Shimshak, Anna | USA

Anna Shimshak

Anna Shimshak is a PhD candidate in the Emerging Technologies Research Lab at Monash University. Her research sits at the intersection of human computer interaction, sociology, gender studies and visual culture. Her current PhD research explores the representation and construction of the body in embodied sextech, interrogating the ramifications of aesthetic and voice design within these technologies. Anna is also concerned with the implications of gender, sexuality and bodily design in technology and automated systems more broadly. Anna is also a practicing artist, whose work explores the body, power and representation in both historical canons and the digital age. She received her MFA in Photography from Yale University and BA (Hons) from Wesleyan University.

Project at IAS-STS: Amor(us): The Aesthetic and Voice Construction of Gender in Embodied Sextech Design
During her time as a research fellow at IAS-STS, Anna will continue her research project examining the nature and implications of women’s bodily and voice representation in embodied sextech. The research technologies investigated include virtual reality (VR) pornography, embodied sex toys in addition to sex dolls and sex robots. These devices present an evolution in technological “phases of matter” from the body as a virtual entity to a fragmented piece and finally, an embodied whole. This project is concerned with how these devices mediate sexuality, gender and power, both in their depictions of the body, but also in the gendered paradigms they (re)produce. Building on art history, design, sociology, human computer interaction (HCI) and gender theories, Anna is concerned with the ramifications of current bodily design in sextech, but also questions how design could be changed in order to produce more equitable, inclusive and just technologies. Sex tech, like most technologies, has the potential to be inclusive of a diversity of users while dramatically improving lives, understandings and experiences of intimacy and the lived expression of sexuality. This research contributes new knowledge through novel, interdisciplinary methodologies as well as in research findings that inform understandings as to how current aesthetic and voice construction influence device use as well as how future design could facilitate greater equity and inclusion.

Contact: anna [punkt] shimshak at monash [punkt] edu

Selected Publications:

Strengers Y., Sadowski J., Mueller F., Li Z., and Shimshak A. (2021). What Can HCI Learn from Sexual Consent? A Feminist Process of Embodied Consent for Interacting with Emerging Technologies. 2021 ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’21)

Shimshak, A. (2020). Title: Son-ō: Electric Paintings and Vestigial Sounds of the Deep Fake Pornographic Body. The Sixth International Conference on Transdisciplinary Imaging at the Intersections between Art, Science and Culture: Dark Eden. November 6-8, 2020, Sydney, Australia

Shimshak, A. (2020). Livestreaming: The mainstreaming of the commodified body and sexual labor in Thailand, Asian Journal of Women's Studies, 26:3, 347-364, DOI: 10.1080/12259276.2020.1818929