Francesca is one of the co-founders of the cyberfeminist collective VNS-matrix and has made web-based art and archives out of cybersex correspondences.

QUESTION: How would you characterize the 'Golden Age of the Internet'?

ANSWER: It was  happening in the period 1994-1997, before the net was so colonized by commercial interests, domain wars, and various national attempts at legal constriction and censorship. Looking back it seems like a concurrent Rennaissance and fin-de-siecle. A time of sweet dirty innocence. When I think about that time in my life I experience the same kind of nostalgia as I do for the time of queer punk in my home town of Adelaide in the early 80s, the other time in my life where sex, writing and addictions utterly consumed me.  I miss the energy of both periods deeply, but it is impossible to return, these are lives which have been lived at a particular moment in time and there's no way back.

QUESTION: Did you experience the sexual encounters on the net to be real?

Everything was real, nearly everything that had any meaning for me was happening in the continual soft dissolve of netspace. There was no virtual, only viral. We played as minds without bodies, but our bodies were constantly leaking desire, we were wet and hard, we experienced each other even when we weren't connected, because in a way we were always connected, logging in was just a formality.

QUESTION: How is it possible to desire and fall in love with people over the computer?

ANSWER: Language creates desire, affection and love, at least on-line.  Offline perhaps it is more often action that creates such deep emotional and physical connections, and physical chemistry, but when you are squatting the screens it's words that count.  Street style measured in pauses, ellipses, an elegant turn of phrase, a dirty whisper, hysteric grammar, busting a move with alpha-numerics. If you play your words right, you  can be River Phoenix at twelve.
My first erotic encounter was with the_Unborn, a vampire, and I imagined him exactly as he described himself.  There was Puppet fashioned as a well-crafted small wooden puppet. I know he viewed his character more as an homonculus, a tiny man, resembling his embodied self, but for me he was, and will always be, a baroque kind of pinocchio. The wolf, in reality a transgendered F to M, I imagined as a wolf, bursting out of the realm of fairy tale and Angela Carter's bloody chamber to GenderFuckMeBaby's Palace of Unparalleled Cynicism.  And Mr.Manhattan, I imagined him a tall, dark, buff yuppie, dick constantly out of the pants, generic high powered e-commerce nasty exec type. In reality, we met on the platform of the train station in Linz,... well, he was a blonde, can't remember now if he was holding a red rose.

Taken from Dollyoko;

QUESTION: Were these correspondences mostly driven by literary/artistic ambitions or  were they written in the realm of everyday romance? And how was romance experienced by your correspondents?

ANSWER: For a couple of the people with whom I was deeply involved, the Puppet and Mr.Manhattan, I believe it was equally intense for them, the erotic imagination which needed to write itself daily, the body which both disappeared and became magnified. Our characters were bound to one another by contractual understandings, but again and again we more than fulfilled the terms of agreement, living and archiving thousands of hours of play. We were not making art, but there was an art of living, an artful way of being. We were not constructing theory, but an intellectual base underscored our games. We were not writing literature, but a literary approach to writing lay beneath our communications.  I don't believe that the computer, per se, is not erotic, but the space of meeting and imaginative play that the internet allows, is, or was, deeply erotic. or maybe the computer becomes fetished in a similar way that the fit, the needle, that glass and metal technology, was our fetish object in the 80s.  It provides a path to an imaginative core, a path less fatal.

Taken from Dollyoko;