Hey everybody, I don't really know if this has any place in this Ecological Imaginings class, but maybe if we can imagine the preservation of women to be a form of ecology, not unlike the preservation of all plant life, animal life.
I just wanted to call everyone's attention to this excellent documentary currently being shown on PBS on Mon & Tues nights at 9:00 PM. I imagine you guys have lots of time to watch films, yeah! But this is an amazing series.
"Half the Sky" about gender based violence.
Here's the link to the first & second segment:
[just speak nearby the borders of our minds] <-- link
This is a piece about borders. About communities. About movement and restrictions and ideologies. I wanted to interrogate how feminism is at times bounded by qualifiers, that is, to differentiate between French feminism and Third-World Feminism, and the ways in which those are both appropriate and constructed such that the result is constructed identities viewed as essential.
Among artists in the 20th and 21st century, explicit reference to prior works has become a mode of producing pieces. This may be in the form of collage or pastiche of some kind, and in video art, it is typically through found footage that these references can be made. Video Artists like Dara Birnbaum have spoken on the power of reappropriating footage, specifically, in her case, from popular media sources, but some of the logic remains in what I have done. Birnbaum wanted the agency to engage with the images being presented to her, to take ownership and subvert their meanings to create new meaning, asserting that she wanted to “talk back” to the media. Further, she asserts:
Initially, I thought about feminism across different geographic locations as global feminism, as a feminism rooted in nations, defined and given flavor by the nation as a whole. That is, thinking about American feminism and Indian feminism and Ghanaian feminism and French Feminism. But then, that is SO American-centric of me. When I try to think of a certain American feminism, it’s impossible. Just to think of Bryn Mawr feminism strikes me as impossible. And I’m not trying to suggest that we’re all special feminist snowflakes, or that there is not sense of shared feminist thought or identity. But our shorthand, our labeling of feminisms as rooted in some national identity/location/region can have the possibility of flattening and erasing nuance from how feminists express themselves in a variety of contexts.
For our final performance, my group created an online chat room about sex robots in which each of us took on anonymous personas. We participated in the chat from separate locations, and only one member (the one who created the chat room) knew who each of us were. This was both a fun and frustrating process. First of all, it made me realize the inefficiency of technology. I thought that creating my screen name and logging in to the chat would take but a few minutes. I was wrong. I had to have at least three people help me create an account, download the correct program, and figure out how to connect to the chat. Technology was not working for me. Because I have a Mac, I had to download a specific type of AIM, which then didn't seem to work with other members.
After watching the film Teknolust, I thought back to my first web paper that addressed the idea of humanizing technology. In this paper I discussed the cyborg and the future of gender in robotics; I looked at various types of robot technology and the attribution of gender/ human characteristics to these technologies. I claimed that, "the more we actively interact with technology, the more desire there seems to be to humanize it--to make it not only an extension of ourselves, but to recreate what it means to be 'human' altogether." Thinking about this paper and these technologies in relation to Teknolust, I began wondering what it is about humans that makes us want to create things that look like us.
In Anne Dalke’s discussion section, we talked about the last paragraph of The Plague in relation to what we’ve read so far. Many people in the class saw the last sentence as challenging our agency. People seemed troubled by the idea that, no matter what we do, the rats will rise up again – randomly, unpredictably, and inevitably. So what do we do? How do we create things and feel good if we think that no matter what we do, bad things are going to keep happening?