biemann@access.ch on Fri, 28 Apr 2000 17:59:29 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Female Sexuality and Bride Market on the Internet


WRITING DESIRE
Ursula Biemann  2000, 25 min. English

Writing Desire is about the rapport between words and body and the
creation of desire. The fast-paced video links the writing of romantic
desire by means of electronic communication technologies to the increasing
disembodiment of sexuality and commercialized gender relations. The
booming bride market emerges as a site where the virtual and the physical
exchange of bodies converge. The video examines the different
subjectivities produced through this exchange in both the industrial world
and in post-socialist and Southeast Asian countries and looks at their
respective desires. 

Electronic communication technologies challenge the boundaries between
private fantasy and the public sphere. In this compressed electronic
space, the notion of the self undergoes transformations that also affect
questions of boundaries, gender, and sexual relations. Writing Desire
links the creation of romantic desire through writing to the production of
desire in consumer culture. 

The bride market in general, and the virgin market in particular, are
evidence of the capitalisation on sexual relation on the Internet. 
russian.bride.com, tigerlilies.com, and blossoms.com are among the many
sites which advertise large numbers of women from the former Soviet Union
and the Philippines to the global male community. In their digital
representation, the female bodies get reduced to a flat minimum of visual
and textual information, and the digitized on-line videos technologizes
the bodies even further. The slave of the colonial era is transformed into
a post-Fordist robot. In a high-tech guise the sites draw on a historical
narration of the female racialized body as an object of desire that await
to be conquered. So the global trade with humans is accelerating through
the Internet, resources are almost inexhaustible, and a lot of these
enterprises are syndicated operations. 

However, through the new possibilities of net.cast video clips, women are
also able to voice their desires, and by doing so, they resist their total
sellout. As subjects with desires they can no longer be reduced to mere
objects of desire. This video is an attempt to articulate different
writing positions and their respective desires. In Mexico City, the
virtual artist Maris Bustamante, who was tired of the local machismo,
recently found an American husband via the Internet. For her, the new
media opened greater possibilities to reformulate expectations and set her
desires into motion. 

The Internet creates different subjectivities in the industrial and the
developing worlds. But meanwhile, in metropolitan centers in the
Philippines, one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia, every
neighborhood has Internet cafes crowded with young people. Slum girls have
access to the Internet there. However, the usage may have a different
purpose in such a location. Writing Desire goes beyond lamenting a lack of
access and attempts to differentiate female desires in the representation
of virtual culture. 



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