Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Can Feminism Come to the Rescue Again?

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    Art writer and Critic Carey lovelace, is completing a 2-volume history of feminist art.
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blogart comp

found this in my fibreculture emails - thought it might appeal....

Call for proposals
Deadline: 31 July 2007
a + b = ba ?
[art + blog = blogart?]


JavaMuseum - Forum for Internet Technology in Contemporary Art
is starting its 2nd phase
by releasing an open call focussing on the question
whether blogs and/or blogging can be tools for creating a new type of net based art.

The launch of this new project
is planned to be in October 2007 also the occasion for re-launching
JavaMuseum after a phase of re-structuring since 2005.
The new show "a + b = ba ? [art + blog = blogart?]"
will be presented in sequence on divers festivals.
JavaMuseum - Forum for Internet Technology in Contemporary Art,
founded in 2000, realized during the 1st phase (2001-2005)
18 show cases focussing on Internet based art in a global context,
including more than 350 artists from 40 countries.

"a + b = ba ? [art + blog = blogart?]"
JavaMuseum is inviting
artists to submit such an art project in form of a blog.

The entry details, regulations and entry form can be found on

JavaMuseum - Forum for Internet Technology in Contemporary Art
JIP - JavaMuseum Interview Project

This call is released by
netEX - networked experience
powered by
www.nmartproject.net -
the experimental platform for art and New Media
operating from Cologne/Germany.
info & contact
info (at) nmartproject.net

Monday, 16 July 2007

100 days of anti-theses: 4. cyberfeminism is not ideology

Anti-thesis number four, cyberfeminism is not ideology, has given me pause for thought today. Not ideology? It seems like an ideology, as in a collection of ideas, even as ‘visionary speculation’ it kind of fits for me. Therefore I think this is a good place to think about the 100 anti-theses in a more holistic sense, and the idea that they are meant to be read and interpreted together. Not all of the anti-theses hold true for *all* cyberfeminists *all* of the time. This is not a flaw in the anti-theses, but rather an intentional strength. A multiplicity of approaches is a desirable quality of cyberfeminist practice. So, not an ideology may mean ‘not a grandiose set of ideals’ and perhaps suggest a more practical approach, or it may mean ‘not *just* ideology’. Or it may mean something else all together. There is not just one way to interpret the anti-theses, likewise, there is not just one way to be a cyberfeminist.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

100 days of anti-theses: 3. sajbrfeminizm nije usamljen

From Slavic to English 'sajbrfeminizm nije usamljen' translates to ‘cyberfeminism is not solitary’. Networking is an important aspect of cyberfeminism – collaboration and cooperation being important feminist alternatives to the patriarchal focus on the lone master/expert/auteur. The strength of the Internet is itself in networking, linking, sharing knowledge and experience, and it seems totally appropriate for cyberfeminists to embrace this.

And as is apt for an entry about collaboration todays post was not created in a solitary manner - thanks to aph31 for the translation.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

100 days of anti-theses: 2. cyberfeminism is not a fashion statement

“Cyberfeminism is not a fashion statement” seems fairly straight forward to me, which is a good follow up to the more cryptic “cyberfeminism is not a fragrance”. In the late nineties the prefix “cyber” was added to many things to sex them up, much in the same way “i" or “e” are often used currently, and I think perhaps this statement is a bit of a rebuttal to perceptions that cyberfeminism is just a trendy word trying to sex up feminism for the next generation.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

100 days of anti-theses: 1. Cyberfeminism is not a fragrance

Welcome to day 1 of our 100 days of anti-theses. Just for fun I am going to have a quick look at each of the 100 anti-theses, one a day, for the next 100 days.

The anti-theses were created at the ‘First Cyberfeminist International’ in 1997 as an alternative to a rigid definition of cyberfeminism. For more information on the conference and the anti-theses the Old Boys Network reading room is an excellent source of information.

I was not present at the conference or the creation of the anti-theses, and can claim no special knowledge of them other than intensive reading, therefore my dissection of each thesis is merely my own mussing and reflection. Please feel free to add your own reflection in the comments also.

1. Cyberfeminism is not a fragrance.
No. it is clearly not. This seems like a good opening statement for the anti-theses, it is cheeky in its obviousness, playfully setting the reader at ease for the further statements. But why ‘not a fragrance’ in particular? When I think of what a fragrance *is* I think of something that smells seductive, but is almost immaterial. Something that is highly marketed, often ridiculously so, in a glossy fashion. Style over substance perhaps. The word 'fragrance' hints at an artificial and affected nature, rather than the words 'scent' or even 'perfume', often the word fragrance is used in association with room deodorizers, a cover-up for something more sinister. "Cyberfeminism is not a fragrance" says to me that cyberfeminism is not an exercise in hyper-marketing and is not something that is just blowing past in a brief moment of sensory interest. Cyberfeminism is something substantial and real and is more than just a bunch of hype.

What is your take on “cyberfeminism is not a fragrance”?

Sunday, 1 July 2007

A Cyberfeminist Approach

When I talk about my thesis I often say I am taking a cyberfeminist approach to Web 2.0, and I think this is most often misunderstood. While this does mean looking at the web through a feminist lens, it also means much more than that.

So here is a brief description of what a cyberfeminist approach means to me.

Step 1: Know your product.
Ask the big questions – what is it? who says so? Who uses it? who doesn’t? why? what is different about it? Why is it special? What is not so great? To whom does it give a voice? Whom does it silence? What privilege is inherent in the medium?

Step 2: Engage
After all "cyberfeminism is not using words without any knowledge of numbers" so it is crucial to a cyberfeminist approach to not only be familiar with the theory, but to get in there and use the technology.

Step 3: Hack
While the term hacker (in the media at least) usually refers to an elite and mischievous computer programmer, I use the term in a broader sense as a person who, when not content with a system or a process, will actively seek to change and redefine said system. To me hacking means taking everyday things and changing them so they work for you. Cornelia Sollfrank gives a good definition of this in her lecture women hackers as “One who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations… to generalise, one could say that hacking is all about learning and free inquiry”. I am also fond of Jon Ippolito’s description of techno art as "Creative misuse of technology".

Step 4: Play
Play is an important part of a cyberfeminist approach because "cyberfeminism is not boring!" The playful use of both irony and art have been inextricable from cyberfeminist theory since its very inception.

Step 5: Share
"Cyberfeminism is not a single woman", not is it "without connectivity". Communication, networking and collaboration are key cyberfeminist principles.

So in a nutshell what I mean by taking a cyberfeminist approach is to fully engage with the web in both theory and practice, creatively misusing it in a deliberate and playful fashion, while all the while collaborating, communicating and sharing the experience.