Re: [-empyre-] the use in girls coming

Hi again, and thanks for the responses to my post and to the Manifesto.

>>i would like to
> ask Julianne about its use in the manifesto. what
> are the politics of
> this word? what is its importance to cyberfeminist
> discourse?

Yes. I'm interested too.

Perhaps I'll address this question to start, and why we used the word 'cunt' in the manifesto. Also please remember that the Manifesto was written in the context of it's writing was quite specific...even though I believe that it still has contemporary currency, it did really reflect our thinking around the early 1990's.

The project of VNS Matrix was to attempt to claim a female space within cyberspace. One of the strategies to do this was to use language and to reclaim language which is negative or derogatory towards women. The word 'cunt' can be offensive...and has obviously been offensive to some on this list!! But for us it was about using this word in a positive way, to say that we are cunts and proud of other versions of the manifesto we replace the word 'cunt' with 'kunst', we make art with our 'kunst'. We were also interested in the relationship of the body to the computer...that the Matrix is another word for the womb and that the cunt or clitoris is a direct line to the Matrix.

Our project was to take the writings of french feminists in particular and place these in the context of virtual space, to use the language of this feminism and graph this onto another sphere - to create an imaginary space where the body could exist. It was also about exploring sexuality in cyberspace, and as ben.w points out there was a lot of this going on at the time, and we all remember teledildonics with fondness and strapping ourselves into latex suits and being virtually stimulated by remote bodies. It was serious investigation of networks and virtual space but it was fun as well.

Behind the fun though was a desire to agitate for increasing women's involvement with the datasphere...and this is where the cyberfeminism comes's about become active and making change and in some ways being aggressive about that. VNS Matrix wasn't about separatism, it was about recognising that the cybersphere isn't neutral at all, it's a political, privileged and cultural space.

My point in posting the manifesto was a starting point to discuss cyberfeminism, from its early roots to where it is now and where it might be going. How does it sit with other feminisms and how has cyberfeminism created a space for women to be active participants in the 'information age' - not just as participants but as influential and determining figures in a new milieu. Sure, VNS matrix might be boring girls from Adelaide...sure we got bored with it too, disbanding in 1997 ... but what we did created some ripples and enabled us to connect with a whole network of really interesting people.

In closing for now, I want to re-iterate that VNS Matrix was four people, and these are my own opinions on the VNS Matrix project...

cheers, Julianne

Ciao Katherine,

you're right, form and substance cannot be easily
separated. If I had a neutral position, and was
interested in a 'civilised' and quite discussion about
the issues at hand, I wouldn't have probably bothered
answering. The very reason for my infuriated answer is
that I found the post disturbing, which probably was
at the essence of it.

I'm arguing that scandal = art.
And I'm discussing the notion of cyber feminism.

I agree, our online experiences are highly influenced
by our living in the physical world, but then, hey, we
are still physical entities and if we even meet, we
would be likely to be a man and a woman.

But that does not change the fact that I still think
that, despite what someone else pointed out about
techie user groups and male oriented discussion group,
the very range of possibilities for expression is as
open as it could even been. We have stories surfacing
from countries where women are still physically
oppressed, we know a lot more about the condition and
necessity of real feminism to contrast a male
dominated world.

But my main argument is that whilst I do see the
necessity of fighting for true euqlity of
opportunities between men and women in some
environments, I cannot understand that very need in
the bloathed cyberspace. The fact that some discussion
groups are oriented towards arguments that are more
domain of men, does not prevent women to make their
own voice heard. It is possible, there are no
constraints. The Net was controlled by the Military,
but that was 20 years ago. I can be pretty sure that I
can say that Bush is an idiot, here, and no one will
come to arrest me tomorrow (I hope, if you don't hear
from me, I'll be rottening in an American jail :-)

Completely different is the case if myself and you go
to Harvard Business School, have the same IQ, and come
out with the same excellent degree. I would
unfortunately be more like than you to make it to the
top position in business. Is this fair? Of course not.
Should we fight against it? Definitely!

But the situation here is different. We have
provocation for the sake of it, no real need, no
rights of oppressed cyber women to defend.

To claim to be the cyber feminist of the 21st century,
in the name of the cunt, if to offend not myself (and
in the end I'm still a man) but the great women wha
have really done something fro the progress of
civilisation and women's right.

And to try to have this passing for art, based on a
6x2 meters layout, is simply ridiculous.

I cannot help it. And I'm not on fire anymore :-)

Best regards,



>>i would like to
> ask Julianne about its use in the manifesto. what
> are the politics of
> this word? what is its importance to cyberfeminist
> discourse?

Yes. I'm interested too.

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