Meet Luci, the Sexbot Who Wants to Seduce You
"stroke my keys until i short circuit."
Kash with Luci. All images by Maggie West
"empty ur junk into my spam folder"
"sync me, daddy"
"i wanna turn ur floppy disk into a hard drive"
These sultry texts and more could flood your inbox if you dare engage with Luci, the sexting robot from planet Xeron, come December 15. Thereafter, Luci will attempt to seduce all those she comes in contact with through her Twitter account; she's already gotten a head start on Instagram.
Soon to be on display at the Museum of Sex in New York, Luci was created by photographer and installation artist Maggie West in collaboration with sex toy brand Lelo after West noticed the exaggerated dichotomy of millennial sexuality in the media: We're seen as both sex-crazed, Tinder-obsessed beings incapable of forming a real connection with another human and too glued to our phones to venture out of seclusion to engage in IRL sex, instead satisfied by porn and masturbation. Luci was born as a form of satirical commentary about these depictions of horny millennials.
We spoke to West about how Luci came to life, and why millennials do and don't need her to save us. She also shared Luci's backstory:
On the far off planet of Xeron, young people had completely given up on sex. The days of random hookups and casual sex were over, the teens of the planet only wanted to engage each other online rather than IRL. As the residents of Xeron began to lose all interest of sex in favor of creating memes and taking selfies, population began to decrease. The Luci 6000 was created by Xeron’s top scientific minds to hypercharge the sex drives of their youth and prevent the impending population decrease. However, due to a programming error, Luci became fixated on exploring other planets. Upon stumbling onto many articles about low millennial sex drives on Earth, Luci was overcome with grief. How could the youth of Earth be missing out on the joys of sex? Determined to remedy this situation, Luci stole a spaceship and escaped her home planet of Xeron and headed to Earth. After arriving on our planet, Luci immediately began seducing Earth’s millennial audiences the only way she knew how: their phones. Through her sultry selfies and hot sexts, Luci is seducing Earth’s top influencers and re-engaging depleted millennial sex drives.
BROADLY: How did the idea for Luci come about?
MAGGIE WEST: I'd been reading a lot of articles that were depicting really conflicting depictions of millennial sexuality. To me, it seems like millennials are either depicted as these Tinder monsters that are constantly just going online and using apps to hook up with each other and are incapable of forming actual human bonds. The other depiction that I've been seeing a lot is that millennials are so into their phones, and online communication, and pornography, and masturbation that they literally don't even have sex anymore. I feel like both of these are really hyperbolic depictions of our sexuality. A piece of information that has some bearing in reality will get regurgitated and spit out over and over again until it turns into this hyperbolic generalization. Basically, I wanted to take those ideas and kind of roll them into a satirical piece, so I made up this crazy story about this sexbot from Xeron who's coming down to save us poor millennials because of our phone addictions.
How do you feel that Luci fights against those hyperbolic stereotypes?
Luci reads about how terrible everything is with millennials and slides over here to save us, but the only way that she can think to do this, because of our rampant phone addiction, is through our phones. Basically, she's encouraging everyone to sext, but then meet up with each other in real life to actually procreate. I think in some ways Luci plays on both stereotypes: the fact that everyone is so obsessed with masturbation and pornography that they don't meet up in real life, or that everyone is just so obsessed with hooking up via online communication. I think both things are worked into her narrative.
Making a sexbot doesn't sound easy. How did she come together?
I constructed Luci out of fiberglass and some random parts from Home Depot and a wig. It started out essentially as a photo series. She was developed by me in collaboration with Lelo for the holiday window at the Museum of Sex. I built her our of these materials and then I did a photo series with her where I shot a bunch of photos of her by herself and then I photographed Luci with I believe 12 people, and they kind of simulated having sex with her. They're all cool models, adult performers, writers, and friends of mine that were willing to do this for me. Logistically, her Instagram essentially runs off those photos, and the interactive part is both that and her Twitter which, starting on December 15, if you say anything to her she will respond to you.
What happens if you DM her on Instagram?
If you DM her on Instagram—to be honest, the Instagram is being run by me, so Luci has been responding to everybody on Instagram. It's not as automatic, whereas the Twitter, she will automatically respond to you because they're actually building a bot that's going to send out automatic sexts.
What's the difference between Luci's online and IRL presence?
She kind of lives online. She will be physically installed in the window at the Museum of Sex and you can go and see her and chat with her on your phone while standing outside, but she essentially interacts with you online.
I've been looking at her social media, and I even saw a picture of Luci at Art Basel. It seems like people are really excited about her. What have been the reactions to Luci so far?
Yeah, a poster of her was in a series at Art Basel called FUCK REALITY. It's been really interesting because I have been managing Luci's profile for about a week now and she has gotten a lot more popular than I expected in a really short amount of time. What's really funny to me is that to a certain extent there's been a small amount of promotion but this has all happened organically. People seem to either really like Luci or really not like Luci.
Really? What have been the negative reactions?
Yeah. It's so weird, people will be like, Ah this is gross, this is uncanny. Somebody called her a "thotbot," which I thought was really funny. If you go on her Instagram, you can kind of see my interactions with people. Luci is all about free love and polyamory and she just wants to love you. So any time I get a negative comment, I'll go back on and be like "I just want to love you baby," "What's wrong?" Some people will get more mad and some people will like come around to it and be like, Oh, this is funny. Some people immediately love it and think it's hilarious and great. It's been really interesting to me how many people are initially really upset or put off by her which I think is really weird. I've gotten a lot of DMs. It's really funny how many people want to DM Luci.
Have people already begun trying to sext her?
Oh yeah. People are totally trying. The range of how explicit people have been has been interesting. So far I haven't gotten any explicit photos, which I'm thrilled about. Basically the minute you send Luci something nasty, I'm going to have to block you, but until then I'll engage with you to the best of my ability.
Awesome. Anything to add that we haven't touched on about Luci?
I just wanna say that Lelo, the sex toy company I've been working with, has been really amazing to work with. I think it's fantastic when you can work with a company and they don't hinder you artistically. It's been fantastic how much artistic freedom they've given me. Companies are an interesting new source of patronage, but a lot of them come with strings attached. Lelo has been super cool about letting me do whatever I want and supporting me in that, so I'd like to shout them out.