[-empyre-] rehearsal of a network - [week 4] + Feminist Internet Lore Manifesto

dollyoko at thing.net dollyoko at thing.net
Wed Jul 4 10:00:44 AEST 2018

Dear Shu Lea and all,

below is a sporal contribution by Nancy Mauro-Flude to the mycelium -
freshly distributed as Mother/Scoby was transiting between floating worlds
in June. I highly commend it to the mycelial mat.


doll x

Feminist Internet Lore Manifesto: 10 working points for the 21 Century.
Nancy Mauro-Flude

The Feminist Internet Lore Manifesto (FILM) has been conceived because the
internet physically impacts our health, safety and well-being. Since 1969
the birth of the internet technical knowhow is weaponized against those
whom are uninformed of its processes. [1] The all-seeing eyes of despotic
gatekeepers have been harnessing the unsuspecting user with vender lock-in
strategies, are merely successors to historical tactics of slavery,
victimization and addiction. For those whom attempt to enable those
unacquainted, everyday horror has and is being experienced. [2] Often the
perpetrators are those whom possess the skill of system administration -
through online smear campaigns, stalking, DOS attacks, lurking, doxing and
so on, such dread is endured. [3] In the first decade of commonplace use
of the web, during the 1990s, particular female led technical projects had
to initially work on making visible networks of female-centered
technologists pointing to alternative models to how such agency can take
place in other ways. Although vulnerability cannot be used as an alibi,
because we cannot confuse a sense of false security with providing a safe
place – this text acknowledges these pioneering autonomous grassroots
feminist server/tech projects such as: The Syster Server run by women,
using free software, the collective acts as a nonviolent place to learn
*nix system administration skills, host services and inspire others to do
the same this project was developed by The Genderchangers Academy [GCA]
was grass roots female led tech collective whom held skills share meetings
at the end of the 90’s in Amsterdam. [4] The name genderchangers is
derived from a small piece of computer hardware that changes the sex of a
computer cable. The metaphor was chosen to create awareness around the
significant lack of women in the field of Information Technology. GCA’s
desire is to change the dominant gender of people who use technology, and
this is communicated in the events this community produces. This is an
international collective of women who deal with computers the hard way, in
the sense that in workshops the first step is to open up computer
hardware, thereby demystifying machines by cataloguing their inner parts.

This female collective also started The Eclectic Tech Carnival [/etc ] in
2003. The /etc, has been fondly known as, the GCA on the road. It began as
the GCA were invited by various female led cooperatives and cultural
centres and NGOs, to continue their experiential way of skills share; that
is such customized experiential learning events challenge overtly
goal-orientated, vocational and teleological approaches that are so
coercive in today’s learning environments for instance STEM/STEAM. The
/etc were held mainly throughout Eastern Europe annually for the first
decade and then expanded out to other iterations and venues there after
(the /etc being held in 2018 in Italy). The GCA’s customized experiential
learning events challenge overtly goal-orientated, vocational and
teleological approaches that are so dominant in today’s learning
environments. Of course, GCA isn’t the only group doing such work,
however, their forging methodology, was largely influential upon the
proliferation of women-driven hacker space events of the 21C. Such
projects are a collective body of radical anarchist feminists with a
particular history of chewing on the cables and fibres of control and
domination, nodding to Angela Davis who reminds us that “radical simply
means grasping things at the root”. Therefore, FILM rejects the
utilitarian deciphering of intent, and instead refers to the beginnings of
culture when the notion of matriarchy was prominent and was said to be
subsumed by patriarchy by the division of art, crafts, technologies and
ritual. [5] It is posited that typical social stratifications and other
limiting divisions such as labour need to be transcended, and instead we
must focus on fulfilling (and thrilling) the aspirations of those beyond
the moment, but to no certain goal for that then reduces possibility. It
should also be noted that the FILM’s 10 working points has been influenced
by a translation, that was adapted and modified from the social division
of labor, a concept scrupulously set forth by William Petty, whom put into
practice the idea of the division of labour as a means of maximising both
quality and efficiency. [6] Such notions are deliberately inverted and
infused with exuberance to critically address current technopolitics.
Whilst also leaving a space for ivresse whilst envisioning, first and
foremost, the aim is to change the gender of technology – that is - to
eclipse the sexual violence often encountered when women are living,
working and learning in a male dominated field of the internet. Such
experimental pedagogy is unique in that they have a feminist approach -
think digital literacy sewing circles - the modes of experiential learning
expand the hack meetings’ reflection on politics with an intersectionalist
point of view and a non teleological approach to skills sharing. For
instance, during a meeting a focus group on system administration is quite
content, to have a woman knitting in the back ground gleaning information,
or a silk screen or drag king workshop held alongside more hard tech
skills acquisition.

With such herstory in the foreground, a salon style event ‘Feminist
Principles of Internet Art’ was held as a part of the Favour Economy’s [7]
residency at Norma Redpath House for ‘Doing Feminism / Sharing the World'
research project in Melbourne, Australia. [8] The Favour Economy is a
project that collects audio recordings shared by women working in the
arts. While it abstracts its use value and transcends the regime of
commodity exchange, as a platform for contributors from women in the arts,
to share their experience, insights and skills by recording an audio file
and sharing it to the internet archive. The archive comprises of a series
of volumes that develop over a one-year period coinciding with the
financial year, and can be seen as an entanglement into the abstract
reality of post-cybernetic control. Furthermore, the word ‘favour’
encapsulates a social gesture of ‘sharing something’ without describing
precisely what that ‘something’ might be. In this context the intention of
the ‘Feminist Principles of Internet Art’ was to examine ‘The Feminist
Principles of the Internet v2’ an evolving document initially developed in
2014 by the Association for Progressive Communications [9]. The principles
towards realising a feminist Internet were discussed and outlined,
including key events and historical digital literacy circles, which have
posed a new radical set of (cyber)feminist models and art movements, that
in turn provided new insights about what a feminist engagement with the
internet may be. Informing critical rethinking of existing discourse they
provide us with a sense of import of this contemporary field.

It is no secret that calculating machines play an increasingly dominant
role in influencing our desires and fears, concerns and prejudices. Beyond
the 1337/leet sp33k and endless torrent of internet memes, personal
branding, rickrolling of post digital culture, Described in Digital
Folklore as ‘online amateur culture, DIY electronics, dirtstyle,
typo-nihilism, memes and chatbots’ (Espenschied & Lialina 2009), defining
some principles of feminist Internet life and lore opens up pathway to
re-think the mechanism. Such reckonings with Internet life and lore, art
and materiality demand an analysis commensurate with the ubiquity and
complexity of its myriad presence, dismissing the assumption that the
internet is a single global homogenising technology. Therefore FILM is a
treatise and litany acknowledging that the Internet is a cultural
apparatus. The internet is envisioned it as a feminist place where art can
also happen (rather than merely a platform for trade, porn, promotion,
self-aggrandisement or channel of utilitarian information exchange).
Nodding slightly to the ‘autonomous movement of the non-living’
anticipated by Guy Debord in The Society of the Spectacle (Paris, 1967).
FILMs tendrils reach out to to Ada Lovelace (1815–52) whom envisaged the
full potential of the matrix like computing machine, including its poetic
significance. Through an examination of the humble origins of the
computer, as weave and weft, such revalidation of profound play within the
limits of a given system, even of the most utilitarian kind, can lead to
transfiguration and unanticipated tendrils of whey that can reach far
beyond initial intent. Along with approaching the operating system and the
computer as a process – not dissimilar to any salubrious relationship -
it's something that you must continually work on and maintain. And if this
remains to be so, we should also embracing the feminist futurity of VNS
Matrix and Xenofeminism, as Laboria Cuboniks insists for “the augmented
homes of shared laboratories, of communal media and technical facilities”.
In this way FILM indicates ten working points to continue to enable women
to be louder, stronger, and safer, as they become more fluent in their
reach for justice in the 21Century. The intention of the FILM is not
simply to propose a definitive set of working points, nor project
potential uses, delimit possible actions, nor signal perceived functions
but to enable a constant shifting of functions, mediums, positions, roles,
pronouns, selves, discourses and fictions that continually intersect. The
work honours those women whose voice, amongst other things, was prominent
in the pursuit for pleasure, exuberance, and vertigo. A montage of
conversation, description, conjecture and moments pirated from
performances, actions, history and literature. The raison d’être put forth
in the Feminist Internet Manifesto - advocates that feminists must focus
on the path of awareness over identity when foregrounding feminist
approaches and application of the Internet.

[1] Bowles Nellie (2018) ‘Thermostats, Locks and Lights: Digital Tools of
Domestic Abuse’, June 23, New York Times, Cited 1 July 2018 <

[2] Wolf, Asher (2012) Dear Hacker Community – We Need to Talk, Cited 1
July 2018 < http://archive.li/fDxKU >.

[3] Spinks, Rosie J (2013) ‘Hacked Off’ The Magazine: The Complete Archives
Edited by Glenn Fleishman. Cited 1 July 2018 <

[4] https://systerserver.net/, http://genderchangers.org/etc.html

[5] I am referring to the conversations around the idea of ritual and
craft and matriarchy that gets brought up in relation to the Paleolithic
female ‘Venus’ figurines such as Venus of Willendorf. This history is
discussed in detail by Cynthia Eller (2001).

[6] The 10 working points are purloined, then adapted and modified to a
feminist point of view with a collective voice, from a pamphlet ’10
working points for artists in the new divisions of labor’ a text
systematically explored by William Petty which as then translated
purloined, then adapted and modified by Florian Schneider. Discussed in
‘Notes on the division of labor’ _Journal des Laboratoires and TkH Journal
for Performing Arts Theory (no. 17) Exhausting Immaterial Labour in
Performance, Paris 2010. Also see, Luisa Pesante, ‘Paradigms in English
political economy: Interregnum to Glorious Revolution’, _The European
Journal of the History of Economic Thought_, 3, 3, (353), (1996).

[7] http://www.favoureconomy.com

[8] https://doingfeminism-sharingtheworld.tumblr.com

[9] https://www.apc.org/en/pubs/feminist-principles-internet-version-20

[10] http://www.laboriacuboniks.net/qx8bq.txt

Working points

Every work of feminist art is political. It does not matter, whether it is
validated to be claimed as such, or produced and made publicly accessible
with the aim to interact with certain amounts of people and to achieve
certain effects among them. It is constitutive for the current form of
society that the apparatuses of communication are processing any piece of
information, independently from the original intentions of its producers
or the actual (perceived) needs of its consumers. Creating seeding grounds
for counter culture rather than being a court jester for the oligarchy,
can we avoid the same erasing of the histories that happen outside of the
colonial and colonising imaginary of (sub-)cultures. Rather than intending
to be correctly framed and acknowledged, we have to participate in
continual folding, migrating and expanding but not to become unseen and
unheard, in order not to be silenced.

Internet art is resistance against patriarchal communication. The proto
linguistic languages of forensic listening in networked artistic
production carry the potential to refuse the ubiquitous coercions to
communicate first, as vibration, resonance, noise and signal, insofar as
they require extraordinary processes of encryption and decryption. Unruly
ways of transmitting, spreading, spilling and leaking speculations, these
networked acts should not be replaced, but need to be Read/Write
accessible, performed recursively, as a litany, executed on repeat for
eternity, in every situation time and time again #….*/* * * * /usr/bin/.*
> /dev/null

Today’s 21 century globalised world is characterised by increasingly
hybrid divisions: the binary divisions of the industrialism of the 20th
century, such as: analogue/digital, east/west, romanticism/dadaism,
purpose/play, hierarchy/anarchy, presence/absence, symptom/desire,
blue-collar/intellectual, man/woman, master/slave, paranoia/schizophrenia,
type/mutant transcendence/immanence. Have not been supplanted but are
currently being rendered and extracted by new meta divisions which combine
and compute what was formerly considered to be an alternative into new
conglomerations of algorithmic sovereignty. However, if the remedial
treatment for such symptoms is to replace these binary errors, with non
binary correctives, if every manoeuvre to escape dualistic logic
meritoriously recalls it in a subtler manner, we need a careful nuanced
examination of the operating system, starting with learning about
technology the hard way – with a soft _soft_ hand.

The challenge for feminists of 21C is to figure out how new divisions of
labour in the fourth industrial automation are determining completely new
roles for human relations in contemporary society. Over the past decades a
precipitous globalising realm of the internet has incubated different
essences of an engaged ostensibly political art. While dealing with all
sorts of politics, the crossovers between art and activism have been
demonstrating and illustrating the humanitarian super power of an imminent
laissez-faire liberalism smothering the new borders of capitalism by
attempting to systematically eradicate any traces of the concept of race,
class and gender. As long as it does not matter, art is tolerated to be as
radical as it wants. There are other performative ways participate with
other modalities of being that define non-human life forms such as systems
and network which allow people to intersect and form tangential
assemblages with those of whom are both corporeally distant and local.

At the same time, the work of women and artists are confronted with new
forms of functionalism: Local governments are commissioning farmers
markets, public art and fanfare to pacify social conflicts in precarious
neighbourhoods; festivals, biennales and spectacles are supposed to serve
as large-scale sources of inspiration for all sorts of entrepreneurs of an
innovative self; the label and brand of allegedly smart contemporariness
which for a certain period of time seemed somewhat beneficial to distance
ourselves from outdated role-models of master/slave, mistress/wife,
artist/worker, has meanwhile turned into an automated mechanism which
merely ensures the production and expropriation of relational value by any
means possible.

Against the backdrop of method acting for alimony, we are forced to opt
in. Can we opt for none of the above choices, neither generously allowed
arbitrariness nor forced functionalisation? One of the things that
computing machines (when opened and used in a critical manner) make
possible is a new (or perhaps arcane) kind of cross-disciplinary
expression, that it is performative, in a dystopic manner, data becomes
instrument, material and medium. Through a continuum of practices from the
natural sciences, through engineering and design, to everyday culture and
the arts there is no doubt that we are privy to the emergent conditions of
a networked world, a realm increasingly transmitted through ubiquitous
fibres, decoded systems, may we please also skip the search for the
superficial third space, so called, indigenous point of view, which would
be comfortable enough to allow us to reimagine and rebirth puritanical
critical distance or cynical neutrality? Perhaps we can now ask instead
how can we avoid melancholy invocations of the exertions of the past
circling around clichés of suffrage, materialism or abstractionism?

A me´lange of reflection upon cultural, scientific and theoretical
narrative, in an attempt to overcome these discrete divisionary
limitations. The consciousness of raising these questions is the beginning
of their answering: The Internet has to claim a new autonomy. Rather than
imagining independence from chattel, capital, trade and assembly, engaged
female autonomy arises immanently out of the confrontations within ever
more networked mediated process of production and consumption. Rather than
making things disaffected, we need to reflect on the 21C female position
within a production of virtual commodities and distance ourselves from the
accelerating demands by an increasingly wearied society after the
spectacle. In this way, the computer should be approached not as simply a
word processor but as an expressive medium, a theatre machine.

The ideologies of entrepreneurial magic realism and its divisions of
labour seem to shed light and carry in its wake new economies of sentiment
and resentment. Capital exploits the immaterial labour force of collective
female voluntary servitude, whilst hope and despair generate surplus value
from enthusiasm and depression. As long as we are imagining the
preservation of our own integrity and freedom of movement within the
system, we will remain its unruly convicts. Assuming we could still modify
or improve it from within, means that we are just masking our awareness
and idealising the fact that we are earning a living from domestic labour.
There is no doubt the polymath, or what is otherwise known as
cross-disciplinary or intermedial approach, inspires the courageous to
continues to innovate and infect holistic customs. All the while it seems
a utopian claim (or curse) of the dominant who repeatedly claim that we
have truly entered the age of an epoch in which human-induced changes have
significantly impacted on the Earth's ecosystems. In place of this
measured predictive definition, and instead of the war torn
‘anthropocenic’ turn, in stark contrast, we need to provide a vibrant
distinction between objects and relations, making complex dynamics of
materials visible and ensuring that the reserves - intrinsic to objects -
are strongly correlated to the kinds of informal/formal relations in which
content is engaged.

Abstraction is being taken to the limit and coming back to haunt us as new
concreteness. While creating internet art is making a universe a
cosmography that opens up again the possibility of potential. We have to
consider not only our immediate environment but an entire poetic realm
with a multiplicity a cosmos, of past and possible relations as the field
of our activity. Rather than being satisfied with or limited to what is
currently available materially and practically. We have to make tangible
decisions especially to how other matriarchal worlds could be and exist.
In doing so, we may be able to offer new ways of how we conceive this
patriarchal world and what endures in it.

We are working for all women, who have been ostracised, banished or


Mauro-Flude, N. (2018). Feminist_Internet_Lore_Manifesto. [online]
sister0.org. Available at:
http://sister0.org/?Feminist_Internet_Lore_Manifesto/ [Accessed 3 Jul.

V.1 -
3 July 2018

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------Allow me, as CET
> time zone foresees the end of month June and the down
> under has lived the future.

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