« September 2007 | Main | December 2007 »

November 29, 2007

A Follow-up on Cyberfeminist Forum in Berlin

As a follow-up to the Cyberfeminist Forum in Berlin, we are continuing our discussion here. This is an open forum, so all of your comments are welcome.

I am posting here our preliminary 'Locating Cyberfeminism' Panel proposal for ISEA2008 to take place in Singapore. Click here to read more:

Panel is proposed for:
Conference Themes: Locating Media:

"In the light of the centrality of location as a critical problematic
and possibility, this theme seeks to examine how the specificities of
location mediate and are mediated by both old and new technologies of
information, communication and experience. We invite academic
research, design and artistic explorations that explore the
possibilities and problems of addressing location through media
technologies. We are especially keen on works that address the complex
historical, cultural, socio-political and economic contexts that
affect location-specific interactions with such technologies." - from
the theme description "Locating Media" at http://isea2008.org/page/27/.

Panel Proposal "Locating Cyberfeminism".
Panel description:

"Locating Cyberfeminim" panel seeks to present a varied set of
cyberfeminist theories and practices by situating them within specific
political, technological and cultural contexts. While proposing papers
that address issues of cultural difference within cyberfeminist art
and aesthetics, this panel also attempts to widen the possibility of
what constitues cyberfeminism as such. It could be enabled through
being inclusive of projects, theories and practices that take place
geographically and / or conceptually outside of what could be
simplified as Western cyberfeminist trope. This trope often finds its
origins in the writings of Donna Haraway and Sadie Plant and art works
by VNS Matrix, among others. While acknowledging their immense
influence on today's discussions on women, art and technology, this
panel seeks to 'locate' them within specific histories of Western
(often white and middle-class) feminism thus opening up spaces for
other histories and genealogies which could be inlcuded as
cyberfeminist as well. Panel presentations will focus on examples from
Eastern and Central Europe (Boryana Rossa, Mare Tralla), Asia
(Margaret Tan, Irina Aristarkhova) and the US (Hyla Willis, Irina
Aristarkhova). Without dividing too neatly Western and non-Western
locations all presentations aim at contributing 'other cyberfeminisms'
as potentially revealing politics of location and histories of
cultural difference within this growing field."

Panel Presenters:
Boryana Rossa (Bulgaria, USA)
Mare Tralla (Estonia, UK)
Margaret Tan (Singapore)
Hyla Willis (USA)
Irina Aristarkhova (Russia, USA)

November 09, 2007

Nuanced Writing, Conversation and Hospitality

This letter is taken from another list (Sarai Reader list), out of context. However, its content relates to my ideas on hospitality and therefore I am re-posting it here. Hopefully, during our cyberfeminist panel in Berlin we can practise what Vivek Narayanan, through "nuanced response", calls "a certain warmth and hospitality, willingness to listen carefully, and to be considered in one's responses."

Vivek Narayanan
to S.Fatima, reader-list
More options 4:45 am (3 hours ago)

Dear Fatima,

Thank you for your nuanced and considered note. Please note again that
I am not speaking for anyone else but myself, certainly not as a "voice
of Sarai". I don't think nuance is the privilege or preserve of any
group, nor does it depend on education or decorum. Instead, it's a
certain warmth and hospitality, and a willingness to listen carefully,
and to be considered in one's responses. Essentially, it is about
coming to the conversation in good faith, with love and with
thoughtfulness-- not with the intention to sabotage dialogue or shout
down others. Most of all, if it becomes obvious that a reply has been
dashed off in a couple of seconds and, moreover, five or seven of those
replies are sent in the course of a single day, then I feel that this
wastes my time and makes it difficult to find the mails on the list that
are more carefully thought out.

So I disagree with you *completely* that such qualities would be found
only among "elites at Sarai". These are protocols that one finds with
many people on the street, regardless of their background and access to
privilege. In fact, as you well know, on the Indian street, it is often
the rich and privileged who tend to shout louder, for they fear no
reprisal. Right wing nationalists can feel secure in the knowledge that
they have the support of the state behind them. I would not be
surprised if, in monitoring this list, there would be members who would
not hesitate to report anyone they considered to be "anti-national" to
the authorities. This is the kind of insecurity that shadows our
conversations here--the question of what kinds of statements might
involve violent reprisals or legal censure, and so on; this is the
fragility of the discussions that have been built up on this list over
the course of five or so short years.

Yes indeed, one is dedicated here to the vibrancy, variousness and
quirkiness of the street--with the caveat that all our members are at
least privileged enough to have access to the internet. (Some write so
often that they must almost certainly have their own full-time dedicated
broadband.) Yet, it only takes a few goondas to suppress and drown out
all the many conversations, trying to fill the space with only their own
voices. In such instances, to renew our conversations, our whispering
faith in each other, it may be necessary to shut out the bullies for a
while. This would not be to pretend that those bullies don't exist;
merely it would be to acknowledge that they don't have anything new to
say. We have heard that shtick before.

But again: my mail was addressed only to those who already felt the same
way as me, and who wanted a practical and efficient solution. We have
very different positions on this question even at Sarai; some agree with
me, some most certainly don't. Those who have the time and energy to
stay tuned to the bullying and the threatening and the chanting of
shlokas and spells must please do so. I can even say I admire your
Gandhian equanimity. I, on the other hand, have other things to do, and
I can't afford to spend my time fighting an endless war of attrition, in
the trenches, with little or no gain from day to day, on the Line of
Discursive Control (LODC), here on the reader list.

reader-list: an open discussion list on media and the city.
Critiques & Collaborations
To subscribe: send an email to reader-list-request@sarai.net with subscribe in the subject header.
To unsubscribe: https://mail.sarai.net/mailman/listinfo/reader-list
List archive: <https://mail.sarai.net/pipermail/reader-list/>