Re: [-empyre-] geuzennamen

On Oct 25, 2006, at 12:33 AM, N.Mauro-Flude wrote:

he main
ongoing activities we have are the Genderchanger Academy
(, the Syster Server Project
( and the Eclectic Tech Carnival

These are grassroots projects, as a response to our own experiences of
gender issues in the IT world and beyond.

great projects! i really like this from the site
"The logical hierarchy of the GCA website is designed in a way a typical linux directory tree is organized. Unfortunately a "technical" structure often excludes those who are not familiar with the structure from participation. Our goal here, is not to confuse people, but to introduce people to the linux file system in a way that may be memorable."
the dual use of the linux hierarchy structure is great.

blakkbyrd wrote:

I can see how this might be empowering to certain women when explored in a controlled environment with trained therapists. But a website is not a controlled environment.

Can you share your audience demographics with us? How many t shirts have you sold to women, and how many have you sold to males? How many teenagers and children visit your site?

i think the lack of control you find problematic is kind of the point. not that it's not problematic, but the problems are integral to what's going on. if you want to get clinical and professional about it you have to do more than borrow the most obvious questions from a marketing perspective.

We actually get teenagers that email us because
they want to add to our list of words, or they want to buy a T- shirt.

Is every purchasor screened to ensure that they correctly understand the theoretical underpinnings of your project before purchase?

How much traffic does the site get and how much revenue does it generate from sales and advertising? Do you break even?

In the absence of such information, the project appears about as effective as handing out bottles of scotch to alcoholics would be in campaigning against alcoholism.

gender-ads is far more effective and doesnt sell anything

Analyzing ads and marketing is great. i don't think deGeuzen's work is trying to function on the level of strict critical analysis however. i think you're rightly trying to bring some kind of rigor to the questioning of art projects (as Craig Owens insisted a long time ago), but i don't know that such rigor should (or can) come from the language and strategy of marketing solely.
and the analogy to alcoholism is a bit of a simplification to say the least. for one thing it accepts the medicalization of the problem of addiction (as an individual problem of mental/moral/biological weakness), and by comparison does the same to oppression and violence. anger-management is pretty much the only official/ institutional treatment regarding violence against women in "domestic" situations (at least in the US) - they must treat their "anger" as alcoholics must treat their addiction, as "sick" individuals. And women are seen as "survivors" in the same way cancer survivors are. see the problem? (my knowledge of this comes from a partner who worked for several years as an advocate for women in situations of domestic violence in the US)
any poetics certainly has to be challenged for how it reinscribes cultural norms and politics (ideology), but it seems equally problematic to interrogate the problems of poetics and the subrational with the same techniques that are used to manipulate subrational desires by oppressive forces. it sounds like you're essentially asking for complete control of communication on the part of the artists here, which is antithetical to the very project itself. re-appropriation is about (IMHO) trying to alter a dominant power relationship through low-level means of engagement and co- opting the language of the oppressor. it's not necessarily a rational process, or one that can be quantified in the language of sales and demographics. to be sure, those things can be data used to discuss what's going on. and don't get me wrong, i'm all for arguing and critiquing these things, as i find lots of problems with such practices (as i've said before). but i think we need to be just as critical of the easy conflation of re-appropriation (and its effect/ affect) and the appropriation of specific/oppressed bodies by a dominant culture.
in other words, are we arguing over whether or not deGeuzen's t- shirts are contributing to a culture of violence in the same way that abercrombe + fitch are through their marketing? or are we arguing over how effective it is at resisting that larger culture of violence? is it a conflict over strategy or tactics?
this is a larger question of how to be critical of poetics (beyond formal analysis) i think, which is very interesting and potentially productive. but also very difficult.

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