Not Signed-In
Which clippings match Bindni Karia's concept of 'Representation' pg.62 of 85
17 NOVEMBER 2008

Women's Places and Spaces: gender and spatiality in virtual worlds

"There have been several attempts by feminists to characterize cyberspace. In their article 'The Place of the Letter: An Epistolary Exchange,' Angelika Bammer, Minrose Gwin, Cindi Katz, and Elizabeth Meese compare cyberspace to literary space: 'The page of a book, like the computer screen, is a frontier through which we enter a nonspace space, the space that isn't 'really' there. It is a safe space, which the actual, material spaces in which many people live is not.' [1] The literary metaphor is inadequate here because it does not account for real–world consequences realized in cyberspace. In the one–dimensional space of a book's text, for example, the reader cannot physically interact with the text or 'enact' through the text. In cyberspace and in real space, however, actions taking place in networks have very real impacts on human beings through multi–user interaction and even, say, e–commerce. Many people can lurk and/or interact online, and harassment frequently occurs when users identify themselves as fem ale. A host of other violent acts are discussed or threatened. [2] Thus, the idea of cyberspace as a safe haven for women equal to that of the book has not been realized. [3] In online worlds, sites can be navigated in many directions and orders, breaking the prescripted order and scalable world of the book. These essential differences help define cyberspace apart from literature as a 'nonspace space,' and also go beyond early forms of electronic hypertext in the multidirectional and multi–user aspects. Elizabeth Grosz has also explored the philosophical and ethical attributes of the space of cyberspace. In her assessment of concepts of space in discourse and their possible relationship to architecture and other 'texts,' she notes that texts could 'be read, used, as modes of effectivity and action which, at their best, scatter thoughts and images into different linkages or new alignments without necessarily destroying their materiality.' [4] To apply this line of thinking to cyberspace, one must think of digi tally rendered space as distinct from Western conceptions of space as geographic, as gravity–bound.

One cannot seem to avoid using metaphors of space to describe computer activities. Even the term cyberspace renders an absolute connection, associating digital experiences with spatial descriptors. And more broadly, in daily life as well as in feminist discourse, there has been an adoption of such spatial metaphors in language. [5] Examples include 'working at the margins' at the 'site' of one, singular point, and suggesting that 'recentering' is a way to critique status quo tropes; these refer to space as a place for strategic and political action, Furthermore, even programming languages suggest spatialization as an operating mode within code. For example, we ask in the Basic language for the computer to 'run' (not process); other commands include 'goto' and 'get' or, in Lingo, 'put' or 'place' (rather than compute, display, or calculate input). Such descriptions using the language of geography must be carefully considered given linguistic ties to a historic use of geography as a site of male power. Women i n the sciences and in the arts investigate space in different ways using categories that may vary from the traditions in their fields. This is problematic in the examination of VR in several ways: first, women haven't historically been privileged to define fields such as geography or architecture; and second, women have not been the primary designers of the computational architecture of virtual spaces."
(Mary Flanagan)

TAGS

Bammer • communicationconstructioncyberspaceElizabeth Groszenvironmentgendergravity • Gwin • information architectureinteractive media • Katz • materiality • Meese • metaphornarrative • nonspace • spacestructuretechnologyvirtual spacevisual design

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
16 NOVEMBER 2008

FOB Mixtape

In April 2008, FOB Mixtape brought their music to the Australian public in their first live show at Federation Square in Melbourne. Armed with 'music with a difference' but a modest budget, FOB Mixtape used the social networking website, MySpace to garner support and interest in their show. The band members created a promotional video and viral marketing: digital promotional strategies that are increasingly used by emerging and established artists to engage instantly with large audiences, without huge overheads. FOB Mixtape is an Australian hiphop group with a social conscience and their music aims to challenge racial stereotypes of Asian migrants in Australia. FOB Mixtape draw on their experiences as second generation migrants to write humorous lyrics such as 'I ain't the type of guy that you're used to seeing, the human being that's a few between a gook and a European'. The group takes a tongue and cheek look at the plight of being labelled an 'Asian' in Australia today, as seen in the group's name FOB Mixtape or 'Fresh Off the Boat'', which is immigrant slang used to describe newly arrived migrants. Recently featured on the SBS series mY Generation, FOB Mixtape can be seen as typical of Generation Y's expressing themselves through digitally sampled music, their ease with using online marketing – all of which was created in the basement of one of their parent's home. This experience of FOB Mixtape is an example of a new form of civic engagement that uses everyday, digital technologies to address some of the racial intolerances that exist in the culturally diverse societies of Australia today.

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CONTRIBUTOR

Mia Thornton
16 NOVEMBER 2008

Peter Kennard: photomontage activist

"Peter Kennard has spent most of his life in London, and has been considerably more involved than most in the capital's political gatherings during the last 25 years.
...
His two major subjects quickly emerged: armaments and poverty. This was the early eighties with 3 million unemployed, Thatcher in her first term girding her loins for the Falklands War, and the CND at the height of its popularity. Kennard had an audience.
...

'The point of my work is to use easily accessible iconic images, but to render them unacceptable. To break down the image of the all–powerful missile....after breaking them, to show new possibilities emerging in the cracks and splintered fragments of the old reality.'

His belief at this time was that photomontage had the power to show the causes rather than the results. In recent times however, he seems to have had his doubts: 'There is a problem with montage in that you see it everywhere now because of digital technology. There is so much transformed imagery around that people accept constructed images without questioning their meaning. I think my work was losing impact because of that.'"
(David Palmer)

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TAGS

activismart • CND • culture jammingcut and paste • Falklands War • guerrilla tacticsMargaret Thatcherparody • Peter Kennard • photographyphotomontagepolitical satirepoliticspropagandare-purposeridiculetacticTony BlairUK

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
16 NOVEMBER 2008

John Heartfield

[Short extract from America's Ovation TV on pioneering photomontage activist John Heartfield.]

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
16 NOVEMBER 2008

Guerilla Gardening: revitalising urban spaces

"Guerilla gardening has been given its name because it's not about going through tonnes of red tape to ask the Government permission to do something with the land they've ignored or forgotten about. Guerilla gardening is about taking matters into your own hands to make your surroundings a better place to live.

As a guerilla gardener you can be part of a fully–fledged green army taking on mighty battles with the city landscape, or a lone warrior of peace making small changes here and there. You can bring green to the urban desert in a full–scale or small–scale way. You can grow a seed in a pot at home then replant it somewhere in your city, or you can join a guerilla gardening association (there are loads around) and take over a bit of wasteground, turning it into a living green community space."
(Magda Knight)

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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