Type. Swipe. Search. Upload. Download. Post. Stream. These are the new verbs of desire. Our most intimate thoughts, fantasies, and urges are now transmitted via electronic devices to rapt audiences all over the world. These transmissions—from sexts to webcam masturbation feeds—are anonymous yet personal, individual yet collective, everywhere and nowhere, and they are contributing to the largest sexual record to date. In short, desire has gone viral. But what does this mean? And what does it reveal about us? This exhibition explores these very questions through a lens of digital experience by examining what we are searching for, how we do it and what we leave behind on these electronic devices. In piecing this together, we begin to expose staggering truths about who we are and how we interact in this ever-changing world of modern sexuality.
“As human behavior becomes more clickable than physical, we can’t help but wonder what this means for our most basic, biological impulse: sex.” says Mark Snyder, Director of Exhibitions and Co-Curator of Universe of Desire. The exhibition explores this very question by examining what we actually search for on the internet and what we leave behind.
Neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam, authors of the best-selling book, A Billion Wicked Thoughts, provide much of the inspiration for Universe of Desire. Ogas and Gaddam gathered and coded 400 million internet searches, 55 million of which (or roughly 13 percent) proved to be searches for some kind of erotic content. The findings mined from analyzing the internet habits of tens of millions of people worldwide will be on display in Universe of Desire.