ASCII porn

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The term ASCII porn –sometimes typographically euphemized as "ASCII pr0n"[1]– describes pornographic images consisting of ASCII art. ASCII porn was the world's first Internet pornography,[2] and was popular (among the then fewer computer users) before the invention of the World-Wide Web, and often found on BBSes and other text mode terminal-based systems that could be reached via direct modem dial-up. It was also exchanged via Fidonet and sneakernet and on the early Internet using pre-WWW services such as email, telnet, usenet and gopher.

A contributing factor to the relative popularity of ASCII porn in its time was high compatibility: the standard ASCII character set could be displayed on most computer monitors –even on early desktops/terminals incapable of displaying digital images[3]– and could be printed on most printers.[4] Also, ASCII porn could be composed by hand using nothing more than a text editor, without the need for a model or camera. With the advent of the World-Wide Web, ASCII porn largely slipped into obscurity.

Net artists in the late 1990s returned to the form, for instance in the work Deep ASCII, a rendering of the movie Deep Throat, created by Vuk Ćosić of the ASCII Art Ensemble.[1] Concrete poet Florian Cramer also produced ASCII work based on sexually explicit images.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kerstin Mey, Art and Obscenity, I.B.Tauris, 2007, p155. ISBN 1-84511-235-0
  2. ^ Annalee Newitz, On-the-go porn Archived January 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine,, July 4, 2001.
  3. ^ such as for instance original IBM PCs with MDA cards
  4. ^ Many early computer printers were either incapable of printing graphical images or required custom software support in every program to do so, which was not always implemented.
  5. ^ Kornelia Freitag, Katharina Vester, Another Language, LIT Verlag Berlin-Hamburg-Münster, 2008, pp. 102-3. ISBN 3-8258-1210-3

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