Technologies of Undressing: The Digital Paper Dolls of KISS

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Electronic Sexuality: The Wild Side

Presentation Title:

  • Technologies of Undressing: The Digital Paper Dolls of KISS

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • What happens when you cross softcore porn and paper dolls with Japanese Anime and the Internet? You get KISS, a Japanese digital paper doll program that exists as free-ware on the World Wide Web. Our presentation examines the cross-cultural, semiotic, technical, and interactive implications of the phenomenon of KISS. The KISS user interacts with the paper doll program by undressing lavishly clothed bodies of adolescent Japanimation girls. Genres for the doll figures range from sci-fi battle cyborgs to catholic school girls in plaid miniskirts to leather-clad bondage seductresses. KISS represents an incredibly rich vein of hybrid culture. Our presentation will touch on the many genres of pop culture from which KISS draws, such as Japanese Manga and Anime. KISS fetishizes technology as it plays with fictional bodies. The interaction of the user with the software is curiously unique in the digital world, requiring repeated, frantic clicks and drags to”unlock” the dolls’ underwear. In a spiraling crescendo of strange sexual technologies, the gestures of the user are conflated with the on-screen narrative of soft-core foreplay. The audience of KISS is diverse, from little girls to hardcore anime fans to classic Internet geeks. That KISS’ audience is so broad speaks for its potency as an aesthetic object and an engaging activity. Interestingly, the fans of KISS are also the creators of the dolls, and our paper will highlight the interactions of this group of producers/consumers on the KISS email mailing list over the last year. During our presentation, we will surf through a sampling of KISS sites as well as interact with the KISS software itself.

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