Julianne Pierce on Wed, 18 Jun 1997 03:52:03 +0200 (MET DST)

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Re: <nettime> bossy cunts online

The fact that the posting by Anne de Haan has set off quite a lively
discussion, shows (to me anyway) that the topic of 'feminist art' or more
to the point 'cyberfeminist art' still provokes some hot responses from
people. As Alan Julu Sondheim points out, feminist deconstruction of art
practice has been around since the 1970's...a lot of this work has focussed
on the body (and still continues to do so)...but this of course has been a
major focus for female artists enabling them to investigate identity,
culture and biology itself. Analysis and reconfiguration of the body
creates a space for women to redefine themselves as active subject rather
than passive object (as they have so often been historically portrayed in
traditional art practice, the 'nude' being the most potent example of

Like dollyoko, I've also worked with VNS Matrix for about six years. In the
early days of VNS, cyberfeminism was very fresh, it had no boundaries or
definitions, so we were having a lot of fun with it...using the body as a
point of departure to talk about feminist politics, technology, art,
pornography and popular culture. One of our mottos, 'the clitoris is a
direct line to the matrix' (which has perhaps been paraphrased by Anne de
Haan) was about women having a direct connection with technology, that our
little physiological buttons could easily interface with the machine.

Certainly the cyberfeminist movement has grown, and I believe in a really
positive way. The internet and information culture is perhaps the first
major cultural shift that women can actively have a role in developing and
defining. This is incredibly exciting for women, as there is a real chance
to shape and influence the culture and future in which we live, interact
etc. Cyberfeminism has presented some sort of united front for a lot of
women to engage with. Certainly in Australia the whole grrrrl movement has
gained incredible momentum and there are a variety of URL's, zines,
magazines and now even heavy theory texts that deal with girls online with
attitude etc.

As McKenzie says, perhaps cyberfeminism is now in its own box...certainly
VNS seem to have collapsed up their own black hole...but the movement
itself still has real relevance. The Old Boys Network (at Documenta X) will
certainly be investigating, dissecting, promoting how cyberfeminism can
mutate and evolve. I hope that cyberfeminism has not just been another
trendy movement, in this age of 'kill it off quick if it gets
boring'....cyberfeminism is maybe something that can last...the label might
change but there'll always be grrrls who don't mind getting their buttons


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