If you are a wide-scoped and socially engaged artist already wary and/or already taking aim at the specimen harvesting of new media and the science-infused art industry for their refined Spectacle lubricants, a conference about the histories of technology, science, the humanities, and art is treading a treacherously thin and grease-splattered ice. And while Re:place, which was held this past weekend at the HKW ( House of World Cultures ) in Berlin was poised to investigate some critical issues which are certainly applicable to our own work of diagnosing our society’s precarious Virtual Migration ( briefly defined here as a relocation into the digital spectrum- and spectre- and which has in such short amount of time transformed and usurped massive portions of cultural centers and output), in most cases one had to dig deeper, and from a more stable ground, for the counter-visions.
One of the more highly encouraging forum discussions took place on the last day of programming in a session titled “Rebooting Cyberfeminism” ( Facilitated by Irina Aristarkhova and Faith Wilding) which represented both an historical and active presence of new methods in the field of what might here appropriately be termed “re:placing”, by which we interpret (and desire) a re-installment of community architecture and practices for autonomous life. A theme and direction which contradicts the trends (and the barrage) of technological displacement and disembodiment. Something some conference planners may have alluded to in their planning but hardly hit home. Perhaps not coincidentally and not without a small bit of branding irony a 3rd conference in the “Re:”-series will be titled Re:Live, which will head to Melbourne in 2009. The initial event titled “Refresh” took place at the Banff New Media Institute in 2005, the archives of which are here.
With gender + technology themes becoming a new front and new territory in our approach to net/tech culture, we were quite pleased to have received a copy of â€œDomain Errorsâ€ published by Autonomedia in 2003, which is full of voices from the original and expanding manifestations of the cyberfeminist perspective, which first emerged as a term in Australia in 1991 and took on a fully international scope with a forum as part of Doumenta X in 1997. To do the backround and implications full justice we will have to do a little research and come back with a review, but thus far it has already illuminated one of the more relevant and adequately equipped angles of engagement with the new media domains.