BREAKING THE SPACE
Cyberfeminist Activist Net Art

Curated by Evelin Stermitz

BREAKING THE SPACE
is part of the exhibition
Speculum Artium 09
   
In collaboration with the Department of Video and New Media, Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The exhibition takes place from May 12 15 2009, at Delavski Dom Trbovlje, Trbovlje, Slovenia.

http://black.fri.uni-lj.si

New Media offers new possibilities and chances, but also comprehends old restrictions and patterns. Women collaborate virtually worldwide on debates, theories, art works and building cyberfeminist groups such as FACES mailing list, based on gender, technology and art, or OBN (Old Boys Network) as new collectives. These alliances offer possibilities to use New Media with female agendas. Works in the field of New Media, feminism and art is a way to subvert the public economic tradition and offer new views and perspectives. The term media activist occurs as an opportunity to undergo a shift from the male technocratic society, where knowledge, money and power go in one hand to strengthen male interests and visions. Cyberfeminism can be an answer to tech-malestream, as VNS Matrix (Francesca da Rimini, Josephine Starrs, Julianne Piercel,Virginia Barratt) the early Australian cyberfeminists stated: "mission to hijack the tools of the techno-cowboys and remap technoculture with a feminist bent"[1] in an active and not passive user role intended to recode, remap, relocate and reconstruct tech-culture. "Cyberfemmes are everywhere, but cyberfeminists are few and far between."[2] Core cyberfeminist actions are aesthetic/artistic strategies, not only as deconstructions of representations of gender, but also of traditional concepts on the net and in the institutions of tech-culture. Cyberfeminist projects do not work as a massive front in a manner of counter cultural movements, they are subversive, infiltrating the mainstream with ironic breaks, citations and deformations.[3]
Cyberfeminist Activist Net Art is breaking with traditional concepts of art and art history by exploring new forms of creating art in digital modules as a vivid and not static perception of art. Feminist thinking is influencing the primary male dominated digital field and breaking with concepts of a male technocratic (net-)culture, which leads to pieces of reflections on both, the socially constructed media and the society itself.
The selected net art works show its emphases on various social imbalances of real and virtual gender issues. Still existing male violence and suppression exerted on women in the 21st century and after more then hundred years of fight for women's rights are articulated for example in Annie Abrahams, Deb King's and Margot Lovejoy's works. Another important issue are developments of artificial embodiment and the influence of biotechnologies on the female body and reproduction, e.g. works by Faith Wilding and Critical Art Ensemble. Other net art works are revealing the commodification and objectification of women in a mediated society by exposing male dominated spectatorship and its regalia of power.
Cyberfeminist Net Art addresses and spreads their broad field of feminist agenda to global recipients, democratic, multi-dimensional and participatory to evolve change. By involving digitality and virtuality in an aesthetics to subvert common practices of (net-)behaviour a re-and de-coding of structures is shaped towards an open space.

References:
1. Claude Draude, Introducing Cyberfeminism, in: <www.obn.org/reading_room/writings/html/intro.html>, accessed 30 March 2009.
2. Nancy Paterson, Cyberfeminism, 1996, in: Draude.
3. Draude [1].