Mechanophilia

arse elektronika

campaign against sex robots

Mechanophilia [muh-kan-uh-fil-ee-uh] is a paraphilia (atypical sexuality) involving a sexual attraction to machines. It is a crime in some nations, such as the UK, with perpetrators placed on a sex-offender registry. Motorcycles in particular are often portrayed as sexualized fetish objects to those who desire them. Designers such as Francis Picabia and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti have been said to have exploited the sexual attraction of automobiles. In 2008, an American named Edward Smith admitted to ‘having sex’ with 1000 cars.

Biologist Edward O. Wilson is quoted describing mechanophilia, the love of machines, as ‘a special case of ‘biophilia,” the instinctive bond between human beings and other living (or lifelike) systems. Conversely, psychologists such as Erich Fromm would see it as a form of necrophilia.

Culturally, critics have described it as ‘all pervading’ within contemporary Western society and that it seems to overwhelm our society and all too often our better judgement. Although not all such uses are sexual in intent, the terms are also used for specifically erotogenic fixation on machinery and taken to its extreme in hard core pornography as ‘Fucking Machines’ (an adult website featuring motorized sex devices). Such material mainly involves women being sexually penetrated by machines for male consumption. By contrast, ‘Arse Elektronika,’ an annual conference organized by the Austrian arts-and-philosophy collective ‘monochrom,’ has propagated a DIY/feminist approach to sex machines.

Authors have drawn a connection between mechanophilia and masculine militarization, citing the works of animator Yasuo Ōtsuka and Studio Ghibli. Mechanophilia has been used to describe important works of the early modernists, including in the ‘Eccentric Manifesto’ (1922), written by members of the ‘Factory of the Eccentric Actor,’ a modernist avant-garde movement that spanned Russian futurism and constructivism.

 

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