characters’. Hentai Haiku explores a novel way of arts patronage through a custom crowd-funding model: While the series is published online via its dedicated website, the same site allows inclined patrons to have their own alias become part of the artworks they contribute funds to, thereby granting a partial virtual ownership.

    Hentai Haiku is work in progress, and populating a wide and barely claimed field of artistic expression as well as technological disciplines pointing into the far future, Hentai Haiku is bound to evolve, with respect to visual and physical quality, artificial intelligence, freedom of user interaction and customization options. First and foremost however, future Haiku can be expected to explore more surreal spatial and mechanical arrangements, dissolving rigid rules of decency, asking what next is exciting, what is love and what is at all thinkable, in sex. The human need for sexual connection and unification is a blessing, a gift that is however little appreciated by societies around the globe. Canonized into highly repressive cultural rule-sets (often based on ancient morals), today sexual needs are widely used as a means to exert power on one another, thus cancelling out love, mutual respect and freedom of expression, while turning this graceful gift into addiction and shame. But we must celebrate sexuality! We are here to explore, express and implement our bodily desires, and to share them with the ones we love! ‘If sex was food, we’d all be on a bread and water diet. Or pretend to be anyway.’

    Hentai Haiku is an excerpt from somewhere between the rapidly evolving worlds of 3D games, anthropomorphic robotics and VR erotica. When beginning to work on the by now published exhibition, back in 2013, I realized that proponents in neither of the aforementioned fields would embark on anything like a fusion anytime soon, for reasons both of technical and marketing challenge. Adult 3D entertainment would regurgitate concepts proven to sell, rely on scripted story to build up erotic energy, and then, for the climax, replay sequences showing short statically key-framed animations, with often rather restrictive camera navigation. Nothing procedural here, despite of obvious advantages. Robotics research on the other hand is all about procedural animation! They have to, because their agents must deal with unforeseen circumstances and surprises. But their grants usually wont be issued for anything adult-oriented. Even if erotic limb motions should be some of the easiest things to synthesize: Characters don’t need to stand or walk, just lie down. And then move erratically. So with Hentai Haiku I explore the possibilities in this interdisciplinary no-man’s land. It is as much an endeavor to raise the bar for physical interaction interfaces in adult video games, as it is a leap into uncharted terrain of surreal sexual dreamscapes.



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