Inke Arns on Mon, 27 Sep 1999 17:20:03 +0200

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Syndicate: (fwd) CALL for CONTRIBUTIONS to a BOOK

[cornelia sollfrank sent me this call for contributions to post it on the
Syndicate list. -greetings, inke]

Date: Sat, 11 Sep 1999 21:35:09 +0200
From: (Cornelia Sollfrank)


 The OLD BOYS NETWORK calls for contributions to its new editorial
project, provisionally titled: CYBERFEMINISM, Next Protocols - a BOOK
with new and controversial approaches to Cyberfeminism. Why? We are in
need of a book which reflects the actual (and future) state of the art of
thinking about, and inventing, the digital medium in its capacity to
subvert cultural practices which a cyberfeminist perspective can provide.
 Verena Kuni (Germany), Claudia Reiche (Germany), Yvonne Volkart
(Switzerland), and Faith Wilding (USA), as the editorial group are
looking for feminist modes of accessing, queering, transgressing,
rethinking or using information based technologies--electronic
communication (including command and control), word or image processing,
every form of virtuality and simulation, biotechnologies, body politics
 To start the discussion, the OLD BOYS NETWORK offers an outline of some
utopian reflections on contemporary Cyberfeminisms, which indicate our
special fields of interest, and may suggest debate topics.

 With the publishers of Autonomedia Books (New York) we hope to create a
network of contributions to be published in 2000/2001. We
wish to consider a broad variety of texts, as well as non-textual projects,
from experimental to theoretical, activist, poetic, polemical, fragmentary,
philosophical, and the like. If you call yourself a woman and are
interested in the communicating and debating potential of this
CYBERFEMINIST project you are invited to submit proposals. New,
unpublished work is preferred.

 Please email your proposals: 300-500 words, in English by the 30th
October, 1999 to the OLD BOYS NETWORK. Contact: Visit: Please include your full name, postal address,
telephone, email address, and a two line biography in your proposal.

invitation to contribute to cyberfeminism. next protocols 1.0

 Old Boys Network (Ed.)
 Next Protocols

 THE OLD BOYS NETWORK is especially interested in texts which address the

 <Paradoxes of the digital medium>
 How do we judge the changes that the medium of the computer has
introduced in a historical way? And in the way it has changed how we
understand and use history? What are the every-day embodied conditions of
women's lives as they are being altered by the new technologies and
communications networks? What are new forms of oppression and of
liberation? Has the digital medium--starting with the undecisiveness of
the Turing test, and in its latest form when calculation-tasks have become
autonomous data processing--taken the place of the subject? Can you tell:
Where do you or the machine 'end'?

 <Paradoxes of the body>
 ...there is an instability at the very heart of sex and bodies, the fact
that the body is what it is capable of doing, and what any body is
capable of doing is well beyond the tolerance of any given culture."
(Elizabeth Grosz)
 What is the experience of gender and femininity in the virtual medium?
How do we describe these strange new bodies, these body doubles of
virtuality and flesh? What are the effects of the biotech revolution on
social constructions of gender, and on women? The manufacture and control
of fertility/infertility and the medicalization of women's body processes
are vital subjects for cyberfeminist scrutiny, critique, and activism. We
need to examine the increasingly close links between medical and military
technologies and the implications of these for women.

 <Paradoxes of the cross-breed: Net-condition>
 Cyberfeminism is not simply an evolution of historical feminism created
as a more adequate answer to meet the changed conditions of the
Information Age. Cyberfeminism can perhaps best be described as a
feminist intervention into these new conditions, and an exploration of
how they challenge the political and social conditions of feminism. What
is the net-condition of women? What could cyberfeminist subversions and
uses of the net consist of? What are the possibilities of the so-called
networked body or the body on-line? In thinking beyond gender and gender
discourses we find ourselves in the territory of the post-human, the
cyborg, or the hyper-cyborg, the territory of the monstrous and the
unrepresentable. With the advent of advanced biotechnology and genetic
mapping, the field of teratology has acquired whole new meanings in
medical and agricultural realms. How do things look in the physical and
non-physical realms of virtual teratology?

invitation to contribute to cyberfeminism. next protocols 1.0

IF you would like to know more about the ideas THE OLD BOYS NETWORK
isconcerned with while going deeper into next protocols THEN read this
alternative invitation:

 Old Boys Network (Ed.)
 CYBERFEMINISM: Next Protocols

 Cyberfeminism" is a powerful label for some vague ideas.....

 Can a word express a widespread intimation of something not yet
articulated? Yes, condensations of some vague ideas have been a part of
every genuine invention; for example, the digital computer emerged
independently and in different places at about the same historic moment.
Since about 1992 this has also been the case with CYBERFEMINISM. Yet the
success story of this word seems unprecedented. As technical as the media
named above, CYBERFEMINISM indicates a diffusion through the hitherto
thinkable and possible--a permeable membrane.
 Two masterpieces in male western cultural tradition: the woman" and the
machine", worshipped in endless - mostly male - fantasies of mechanical
women-automata or as female robots or cyborgs have in the meantime met
elsewhere under strange new conditions: Not only the male authors of
these subjects have disappeared from the stage of history, but
authorship, stage and history may themselves have disappeared, or at
least have changed their recognizable forms... Cyberfeminism" does not
indicate the necessary return of the repressed" in the male psyche of
history, but a feed-back loop in a space-time named post-human.
 Like IF, the basic element of programming languages for case
differentiation and ramification - Cyberfeminism" indicates an operation.
The feed-back loop: if x then a else b" sets an unpredictable future for
the machine's actions. Who would seriously trust such autonomous
operations? Since the war-decision programming of the 40s, almost
everybody (preferably without knowing) trusts IF-THEN commands as a means
to prophesy the immediate future. Reported errors will already have
predicted the unknown message, as a message is the transmission of
certain calculable probabilities. Metaphorically (and incorrectly)
spoken, a feminist bet could engage in the finding of some less
predictable errors - one step beyond coding - in order to trigger a
change in the immediate future of the machine's universe. Making a mess
of the message? Count differently? Change the alphabet? Calculate faster?
Rearm the hardware to devices capable of all of the first four rules of
arithmetic? Transmit viruses? Put the data of your genetic fingerprint in
an Artificial Life environment to parody literary origin myths? Live new
or ambiguous genders? The potential of this situation has not yet been
realized in relation to patriarchally coded cultural systems: yet posing
unresolvable decision problems, like the halting problem, sometimes
turning into infinite feedback- loops ...

 Cyberfeminism is a simulation....

 What will we have been wanting to say? We: some sort of strange new
feminists, trying to work out this question theoretically and politically
with the foreseen result of changing or even demolishing feminism", or
ourselves" in the way we conceive feminism" and ourselves" now. So:
Cyborg Feminisms? Cyberfeminism? With a Difference? Weaving automatic
Feminism like Jaquard's loom? Tinkering with split or second selves? We
think: IF you don't make your bets, THEN rien ne va plus... or worse:
continues in a way called progress.
 For IF the bet on what becomes reality is made by women with machines
(they'll both win), THEN history can be deciphered in the mode of future
perfect - and what will perhaps still be called women" continues to

 At least that's what we are working with: the utopian space opened up
between the meaning and the letter, between the different lectures and
practices, between desires and facts - that is working in a zone of
passage between informational noise and modes of simulation. Coming out
of the vague.

 Cyberfeminism is not a teleology ...
 If ideal and final concepts of history in cyberfeminist visions are not
supported, there'll be alternatives to statements like the following : machines get more autonomous, so do the women." or It's not
happening because people are trying to make it happen - or even because
feminist politics are driving these changes (...), but changes are
occurring almost as an automatic process. (...) It's beautifully
effortless, it's an automatic process!" (Sadie Plant) Why should
cyberfeminism identify with philosophies of history that lead to any kind
of historic fulfillment? No genuine simulation under the sign of women"
would corrupt its open structure, like proposing quite a thermodynamic
end of history as a law of nature.

 Gender is not obsolete...
 Despite suggestions that one should put hope in a "monstrous world
without gender" (Donna Haraway) why not stick to the intimate
monstrosities of sexual difference in an analytical, critical as well as
an utopian sense? Assuming that the borders between humans and
information processing machines, as between the physical and the
non-physical world and some other identity granting convictions will have
been shifting or down for quite a while - all this does not necessarily
trigger wishes of getting rid of gender, including the most interesting
monstrous female sex - the vanishing point probably even of the
perspective construction of a world without gender". So - if gender is
not obsolete, there is a stake in reformulating it under contemporary
conditions. How? Cyberfeminism encloses "Fem" in its very center -"fem"
that promising syllable which hints at gender, yet exceeds and eludes it.

 Cyberfeminism is a monster....
 We think: Cyberfeminism is a monster born of net-condition and cultural
traditions; a hybrid concept of the strange new bodies of genetechnology
and the new forms of simulation in the age of virtuality. If gender is
not obsolete, but in process of changing, then how to describe these
monstrous new sensibilities, identities, bodies - literally,
conceptually, politically...? How to perceive and create the new skin of
the hybrid new existences, both physical and non-physical? As we live in
a time of crass power consolidation through pancapitalism, as the
gendered power formations and dominating structures are being spread to
all corners of the earth by this globalization, and as information
technologies are profoundly changing lives, all this can trigger  women"
to muster all their knowledge and cunning to find ways of creating active
nodes of subversion and alternative processes on however tiny a scale. If
cyberfemininsts use the Net as a strategy and a medium for political,
cultural, and social action within decentralized information and
communication networks, what could the monstrous consequences be?

 send your proposal to the OLD BOYS NETWORK!

++++++++++++++++++++ Old Boys Network ++++++++++++++++++++
Cornelia Sollfrank - Eppendorfer Weg 8 - 20259 Hamburg - +49-40-4304749

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