CYBERFEMINISM: NEXT PROTOCOLS
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CYBERFEMINISM - NEXT PROTOCOLS
a book of
theories & practices - images & ideas
of current and future cyberfeminisms
edited by Claudia Reiche & Verena Kuni for the
Old Boys Network
in cooperation with Autonomedia, New York
Call for Papers
Please note: The following Call for Papers was released in October 1999 and distributed via several mailinig lists (like nettime, FACES, rhizome, syndicate). Meanwhile, the list of contributors is complete. Anyway, as the work on the book is still in progress, please do not hesitatate to contact the editors (Verena Kuni and Claudia Reiche) if you want to propose a contribution (as there are always unexpected possibilities to get involved) or if you are interested in further background information!
CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS TO BOOK
The OLD BOYS NETWORK calls for contributions to its new editorial project, provisionally titled: CYBERFEMINISM, Next Protocols - a BOOK with new and controversial approaches to Cyberfeminism. Why? We are in need of a book which reflects the actual (and future) state of the art of thinking about, and inventing, the digital medium in its capacity to subvert cultural practices a cyberfeminist perspective can provide. Verena Kuni (Germany), Claudia Reiche (Germany), Yvonne Volkart (Switzerland), and Faith Wilding (USA), as the editorial group are looking for feminist modes of accessing, queering, transgressing, rethinking or using information based technologies--electronic communication (including command and control), word or image processing, every form of virtuality and simulation, biotechnologies, body politics ... To start the discussion, the OLD BOYS NETWORK offers an outline of some utopian reflections on contemporary Cyberfeminisms, which indicate our special fields of interest, and may suggest debate topics.
With the publishers of Autonomedia Books (New York) we hope to create a network of contributions to be published in the year 2000 or 2001. We wish to consider a broad variety of texts and non-textual projects, from experimental to theoretical, activist, poetic, polemical, fragmentary, philosophical, and the like. If you call yourself a woman and are interested in the communicating and debating potential of this CYBERFEMINIST project you are invited to submit proposals. New, unpublished work is preferred.
Please email your proposals: 300-500 words, in English by the 30th October, 1999 to the OLD BOYS NETWORK. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit: http://www.obn.org. Please include your full name, postal address, telephone, email address, and a two line biography in your proposal.
READ.ME FIRST: invitation to contribute to cyberfeminism. next protocols 1.0
Old Boys Network (Ed.) CYBERFEMINISM Next Protocols
THE OLD BOYS NETWORK is especially interested in texts which address the following:
<Paradoxes of the digital medium> How do we judge the changes that the medium of the computer has introduced in a historical way? And in the way it has changed the way we understand and use history? What are the every-day embodied conditions of women's lives as they are being altered by the new technologies and communications networks? What are new forms of oppression and of liberation? Has the digital medium not only with the undecisiveness of the Turing -test taken the place of the subject but at the latest when calculation-tasks became autonomous data processing? Could you tell: Where do you or the machine 'end'?
<Paradoxes of the body>
" ...there is an instability at the very heart of sex and bodies, the fact that the body is what it is capable of doing, and what any body is capable of doing is well beyond the tolerance of any given culture." (Elizabeth Grosz) What is the experience of gender and femininity in the virtual medium? How do we describe these strange new bodies, these body doubles of virtuality and flesh? What are the effects of the biotech revolution on social constructions of gender, and on women? The manufacture and control of fertility/infertility and the medicalization of women's body processes are vital subjects for cyberfeminist scrutiny, critique, and activism. We need to examine the increasingly close links between medical and military technologies and the implications of these for women.
<Paradoxes of the cross-breed: Net-condition> Cyberfeminism is not simply an evolution of historical feminism created as a more adequate answer to meet the changed conditions of the Information Age. Cyberfeminism can perhaps best be described as a feminist intervention into these new conditions, and an exploration of how they challenge the political and social conditions of feminism. What is the net-condition of women? What could cyberfeminist subversions and uses of the net consist of? What are the possibilities of the so-called networked body or the body on-line? In thinking beyond gender and gender discourses we find ourselves in the territory of the post-human, the cyborg, or the hyper-cyborg, the territory of the monstrous and the unrepresentable. With the advent of advanced biotechnology and genetic mapping, the field of teratology has acquired whole new meanings in medical and agricultural realms. How do things look in the physical and non-physical realms of virtual teratology?
READ.ME: IF/ELSE invitation to contribute to cyberfeminism. next protocols 1.0
IF you would like to know more about the ideas THE OLD BOYS NETWORK isconcerned with while going deeper into next protocols THEN read this alternative invitation:
Old Boys Network (Ed.) CYBERFEMINISM: Next Protocols
IF Cyberfeminism is a powerful label for some vague ideas.....
Can a word express a widespread intimation of something not yet articulated? Yes, condensations of some vague ideas have been a part of every genuine invention; for example, the digital computer emerged independently and in different places at about the same historic moment.
Since about 1992 this has also been the case with CYBERFEMINISM. Yet the success story of this word seems unprecedented. As technical as the media named above, CYBERFEMINISM indicates a diffusion through the hitherto thinkable and possible -- a permeable membrane. Two masterpieces in male western cultural tradition: the "woman" and the "machine", worshipped in endless - mostly male - fantasies of mechanical women-automata or as female robots or cyborgs have in the meantime met elsewhere under strange new conditions: Not only the male authors of these subjects have disappeared from the stage of history, but authorship, stage and history may themselves have disappeared, or at least have changed their recognizable forms... Cyberfeminism does not indicate the necessary "return of the repressed" in the male psyche of history, but a feed-back loop in a space-time named post-human. Like IF, the basic element of programming languages for case differentiation and ramification - Cyberfeminism indicates an operation. The feed-back loop: if x then a else b sets an unpredictable future for the machine's actions. Who would seriously trust such autonomous operations? Since the war-decision programming of the 40s, almost everybody (preferably without knowing) trusts IF-THEN commands as a means to prophesy the immediate future. Reported errors will already have predicted the unknown message, as a message is the transmission of certain calculable probabilities. Metaphorically (and incorrectly) spoken, a feminist bet could engage in the finding of some less predictable errors - one step beyond coding - in order to trigger a change in the immediate future of the machine's universe. Making a mess of the message? Count differently? Change the alphabet? Calculate faster? Rearm the hardware to devices capable of all of the first four rules of arithmetic? Transmit viruses? Put the data of your genetic fingerprint in an Artificial Life environment to parody literary origin myths? Live new or ambiguous genders? The potential of this situation has not yet been realized in relation to patriarchally coded cultural systems: yet posing unresolvable decision problems, like the halting problem, sometimes turning into infinite feedback- loops ...
ELSE IF Cyberfeminism is a simulation....
What will we have been wanting to say? We: some sort of strange new feminists, trying to work out this question theoretically and politically with the foreseen result of changing or even demolishing feminism, or "ourselves" in the way we conceive feminism and "ourselves" now. So: Cyborg Feminisms? Cyberfeminism? With a Difference? Weaving automatic Feminism like Jaquard's loom? Tinkering with split or second selves? We think: IF you don't make your bets, THEN rien ne va plus... or worse: continues in a way called progress. For IF the bet on what becomes reality is made by women with machines (they'll both win), THEN history can be deciphered in the mode of future perfect - and what will perhaps still be called "women" continues to simulate.
At least that's what we are working with: the utopian space opened up between the meaning and the letter, between the different lectures and practices, between desires and facts - that is working in a zone of passage between informational noise and modes of simulation. Coming out of the vague.
ELSE IF Cyberfeminism is not a teleology ... If ideal and final concepts of history in cyberfeminist visions are not supported, there'll be alternatives to statements like the following: "... as machines get more autonomous, so do the women. or It's not happening because people are trying to make it happen - or even because feminist politics are driving these changes (...), but changes are occurring almost as an automatic process. (...) It's beautifully effortless, it's an automatic process!" (Sadie Plant) Why should cyberfeminism identify with philosophies of history that lead to any kind of historic fulfillment? No genuine simulation under the sign of "women" would corrupt its open structure, like proposing quite a thermodynamic end of history as a law of nature.
ELSE IF Gender is not obsolete... Despite suggestions that one should put hope in a "monstrous world without gender" (Donna Haraway) why not stick to the intimate monstrosities of sexual difference in an analytical, critical as well as an utopian sense? Assuming that the borders between humans and information processing machines, as between the physical and the non-physical world and some other identity granting convictions will have been shifting or down for quite a while - all this does not necessarily trigger wishes of getting rid of gender, including the most interesting monstrous female sex - the vanishing point probably even of the perspective construction of a "world without gender". So - if gender is not obsolete, there is a stake in reformulating it under contemporary conditions. How? Cyberfeminism encloses "fem" in its very center -"fem" that promising syllable which hints at gender, yet exceeds and eludes it.
ELSE IF Cyberfeminism is a monster.... We think: Cyberfeminism is a monster born of net-condition and cultural traditions; a hybrid concept of the strange new bodies of genetechnology and the new forms of simulation in the age of virtuality. If gender is not obsolete, but in process of changing, then how to describe these monstrous new sensibilities, identities, bodies - literally, conceptually, politically...? How to perceive and create the new skin of the hybrid new existences, both physical and non-physical? As we live in a time of crass power consolidation through pancapitalism, as the gendered power formations and dominating structures are being spread to all corners of the earth by this globalization, and as information technologies are profoundly changing lives, all this can trigger "women" to muster all their knowledge and cunning to find ways of creating active nodes of subversion and alternative processes on however tiny a scale. If cyberfemininsts use the Net as a strategy and a medium for political, cultural, and social action within decentralized information and communication networks, what could the monstrous consequences be?
THEN send your proposal to the OLD BOYS NETWORK!
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Last Update: 20. 02. 2000