Anne de Haan on Tue, 17 Jun 1997 09:16:37 +0200 (MET DST)

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Re: <nettime> Translation: The vagina is the boss on internet

At 16:06 16-06-97 +0200, you wrote:
>Good explanation of the thing I'm more and more calling sick. More of it
>I don't understand, but usually feminists are transplanting their personal
>accidents, their personal experiences, i.e. misunderstandings with their
>partners into common market. So their goal is make war not love (I'm not
>hippy, so don't worry), if it's not another woman, of course. So is this a
>form of solidarity or just a way of expressing their sexual behavior.
>Plain gender, pure sex and nothing else. I don't think relationships
>should be built or focused on that. It's very animalic. And even less, I
>don't think excusses on political or social engagements should be raised
>from plain personal - intimate thing. It takes (at least) two for any kind
>of relation, communication. And here goes Internet, interactivity, etc.
>There's never just one who takes the blame, even when it's man.
>And I'm ignorant to all 'women only' projects. It sounds like 'white
>only'. Sometimes I'm mad, sometimes I'm laughing at it. When women are
>pointing out just their vagina (like feminists do) they make a very bad
>reputation of themselves, and all women of course. This is plain racism
>and pure agression. Make them read Camille Paglia.
>Where are there heads, their brains, their feelings, their emotions, if
>just vagina or penis is all that matters? So feminists are making animals
>out of women, even if I think that animals are more intelligent than some
>of them. Yes, I like Duchamp, I like Gertrude Stein, I like Orlan, 
>I like Stelarc, I like Beatles, I like Spice Girls, I like ninties, the
>age of transsexuality and androginity and nature, that made genders. I'm
>heterosexual and I'm not pointing it out whenever I'm talking to audience
>I'm not making my political state out of it. It's ridiculous to be based
>just on sexual orientation or even sexual needs, on something between our
>legs. There are many 'hot lines' for that. Let's be civilised and maybe
>Multimedia center KiberSRCeLab - KIBLA
>Kneza Koclja 9
>2000 Maribor
>tel: +386 62 2294012, 2294013
>fax: +386 62 225376
>On Mon, 16 Jun 1997, Anne de Haan wrote:
>> The vagina is the boss on internet
>> New media female artists inspired by erotics, identity and social interaction
>> Surfing on the internet I find the ‘Virtual Themepark’ from the most
>> interesting cyberfeminist artist group VNS Matrix. It all sounds very
>> promising and as a hetero woman I click on the Viral Pleasureworld. I am
>> dissappointed, because I do not find any beautiful naked men on the screen,
>> but a universe with purple planets and the text ‘Viral Pleasure World’. As
>> soon as I want to continue I always come back on the first page. Only at
>> "The end of the World"  I finally get to the "Filthy Genderworld" where I
>> see a group of tiny little people who are licking eachother. Furtheron I
>> step on Gashgirl’s homepage, who’s real name is Francesca da Rimini. This is
>> one of the ladies from VNS Matrix. On this page I finally find some more
>> ‘information’ about their work: wordmixture of textfragments from
>> SM-stories, filmtitles and computerterminology that are connected to
>> eachother. The title above this page says enough: "GenderFuckMebacy’s palace
>> of Unparalleled Cynicism", oldfashioned artistic enigmas that are larded
>> with sensual quotes, to which’s meaning you can quest for hours and hours
>> being an outsider.
>> Cyberslut
>> VNS (VeNuS) Matrix wants to create confusion. The four Australian ladies
>> want to make chaos in the standards and values from today’s society, because
>> they do not agree with the woman’s status within. They make electronic art
>> that questions the computer mass culture and her products in a playfull but
>> brutal feministic way. VNS matrix acts on a humorous way against men’s
>> women-unfriendly and sexistic outbursts on the internet. These
>> cyberfeminists are not afraid to use any means to achieve their aim. So they
>> are not agianst sex, porno or even against men. They think that it is only
>> just about time that women take control on the internet from men, because
>> men behave badly. Still too many women suffer from obscene remarks. 
>> The Corpus FantasticaMOO, an internet game, illustrates clearly how obscene
>> creeps should be punished. VNS Matrix, virtually pierced, masked, harnesed
>> and weaponed with the most horrible torturestuff, enters dark
>> internetsurroundings by psuedonyms like Psybapussy and Cyberslut. There they
>> terrorize everything male as soon as it logs in in this Tartaros-like
>> domain. Someone who entered as Quentin Tarrantino, for example, was almost
>> sent to the virtual heaven by Psybapussy’s dangerous C46-weapon. The girls
>> are the boss and their feminity is sacred. The core of their realm, the
>> Matrix, can only be reached by the virtual clitoris. The vagina is the
>> symbol of the female power. In their "Bitch Mo Manifesto" the ladies swank
>> about making art with their cunt. Their pussy is also capable of fighting
>> against "Big daddy mainframe". "Big Daddy Mainframe" is the symbol of the
>> male society, that is still dominating both the real and the virtual world.
>> The "Mainframe" is also a widespread product of computertycoon IBM.
>> The art of these cybervamps is at it’s most beautiful in their fantastic
>> projects, that are based on internet- and CD-rom games like Quest and Doom.
>> In 1995 they made in cooperation with the artist Leon Cmielewski an project
>> named "The user unfriendly interface", where as many as possible people
>> should be insulted. On these beautiful pages it was not allowed to click
>> anything. When someone was naughty and clicked anyway, the computer yelled
>> angry at this person and the buttons changed into insects that walked away
>> from the screen. People also had to fill in their dreams and desires, so
>> that the program could curse and jeer at them. This program was not meant to
>> be an attack to the male society, but to the dominating commercials and the
>> standard mass products, that always have to be userfriendly.
>> The game of communication
>> VNS Matrix is also trying to investigate in what way the game is a symbol of
>> social interaction in cultural life. Is pleasure an important condition to
>> experience art? Interactivity gives one the power to interfere in a work of
>> art. The non feminist artist Agnes Hegedüs sees the new media as an
>> interesting territorium for investigation in the field of social
>> interaction. In the new media raises a new culture of games, that is both
>> interactive and telematic. She thinks it is special that everyone can pick a
>> different identity. The result is that communication via internet is more
>> playful than in real life. The internet is a game of seduction. Not the
>> seduction of being connected on a distance is addicting, but the mysterious
>> rendez-vouses of people gives a sexy kick. On internet people can meet
>> eachoter without being seen, they can pretend to be anyone in any way.
>> Hegedüs’ "Televirtual Fruitmachine" from 1994 is based on this playful
>> interactive aspect. De instalation is a big screen on which three puzzle
>> pieces of a fruit machine are projected. In front of the screen are three
>> tables with a joystick. Three different people can join into this game at
>> the same time. The fruit is refering to the forbidden fruit from Paradise
>> and seduction. In contrast with VNS Matrix, who wants to see the new digital
>> world dominated by women, Hegedüs does not think that is necessary. When the
>> man and woman identity can be swapped in the virtual space, the
>> genderidentity will be less important. The idea of genderswap with the help
>> of the media was allready being issued by Marcel Duchamp, who let himself
>> been photographed as Rrose Selavy (Eros c’est la vie): travesty as sexual
>> pleasure.
>> Metamorphosis
>> The body will be less relevant accoring to the Australian artist Jill Scott:
>> by means of technique we will be nomads in both the body and the soul. She
>> thinks technique is very fascinating and she illustrates that very
>> brilliantly in her gorgeous interactive film-installation "Frontiers of
>> Utopia" from 1995. The ill Zira does not live in the real world: everything
>> she does is via the computer: working communicating and living, for this is
>> the only way to forget that her body is soon going to die. In this
>> installation the visitors can "setup a dialogue" with women who are in this
>> film. These women come from different areas of the 20th century and tell
>> things about their ideal society. Emma from 1900 hopes for freedom for
>> public opinion, Pearl from 1930 is dreaming of  equality of race, Gillian
>> from 1960 thinks of technical advance in socialist society and Zira from the
>> 90ties believes that the technique can solve all problems. 
>> Thanks to technique the body can be improved. This theme is very popular
>> among feminist artists. Even when a woman is not ill, her body needs to be
>> improved by technique. The dutch artist Inez van Lamsweerde is hackling
>> artificial bodily changes from healthy females, by making beautiful
>> ridiculous computerpictures on which she used photomodels and
>> window-figures. The female figures on her photo’s have something unreal: in
>> the series "Thank you Tighmaster" from the early nineties Van Lamsweerde
>> stuck doll’s eyes on a woman’s face. She thinks too many woman cannot be
>> themselves anymore, but have to look like Barbie.   
>> Bitter Herb Menu/Brutal Myths
>> ‘The cosmedical industry is a form of keeping women surpressed" claim the
>> american artists Sonya Rapoport and Marie José Sat. The reason why men
>> dominate women is because they are scared of them. That is why women were
>> called witch. "The firsts woman Eve was allready called bad and even the
>> most evil woman that has ever lived" is one of the ancient myths that was
>> going around in the middle ages according to Sat and Rapoport. They say,
>> that this myth is still going on in the arabic countries and that’s why the
>> women do not get any political chance over there, and that is why woman in
>> some countries are being circumcised. This is a primitive form of cosmedical
>> surgery. In the western world women are forced upon strict diets and
>> cosmedical surgery.  
>> The Bitter Herb Menu is a metapher for the so called badness of women. In
>> Genesis, Sat and Rapoport continue, God condemned mankind to work at the
>> fields and to eat the harvest. That iss why these artists choose for the
>> herbal witchcraft as a symbol for the wholesome harvest of women, because in
>> early times women were seen as spiritual curers in ancient times. This has
>> changed later in the middle ages, when spiritual curers were seen as
>> dangerous witches.  The first part of the website "Brutal Myths" describes
>> which bitter herb poisons the mind of the man, so he will believe that women
>> are bad. In the second part of the digital work of art is the healthy herbal
>> garden with wholesome herbs.
>> Vagina Dentata
>> On the Bitter Herb Menu one can find the bitter herb "cleavers", which lets
>> a vagina eat a penis. The principle of the Vagina Dentata, the mighty and
>> male-swallowing vagina is to be found in different cultures. Because men are
>> afraid of this Vagina Dentata, women are being circumcised, so that they
>> cannot urinate in a normal way or enjoy sex. The liberation of women is to
>> take revenge of them by castration, says the Bitter Herb website. The herb
>> that is punishing men so severely is called Heartsease. The Vagina Dentata
>> is a beloved subject among cyberfeminist artist, because it is the ultimate
>> symbol of destroying male power. Women can be in charge then. The Bitter
>> Herb menu sees the Vagina Dentata in a mystique and occult context. But VNS
>> Matrix sees the vagina Dentata in a playful way as a vampire like tart, who
>> is called Dentata. Dentata has to shoot men in the ‘Cybersquat’, a virtual
>> game surroundings from VNS Matrix.
>> 	Interactive rituals in the Bitter herb Menu, that are made by the visitors,
>> contribute to the destruction of the myth of women being evil and calm the
>> phobias of men. Sat and Rapoport think that in this way they are
>> contributing to the development of the World Wide Web as a new artistic
>> technological medium, that is free from sexual prejudices and differences,
>> so that the reputation of women can be purified.
>> Common Ground
>> The internet is a free space and that is why women can take advantage of
>> that. Sonya Rapoport sees the web as free and easy to give a presentation
>> from feministic art. She hopes to reach also people who would otherwise
>> never go to an exhibition.. She is striving to a kind of common ground: a
>> virtual space linked to different female artists. The dutch artist Mathilde
>> Mupé has allready made links on her homepage to different feminists in
>> cyberspace. The german video artist Ulrike Rosenbach and the american art
>> critic Lucy Lippard have allready set up feministic art institutes in the
>> seventies where female artists could cooperate. 
>> Much female artists see the internet as a possibility to communicate in a
>> role playing game, where people can change their gender. Some feminist
>> artists want to gain power over men on the inernet. For them the game of
>> sexuality is a form of power instead of romance. The sexual organ is not
>> only capable of enjoying sex, but also of urinating, multiplying and
>> dividing the human race into the suppressed and the dominating species.
>> These feminist artists see the internet as an opportunity to be the boss on
>> internet. They do not want to lose their gender, but they want to gain
>> dominance over the male in their female glory. The gender identity should
>> therefore be emphasized according to them. The question is whether this is
>> still relevant in an age of androgyny and transsexuality, because the body
>> can also be changed in today’s society. 


I think you are very right about this and I think that other people should
know this too. That's why I am sending this to the nettime list.

I wrote this article because I wanted to write something about feministic
art on the internet and not because I am an feminist. Althought I think that
the ideas behind the feminist arts are very interesting, I do not agree with
them. I also think that men and women should be equal.
I left my opinion out of the article, because I wanted to give a kind of
objective prescription, maybe I should have given more of my own opinion in it.

Kind regards,

Check mijn nieuwe artikel over "De Vagina is de baas op internet"

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