[-empyre-] Week 4: A Feminist (Humanist) Reconstruction of the Canon- Day 2

Asha Tamirisa ashatamirisa at gmail.com
Sun Jun 29 14:47:48 EST 2014

Thanks so much for this. In terms of someone employing a technology to
deliver certain ideologies, Jessica Rylan/Flower Electronics comes to mind
(I am obviously a little one-tracked with modulars right now…). In “Pink
Noises”, Rylan describes learning about labor practices in the electronics
industry and how women (particularly women of color) figure into these
exploitative practices, that they actually build many of our machines, are
paid very little, work under treacherous conditions, and are still not
considered technical or authorial. To evade participating in this
structure, Rylan decided to commit to making her own instruments, though
she acknowledges that even the smallest components of her instruments are
still made as a result of abhorrent labor practices. Still, I think the
fact that she is vocal about this in the delivery of her instruments is
powerful. I’d be curious to hear more about other technologists /artists
that are working through/around conditions of labor in technological
manufacturing…. In Tara Rodgers’ and Jonathan Sterne’s “Poetics of Signal
Processing”, they discuss how the logics of the signal processing in
Rylan’s instruments evade normative and teleological ideas of signal
processing through more chaotic and unpredictable processes. Her circuit
design is sometimes based on her own aural experiences of the world,
building in her own narratives of sound into her instruments.

Something else that comes to mind re: exclusion from high-art / cannons /
authorship is the tendency to celebrate minimalist music/abstract art for
its supposed neutrality, objectivity, universality while borrowing (often
very explicitly) from non-European (also feminine) forms and logics
(non-linear, cyclical, repetitious, participatory structures). There is
greater concern it seems for ‘purity’ rather than seeing these forms as
signifiers, and less concern for where these ideas and logics stem. My
thoughts are half-baked (and slightly off topic) here, but I’d be
interested in thinking more about minimalism/abstraction as a form of
feminist expression and thinking more closely about its non-European roots.

On Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 8:25 AM, monisola gbadebo <
monisola.gbadebo at gmail.com> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Historically women and people of color have been excluded from
> so-called “high art” and intellectualism--often the subject/object and
> rarely canonized as the creator of an aesthetic or idea. One thinks of
> the numberless female nudes in the visual art canon, the countless
> soprano arias--the ways in which women are frequently the subject of
> the male gaze and masculine narrative constructs. We have been the
> Madonna, the nymph, the object of desire--always under the gaze and
> seldom the interpreter, critic, or creator. A quote that distills this
> phenomena comes from the literary world,
> ““For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.”
> — Virginia Woolf
> Woolf is speaking not only to the lack of representation of feminine
> creativity, but to the erasure of feminine attribution. In new music
> where  the performer-composer dichotomy is challenged, this lack of
> creative attribution is reinscribed when too often a woman who
> composes the same music she then performs is only credited as the
> performer.
> There is also the persistence of thought that artists of color lack
> the intellectual/aesthetic rigor of their European descended
> contemporaries. George Lewis writes, “What I’ve been specifically
> interested in here is how the idea of a black avant-garde
> exists,oxymoronically— as if black, on the one hand, and avant-garde,
> on the other hand...a conclusion that the avant-garde has been
> exclusively Euro-American..formulation of the avant-garde as
> necessarily not black”  (Power Stronger Than Itself , p 79.)
> I am interested in the ways that women and artists of color have had
> to go through a process of reconstructing their creative
> identities---often through the reclaiming their images from the
> masculine gaze (the prevalence of self-portraiture in feminist art),
> the process of critical historical revision and narrative forms in
> African-American music and literature, and through the reclamation of
> control over the means of one’s sonic production and presentation
> (instrument building Pauline Oliveros’s expanded instrument system,
> Laetitia Sonami’s Lady’s Glove, and Pamela Z’s extensive use of her
> own voice) and the development of festivals and online forums where
> women curate and showcase and discuss their own work. I want to
> discuss the many ways artists constructed as “non-normative” employ
> technology towards the reclamation of their identities and place
> themselves squarely in the realms high art and experimentalism.
> Excited to hear all of your thoughts!
> Monisola Gbadebo
> monisola.gbadebo at gmail.com
> https://soundcloud.com/prettyrobotshungryghosts/
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

- Asha Tamirisa <http://ashatamirisa.net/>
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