~ Queer College of Art
“Cyberfeminism circa 1991 was a hit and run, smash and grab action by white middle class cis-women for same. It could be only what it was, until it was something else, something more, something other.”1
At Ars Electronica 2017 as a part of the panel ‘From C to X: networked feminisms’, Virginia Barratt deconstructs the material, political and technological landscape that gave rise to cyberfeminism. Barratt, a member of the Australian feminist art collective the VNS matrix, credited as the founders of the term “cyberfeminism”, play a crucial part in the construction and strive towards the denaturalised, decentralised and intersectional contemporary queer feminisms.
“VNS matrix started a conversation with the futures in 1990, the futures have been speaking back to it ever since.”2
What the VNS matrix were able to effectively construct is what Paul B. Preciado might call the harnessing of one’s “potential gaudendi”, which was to go to the epicentre of gender-based oppression and turn that into the very defining element and agency of their politics, poetry, performance and writing, evident in their famous 1991 billboard stating “the clitoris is a direct line to the matrix.” In many ways it is the current technological and political conditions that allow us to engage and analyse for the first time early reactionary cyberfeminisms.
“What we were attempting to do was to open-source feminism, and the means of achieving this aim were virtual.”3
The Queer college of Art would like to thank our dear friend Virginia Barratt for allowing us access to this wonderful paper and for the effort of turning the work into written format for the use of the project.
1. Barratt, 2017
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