Josephine Bosma on Mon, 27 Oct 1997 21:52:59 +0100 (MET)

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<nettime> Superfem Avatars: Margarete Jahrmann

'interview' with Margarete Jahrmann, made in Kassel, the first
weekend of the Cyberfeminist International. Between >>'s you find quotes
from her workshop proposal. She gave her workshop September the 21st,
in Hybrid Workspace, where the CFI was gathering.

JB: Can you tell me about the workshop you gave here ?

Margarete Jahrmann: The working title is "Superfem avatars". It is
meant as a call or task for concrete collaboration and female
conspiracy. The topic was focussing on the digital selfrepresentation
of online women and of databodies. There are different ideas that should
come out of these very abstract sounding things, that are very concrete.
We were looking together at images of women that are shown by silicon
industry. This is real cybersex, uploaded bodies. We were looking at
sex-sites, what their live video streaming looks like and how women are
represented by this male seeing-machine. This is a certain industry image,
the image woman cannot really identify with. It is important that we
take place inside this structure, and make our own ideas, what we would
like to see. For this we first have to make the definition of what
female is.

>As grrl being interested also in technical Standards of netculture, like
>VRML2.0, the so called "human face of the 3rd web", you are permanently
>confronted with specific ways of the representation of the female (body)
in the 3D web. Analog 1:1 copies and cloned Marilyns (for sexual use?)
make the field.<

Maybe it works via sex best, to consider what we would like to consider
as sexy images, as sexy ideas, also in data-space, the other way around.
I was distributing and giving out ascii images of boys that I made.
This was for inspiration for "Superfem avatars". Just as a sort of

This second part was about ascii-images of naked men I made
to heat up of the discussion in Kassel..., so it was about languages.
I think there should be codesses instead of goddesses.
You should really take part in the coding as well. Every text and
texture of the net is built by these languages, programming languages,
crypting languages. If we take part in this we can give a certain
definition of these scripts, a certain feel how it is made and how it is
transporting ideology.
Every language you are forced to use is limiting you. For me it is a
bit of a limitation if I speak english, and so if you have to use these
programming codes, you have to deal with a certain male conspiracy-
structure, I would say. We should try to make interventions in it.

>New formats for the Sexual Persona, that can be built up also by a
number of participants and is not just centered on the reflection of
the self, of one identity can be considered. In concete terms a
collective sexual persona could be visioned and as follow up be made.
Proposal: lets conspire in such an experimental set on Cysex and

I was showing examples of the Unixtexture VRML world on I made this summer. This was giving some abstract
databodies. (I showed this in a videoprojection.)
You can go through a body and on the surface you see all the personal
log-files. This is re-coding the system of how you are supervised in
the net. Everything is re-coded in log-files or trace-routes and you
see them on the surface of this object. It is an idea of sexy images
too which is in contrast to these upload- videoimages we see in the
sex-industries, an idea which is in contrast to this abstract databody.

Interestingly Claudia Reicher, who was taking part in the workshop,
was saying to me that this text surface was very sexy and attractive
to her, because it had some fluidity and liquidity. I was very happy
we could associate with other ideas also. It should go into the
direction where we find other images.

The second part of the workshop was that I asked what terms we can use.
There is the idea of coyote-feminism I mentioned. Coyote is an Indian
term, which Donna Harraway also introduced in some of her writing.
It is a very tricky creature. Not always honest. Somehow it goes in
between the structures. This is one point that is proposed for females
to take in data-space. I would take as image that we can deal with
technoscience in that way: we somehow get into it and develop from
users into spies and then even to super-users, to create our own things.
It has some divinity in its definition. This gives the link to avatar.
Avatar - literally taken, in the meaning, source of the word - means an
incarnation....Taking off from this I talked about the phenomenon of
cybermysthicism and terms, often used in cyberfeminist surroundings and
dataspace, f.ex. by Sandy stone: goddesses of cyberspace.
Donna Haraway  prefers cyborgs over goddesses f.ex. I was asking in whose
interest it is, to tell us, that these phenomenons of cyberspace are
mysthicism and WORTH to pray at (probably the multinational industrial
softwaretrusts). ..Therefore we also should reflect critically which
metaphors the main theorists and writers are using.

>Avatar, as representation and incarnation of goddess links to the
next cyfem term of cymystizism. Who wants to make us believe in the
devinity of dataspace? Theorists or industry?
(Gendercrossing in Habitat is taken over from beginning on by a
Yakuzy family.)<

Science fiction terms are like cyberfeminism terms very often, playing
with words.

>Lots of nettheory is more concret poetry.  SciFi and CyFe are
working with same terms. But digital reality is concerned in the
fe/mail case, so we have to clear, what we are meaning, when talking
more concrete.<

I tried to show where it could all lead. I was switching from these
abstract vrml worlds I made on, with w, like
in worm, to Debra Solomon, who made a live broadcast with cu-seeme from
the presentation here at the hybrid workspace. Her work is symbolic for
what I wanted to initiate. Some women are really taking active positions.
Maybe we can do a follow up at the next Cyberfeminist International,
where we can really create something together. This I would love most.
I hope I can go on as, via email, to communicate
with YOU.

JB: You are talking now about creating new things, about creating new
languages, new spaces even maybe. When I read your text, it seemed to
me very much like you were also feeling like disrupting the allready
existing languages and spaces that were created by males mostly. Is
that also on your mind?

Margarete Jahrmann: Yes, sure. We cannot build up a complete network
of our own, or internet or electronic intranet. We can, but it wouldn't
make any sense. It would remain a getto which has a different electronic
standard then the electronic realities. So my idea is a bit in this
coyote direction that I mentioned, that we have to deal with the
existing male technical standards, but try to do it in a subversive,
mannerist way. This we can express best maybe with some visual or
materializing projects, that makes these structures it has somehow for
us possible to experience. This is an idea you mention from me, yes:
I wouldn't say creating something new is the solution, because nobody
would be able to de-code it, or to enter it. Creating new, using the
existing parts and give certain abuses, that are not intentionally
sought by the set up networks now, is what I aim for.

>Reflections for superfem avatars:

1. Testing of terminologies (Avatar, Coyotefeminism, sel(ves)
representations, possible forms of representations for personal/natural
Datasets, Online Persona, Sexual Personae)
2. checking possible models for femail digital selfrepresentation, how
the databody can be represented
3. common Codes/esses (technical standards)
4. desires
5. online examples of female datasets/avatars
6. comparision with the industrial images of woman (male seeingmachine
pornografy) on the female databody
7. Is Mr Data sexy? Cyborgsex? Which images/data do we want to see for
our pleasure, what female online porn would be interesting?

(*)(*) <


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