November, 2015

Hexing the Alien

HOMAGE

30 years after Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto, 18 years after Sadie Plant’s Zeros and Ones, 14 years after VNS Matrix’s Cyberfeminist manifesto, 9 years after VNS Matrix’s Bitch Mutant manifesto, 14 years after the CCRU escaped institutional lockdown, 182 years after Ada Lovelace, Enchantress of Numbers met the Difference Engine, 31 years after Molly Millions, Steppin’ Razor was ectogenetically birthed into the sprawl, 20 years since Sandy Stone donated a body part to Linda Dement’s Cyberflesh Girlmonster and made the machines restless, 10 centuries since Hildegarde von Bingen, the Sibyl of the Rhine, sang the songs of the blood in theological code, prophesy, activism, and cosmology, 11 years after Silvia Federici celebrated the resistant classes of vagabonds, paupers and witches in Caliban and the Witch, 66 years after Christine Jorgensen split atoms and became gender ground zero, 13 years after Lisa Nakamura insisted that race matters in cyberspace, 41 years after Ursula Le Guin exploded communist utopias in The Dispossessed, 31 years after Octavia Butler broke the dawn on xenogenesis, 7 centuries after Jeanne de Purcelle heard the Voices, 2 years after HER multitudinous proliferations and endless love, 3 years after Shulamith Firestone died alone, 26 centuries since Sappho scribed her mysterious agendered hexecutables on Lesbos, 21 years after Critical Art Ensemble released The Electronic Disturbance into the noosphere, 36 years after Laurie Anderson held us in her petrochemical arms, her military arms, her electronic arms. Time unknown before and since Laboria Cuboniks unleash xenocode, inestimable time before and beyond finitude, climate change hurtling us all towards a singularity the extropians didn’t imagine…

 

 

look provisional

you [don’t] see an emergent entity, eliding retinal capture, slipping between materialities, a permanently partial identity with contradictory affinities and promiscuous alliances.

 

look croneborg

you see a mud witch with feet of ash.


the alien ecto-offspring traffick in dark heretical wonderment and travel light and fast across the mesosphere bringing gifts of speculative wonder and packets of contagion.


alchemists, skin walkers and hedge-riders inscribe and dance the Ways.

 

the coterie abstracted by rational and peculiar speculations draw lines around a spectacular cryptocrystalline form.

 

fling 5 bitchcoins to trigger the hexing of capital

disturbing the oldchrome world, sending pulses into the D/Rift

 

divination through glitchcoin

using, confusing, infusing capital

a tripling of the hex

 

a dripping trickle

a trick or treating

to unbind the knots of power


summoning all our familiars,
walking backwards into the future.
now is the time for recuperating myth,
recalling the power of lewd jests and public gestures.

1991

 

VNS Matrix

VNS: corporate fauxcronym in the mode of IBM, HP and DEC. Speaking to the military-industrial complex and corporate branding of technology interests. A ludic acronym. Very Nice Sluts. Virtual Nodes of Slime. Vestibular Necronomic Strategists.
Matrix: womb: ectogenetic, non-bioreproductive,
a glitch in cartesian space, a spiralled grid.

Cyberfeminism: a catalytic moment, a collective memetic mind-virus that mobilised geek girls everywhere and unleashed the blasphemic techno-porno code that made machines pleasurable and wet.
Cybersluts: GashGirl, monstrous_gorgeous, Connie Spiros and Mistress Beg were opportunistic and irreverent fangrrls of cyberpunk and scifi,

pop culture consumers,

anti-TERF guerilla feminists,

mercenaries of slime, power hackers,

machine lovers,

forever punk,
inverts of the clean and proper body,
abject-embracing,

sex-positive/predatory,

unfaithful to the end.
Tool: cunt. decentralised network topology, logos, pleasure, speaking writing weapon.

 

VNS Matrix alchemised pornography, crystallised slime capital into manifestoed abjection, anti-reason rationality and poetic blasphemy: the “Cyberfeminist Manifesto for the 21st Century”. Here began a hyperstitional attack on the gendered regime of technological gatekeeping via ludic linguistic incursions into the new digital fortresses where machines were enslaved to the patriarchal overlords of commerce, science and educational institutions.

The manifesto was a mobile incendiary device, coming to rest, for a time,
by the generative head of a provisional female, synthesising dianoia and logos in a field of cybercunts (speaking the abyss).

Primordial, ancient and futuristic, fantastical and active, hot, wet and mind-bending,
this song of the cyborg was honouring a feminism that was multiple.

 

VNS hijacked IPs, forged a machine-viscera symbiosis, took a ride on a lynx, sang the modem song of the heart at 56 baud (on a good day) and used shameless Australian bawdiness, (unremarkable to us, but marking us), to pull the undulating checkered rug out from under the oldchrome simulacra boys.

 

Couroux says: they preach counter-hegemony but I’m hearing the language of exclusionary dogma: you’re with us or against us. fuck that shit!

 

The hyperstitional proposition became data
and the pussy posse gave birth, ectogenetically,
to all new genderation

as hyperware, vaporware,
soaking bloodied wetware…


Soundtrack: welcome to the world of all new gen

Video: A drift through the computer game Bad Code (VNS Matrix, 2007)

 

There are no gates around this data

 

Long before PRISM, MUSCULAR, TEMPORA, the Cunt Intelligence Agency (CIA) was on a mission to emancipate zeros and ones from the clutches of infocapital’s dataminers, unleashing a feminist toxoplasmosis of rage into the masculinist datascape.

 

Donna Haraway was our guide and we took her at her word.
We’d rather be cyborgs than goddesses, and so we shopped ourselves a borg or two.

VNS mobilised Haraway’s cyborg subject of political reflection and agency through a mutant family, complete with contradictions, parodic characterisations, navigating the contested zones by rational and irrational compasses, fuelled by g-slime.

G-slime never forgot the flesh.

 

 

PERVERSE AGENTS:

All New Gen

Big Daddy Mainframe

Circuit Boy (a dangerous techno bimbo)

Dr Orlon

DJ Holdin Hope

Pearl

DNA Sluts

Gene Pool Chameleons

Beg

Oracle Snatch

Princess of Slime

Dentata

Cortex Crones

Sociopathic Cyberslut

Crusty Candy

Voidoid

 

Dreads fly and Crusty Candy slimes in dripping from the primordial swamp

>Manko [to Candy] “Well I’m peeling the crust, what’s underneath?“

>Crusty Candy [to Manko] “Red throbbing flesh”

>Manko [to Candy] “And what’s between your legs?”
>Candy says “Pus and slime”

 

RDom says: VNS matrix rejected the super-idealism of Plato Republic
and its prison house of ideas, duties, redemptions, immoralities, and endless power grids.
They let loose a deep cunt without shame on the pure order of code.

Haraway’s cyborg is “a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction”. Like Paolo Freire, Haraway insists that “Liberation rests on the construction of the consciousness, the imaginative apprehension, of oppression, and so of possibility.”

 

Mirror-shading Haraway, VNS Matrix regarded the “boundary between science fiction and social reality” as “an optical illusion,” and created some hybrid creatures of fiction to perform a static glitching across quasi borders, reconstituting in the material on one side of the screen or the other, the screen being a portal, no more opaque than the skin of a river.

Into this diffuse space, the virus of the New World Disorder, All New Gen and eir brood, instantiated themselves.

We, the human carriers, bared our throats to the fangs of medusa and, intoxicated by her visionary poison, we became-incubator of worlds of words, hatcherie of entities,
ectogenetic mothers of monsters, contested agendered creatures that defied representation.

 

Caronia states that “Technology is the child of human activity, and as such is not the cause, but the obvious symptom, intermediary element and symbol of the transformation that enfolds us.”’ Each wave of technological development creates its own cyborgs and monsters.

 

The work of our monsters was to illuminate the social and political contestations around power, provoking engagements that were both discursive and playful, triggering a reflexivity that amplified impossibility and possibility simultaneously.

 

This was dirty work, re-engineering the masc-code of militarism and patri-capitalism
through shuddering, spasming somatic networked affective immaterialities.

Our viral containers insinuated and penetrated the fathers,
queering the machine in a ram raid,
disturbing inertia, becoming-lively.

 

Such an act of radical performativity, mobilised by a bunch of white girls from downunder, living on stolen land – the terra nullius, the land of no-one that the colonial fathers had plundered from the sovereign peoples in 1788 – was a discomforting move to liberal cyberfeminism which was critical of radical cyberfeminism for being privileged, essentialist, binary, reductive and not sufficiently intersectional.

 

Under the scrutiny of this liberal cyberfeminism the insufficiency of our radical perversities, the insufficiencies of our joyful ejaculations were amplified, becoming yawning generative vacuities which other murmurating feminisms sutured and rerouted.

 

In the mode of Baubo we had positioned ourselves as lewd jesters, raising our skirts in a tactical affective gesture or TAG.

 

The TAG offers a methodology to the construction of the kind of cyborg we need in an informational capitalism that is so dry we are choking on the nuclear dust of an impending apocalypse.

 

Because Temporary Affective Gestures work in an affective mode, they are much more than a call to the intellect. TAGs can encourage us to mobilise our material and imaginal selves, lifting us out of our incredible despair and miserabilism, just as Baubo coaxed lightness and laughter out of Demeter’s intense darkness.
The TAGged cyborg is “resolutely committed to partiality, irony, intimacy, and perversity … oppositional, utopian, and completely without innocence.”

 

VNS Matrix performed a hex against Capital for seven years.

 

The land and the body have again lost their magics,

and so we lie in wait for the right moment,

seeking accomplices.

 

The light is shining in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it.

 

Long after the Word became cyborg and dwelt among us, the Daughters of Fury gather at Saturn’s hexagonal polar vortex, stirring the cauldron of neoliberal nastiness as they reminisce.

Do you remember the Summer of 91,

the Autumn of 95,

the Winter of 97,

the Summer of 99?

 

That jubilant well-post-punk period of potentialities and experimental lines of flight.
Visions, conversations, collective actions drew new stitch lines

knitting together undercurrents running through zero-fault-lines

in the Global North, South, Periphery.

That decade after Thatcher catapulted Hayekian Capital to new summits.
And before coddled coder broodlings batted their google eyes at all and sundry.

 

By then centuries of maxing out on the maxim ‘property is theft’
had cemented a TransNational Class of Elite Ogres,
CEOs of World Domination, owning castles in the sky.

 

And the world became digital and dwelt inside of us.

 

From Capital’s post-Fordist intestines, arose post-Boredist subjects, clamping on, burrowing in, feeding, and feeding on, the machine, paralysis becoming symbiosis.

Countering ‘neoliberalism with all its repressive power and all its machinery of death’ must be the reconfigured ‘human being’ who has torn off ‘the clothes that resignation has woven for them and cynicism has dyed grey,’ saying to himself, to herself: ‘Enough is enough! – ¡Ya Basta!’’
This messy sprawl of rebellious subjects

(more chaotic and haphazard than the smooth surfaces that Multitude might evoke)

disrupts the flows of power
through material expressions of the carnivalesque
and persistent net behaviours.

 

We are no longer inconsolable.

 

For us, the Daughters of Fury, the speculative wings of cyberfeminism, extropianism, techno-paganism flew us through fax lines, past the front lines, into the matrix, spawning new borgs, ghosts and aliens.

 

I claim the bastards GashGirl, Doll Yoko, GenderFuckMe Baby, Liquid_Nation, Fury, as they drop their knickers, laugh, climb witches’ ladders from LambdaMOO, from websites and from email to the night realms,

 

They carve subtle fault lines into systems—ecological, biological, meteorological, epistomological, they stutter away to no-one and everyone in the grey mist that lies beyond collapse.

 

I claim the ectogenetic spawn Subject_X, Monstrous_Gorgeous, t0xic_honey, Abject Anhedonie Anomie Precious Syntactical Chaos SubjectObject, propelling relational anarchy as they mine the space between touching texts for immaterial intimacies, becoming-borderland, anomalous centrifugal spectral bodies dressed in text, overwhelmed, flooding, leaking data in an erotic lubrication.

 

For other Us-es, it was a time of gathering of spatialised movements,
when provisional subjects
strategically worked the lists
and tactically reclaimed the streets

in an alphabetised procession of uprisings, revolts and restorations.

 

You know the roll call, I know many of you borgs were there:

J18
N30
S11

and the extraordinary day of F15, 2003,
in the global uprising against the impending war on Iraq.

 

The list continues

with its companion roll-call of the dead.

 

Carlo Giuliani being perhaps the most deeply inscribed upon our collective memories, but he stands in for all other slain warriors

The images still make me weep;

masking tape roll braceleting his thin white arm

the blood, fresh vermilion

the utter aloneness of his corpse
no borg this,
but fully human in his vulnerability to bullets, to tyres,
and to the structural malice of the corporatised militarised corrupt State

 

Recall the letter by the Zapatista’s Subcomandante Marcos that Heidi Guiliani read to the massive crowd gathered in Rome on February 15th, 2003.
These words formed a spell,
whose potency has only increased in the 12 years since.

 

 

‘This war is against all humanity, against all honest men and women. For us there is but one dignified word and one conscientious action in the face of this war. The word “NO,” and the rebel action.

That is why we must say “NO” to war.
A “NO” without conditions or excuses.
A “NO” without half measures.
A “NO” untarnished by gray areas.
A “NO” with all the colors which paint the world.
A “NO” which is clear, categorical, resounding, definitive, worldwide.
Today there is a “NO” which shall weaken the powerful and strengthen the weak: the “NO” to war…
And, if the powerful wish to universalize fear through death and destruction, we must universalize the “NO”.

Because the “NO” to this war is also a “NO” to fear,

a “NO” to resignation,

a “NO” to surrender,

a “NO” to forgetting,

a “NO” to renouncing our humanity.’

 

And so should today’s cyborg be

not post-human,

nor trans-human

(again, our mantra, ‘fuck that shit!’)

 

but rather

a familiar who is many

part human, part alien

part hex, part spell?

 

Part parting partying monster

unbounded unleashed unforgiving

 

An othering machine

recuperating cybernetic serendipity
building systems for divining weaknesses in the beast

(six six six)

and othering capital

 

 

By eir shoulder, the drone familiar hovers, sensing

the tensing

of time

and geolocating the future

gazes lock on

creatures slough their particularity

and walk in the skins and casings

of other creatureness

this informatic assemblage

transmitting and receiving in a perpetual feedback loop,

call and response from the subterra and terranets to the mesosphere and beyond.

time ripples

catch a telepath on the air

blink your angel eyes and fell

a monster truck in service of the masters.

 

Now, a new cyborg, name: Hexecutable, joins the Croneborgs
as they gaze backwards into the future.

 

> Look Hexecutable

A spell, a software program, a generator of possibilities and probabilities.
A differencing engine.

It twitches as the Furies howl in unison:

 

 

Our knives are sharpened on the whetstones of slavery
Our blades are crafted from fossilised tears
Our arrow tips forged from the tiny tiny bones of butchered babies

 

 

The Daughters turn to Hexecutable, their blue tongues dripping with rage and remorse:

 

We were the future, the rising class, the cyberati.

An Us who exuded privilege,

who did not count itself amongst the ignored, the forgotten,
the dispossessed, the despised.

 

An Us whose actions and carelessness maintained hierarchies,
trampling the Invisibles in what the army of ghosts called ‘the Fourth World War’.

 

As some BodiesOrgansWithout
BOW BOW BOW
were becoming-informational,
the gluttons spotted new prizes to steal.

 

They identified all that was immanent to Capital’s acceleration and virtualisation,
and either expropriated or subsumed all wild remnants.

 

nano aliens trade on cellular information
feed on mossbodies harvesting wild yeasts

from rarefied hinterland air

with local inflections
treechangers flee the city, recede, grow dank warm skins of green velvet, nodal,

make a matted earth body. drink the mother, the kool-aid of awakened consciousness.
seed the mycelial networks of impossible retreat.
rapture never comes.

deranged hippy nodes make lovely compost for co-option…

while you are sleeping the uplink activates, the market streams through your dreams, your flickering REM eyes flood the dark pools with encrypted instructions and rumourware.

the mushrooms glow at night.

and

S E N D

the traffic is dense in the pulse


the body is a diffuse cypherspace.

insert spaciously like a velvet matrix.
tenderly, information!

 

as capital intensified its plunder of biolabour and bioinformatics

the capital-augmented body digests its master’s tools
hijacks the opaque circuitry of exchange

burning fascial walls, doubling down, skimming intel scum

leaping faith to connect across and via the privateered platforms

The familiar drone tenderly desires the contagion.
And thus it came to pass that the ogres and their minions
hunted out blooms of creativity, and anarchic ludic impulses,
not to kill, but to capture or denature them,

feasting on babies.
Capital made a slick if fickle lover, charming and bribing as it colonised.

Dot.comming through the millennial changeover,
its sterile ordering regimes applying threats and force

when seduction failed.

The ogres crashed through externalities
soaking their coarse skins with neoliberal regulatory salves
and breathing the fresh air of public bailouts.

 

In response, Hexecutable runs Napoleon:

 

In the occupation of Capital
the principal points must be occupied,
and from there mobile columns must move out
to pursue brigands.

 

The Daughters of Fury shrug their spiny shoulders, and continue:

Resistance now requires a different plane of operation.

We must occupy ourselves,
but not in that obnoxious sense
of keeping ourselves busy with meaningless make-work.

 

Rather we must ‘come to our senses’
find accomplices
‘reclaim the night’
restore magics to the land and the body
and hex Capital.

 

Is this the lonely labour of Sisyphus?
Or must we become-swarm?

 

Dance that bee-dance,

build, test, risk, fail,

regroup, rebuild, run again.

 

Hexecutable twitches, triggering another call, this time The Invisible Committee:

It is not “the people” that produces the insurrection,
it is the insurrection that produces its people
by sparking off common experience and intelligence,
the human fabric, and the real life language that had disappeared.

 

The Furies respond:
But a revolutionary class needs to be built, as well as found.
Info-orders are breaking down, leaking, mutating, and cross-contaminating.

Direct experimentation, not representation, is required.

We need more roots, less aerials.

Machines must be deserted, de-instrumentalised, defaced.

 

Skinwalking through melting permafrosts and frakked wastelands,
not to Utopia,
but to Ectopia.
the invitation is clear. bodies appearing on the manifest need more than this
to write a lovesong for the future, or a dirge. here is the blueprint for ingress.

the warm machine awaits your intention.

do not despair.

despair

come inside and make monsters in the boardroom

the great unwashed bring feathers and dreads into the towers of greed.

they have feet for shoes and skin for suits.

they fuck on the polished wood. and snarl when they come.

this one nicks the skin, makes a raw site. It is an irritation, and there is rushing to the site, there is rushing and then some repair, beneath surfaces. But the irritant is already making nacre.

this one takes the knife, slices open the belly.

it’s warm In there, and comfortable in the suits of men, dressed up in viscera, passing.

chant, chant for the plant

chant for the implant

the plant of reason

the reason of reason

the gold of gold

the land of land

the coal of coal

the bodies in the wounded place

the gash of the gash

the machine of the machine.


In time, dead deterritorialisation spaciously becomes capital

Why does the abyss work?

In time, diffuse desolation spaciously becomes alien

Become tenderly like a xeno cryptocrystalline.

 

The Furies chant and growl as they tend the cauldron:

 

Your hearts are in our mouths.

Your livers are under our feet.

Your intestines are garlanded through our hair.

Your kidneys we throw to the dogs

 

Informational Capitalism has constructed a ‘physically divided and dissipated’ labour force,

‘unstable…underpaid…subordinate,’

the ‘contemporary form of slavery’.

 

The precariat:
Chain workers

Care workers

Code workers

Sex workers

A World Wide Hive of flexible feminised casualised worker bees.
Two things about bees.

They divide and rise up in swarms. And they are excellent dancers.

 

Unlike bees however,

with their biologically programmed labour roles and social positions,

these creatures, Caronia’s post-Fordist cyborgs,

‘have every interest in overturning the logic of this process in using the relationship with machines’

 

to free themselves.

 

We can see industrialisation’s cyborg imaginary in the 1939 Chicago World Fair hit, the robot Elektro, accompanied by his dog familiar Sparko.
The pair could perform simple tasks: Elektro walked, smoked and obeyed basic voice commands; Sparko barked and begged. In short, they made the perfect obedient Fordist couple.

In 1960 Elektro shapeshifted into Thinko, and starred in the Hollywood comedy,
Sex Kittens Go to College.

This morph, as temporary as a henna tattoo on a hen’s night, prefigured the post-Fordian cyborg chained to the edu-factory:
Upskilled, dumbed down, ever-fuckable, and perpetually in debt.

Sparko remains at large.

Perhaps she made it to Ectopia.
Back to the future, we apprehend the Prime Borg, All New Gen, a blasphemous trinity of contagion, designed to infiltrate maximally the interstitial spaces of Big Daddy’s Mainframe. Gen shapeshifted between three morphologies: computer virus, biological virus and an intelligent mist. As the proGENitor of the new world disorder, Gen was a product of her times, emerging just one decade after the first clinical observation of AIDS, five years after the discovery of its cause, the ‘novel retrovirus’ HIV, and seven years after a computer scientist used the term ‘virus’ to describe a self-reproducing program in a computer system. The intelligence mist morph billowed out of an idea seeded in 1959 by Kurt Vonnegut who referred to a cloud “that does all the heavy thinking for everybody”. Commercial applications of this amorphous concept took off post-2YK.

 

What three morphologies would best suit a cyborg designed for the opportunistic exploitation of today’s more deeply informatised and globally networked capitalism? We must craft them to milk info-capitalism’s inherent contradictions. Contradictions that expose, and trigger, cascading states of collapse within its countless (dis)ordering regimes (“bend its limits and expose its bugs”). We hasten to put peak capital to bed, so we can dream new dreams of the imp-imp-(im)possible. Create clouds of TAGs, unleashing murmurating metadata-corrupting exploits.
One:

The anomalous wave that characterises the past few years of student mobilisations against the corporatised managerialised sterile thing that passes for education (AKA the edu-factory) inspires our first morph – the vibration,

producing viborg.

Viborg howls discordant odes to the anthropocene. Call and response, call and response. Each note a tremor, each verse a shudder, each song sending a new identity bladerunning throughout capitalism’s necrotic body, hastening the rot. Viborg. Replicunt. One becomes many, destabilising old assets, exposing scandalous legitimacy crises on every front, unsettling meanings, opening (w)holes, inciting social transformations, democratising resources, replenishing the common. In this manner does Viborg play its part in fuelling the conflagration of late capitalism.

 

Two:

in the company of strangers

we design and cast confounding patterns of letters and numbers,

coaxing magic from the besieged forests, mountains, deserts, reefs and clouds
to bring us our second borg, hexborg.

A spell, a set of recursive instructions, a hexecutable progam.

Gleaner of forgotten botanical knowledges, keeper of seeds, wildcrafter.

Probability GENerator.

Différance Engine.

Hiding, seeking, always becoming.

key to the 0x4B1D ways
a trap, a flag, a lure for a RAT or a phish for an eye.

 

Three:

the warm machine awaits your intention.
intention=inflection=infection
ANG virus redux
The memetic affective zone of the ecobattlegrounds furcate and spiral outwards from multiple campfires that never ever go out, only ignite more campfires from sparks carried on bark across timespace, bearing intention. each distributed centre galvanises a hyper-cathexis of resistance (not a catharsis of release) an unpredictable coalition of renegade nodes, networking a hydra, yawning mouths baring dirty infectious teeth that can break the skin-border between labour and capital, insert a mutant hack and monster the machine. infocapital in its urgent search for richness interferes with, colonises, fracks/hacks, piercing the skin of the earth and in doing so pierces the skin of the first nations people, so the earth turns back, trembles, regurgitates, rises up.

 

a (hyper)hektic cathexis, cathektic, produces cathekborg

a charged occupation across sites, distributed centres, driven by affect, ignited by desire.

 

These three borgs we gift you

(the you that is us),

 

viborg

hexborg

cathekborg

 

As victory is only ever temporary

hexing capital must continue

until the stars are uncoupled from the kingly realms

and the swans take up residence in the castles

 

then, and only then

shall we rise up singing!

 


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Context and References

CYBORG: Hacktivists, Freaks and Hybrid Uprisings

Second Event of the Disruption Network Lab, Berlin, in cooperation with Kunstraum Kreuzberg /Bethanien, 29-30 May 2015.

Keynote: Hexing the Alien

Saturday, May 30, 2015 • 16:15-17:30

Francesca Da Rimini /Doll Yoko (artist and cyberfeminist, AU), and Virginia Barratt (artist, performer and cyberfeminist, AU), moderated by Magdalena Freudenschuss  (gender theory researcher, DE).

Abstract

From VNS Matrix, Gashgirl, Doll Yoko, to aliens, cyborgs, provisional subjects and “monster mash”, Francesca Da Rimini and Virginia Barratt reflect on what “cybernetic organisms” mean today, when we experience hybrid conditions of being, our blood and flesh intertwined with big data, intrusive technospaces, and increasing domains of surveillance. As Donna Haraway stated years ago in her Cyborg Manifesto, the cyborg was described as a subject of political reflection and agency on the development of culture and society, where technology, and its strict relation with the body, assumed a crucial role. This perspective was an input for imagining new situated subjectivities mediated by technology, inspiring many theorists, feminists, artists, hackers and critical thinkers. But what does it mean to speak about the cyborg as situated subjectivity today? If as Antonio Caronia wrote, we are all aliens and precarious, becoming the simulacra of the contemporary, can our body still be a metaphor of the possible? Which new practices and interventions can be imagined as agency towards power structures?
Sound track:

Welcome to the world of All New Gen (VNS Matrix)
Icesongs (Virginia Barratt)
Angels, demons (from Sounds for an Empty Dollspace by Tiny K)

 

Video:
Bad Code (VNS Matrix 2007)
Untitled, Virginia Barratt
Textual sources:
Donna Haraway, The Invisible Committee, Marc Couroux, Ricardo Dominguez, Napoleon Bonaparte (trans. Keith Sanborn)
Cover Image:

Photograph of Bentley Peace Angel by Maria Cameron
Artwork by Virginia Barratt

Thanks:

Tatiana Bazzichelli, Daniela Silvestrin, Kim Voss, Magdalena Freudenschuss, Frances D’ath

 

Web:

Disruption Network Lab
CYBORG documentation

[/su_note]

Francesca da Rimini

Francesca da Rimini is an artist, film maker and writer who investigates the poetic, political and social potentials of internet-enabled communication, peer-to-peer cultures, cyberfeminism, 'madness' and (tel)embodied erotic experiences. Early net projects include GashGirl, Flesh Meat and the award-winning labyrinth dollspace. As a member of the cyberfeminist art collective VNS Matrix, she contributed to numerous works that have been virally mutating since 1991. She is co-author of Disorder and the Disinformation Society: the Social Dynamics of Information, Networks and Software (Routledge 2015). Francesca is an Honorary Associate in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Technology Sydney, and has an experimental novella bubbling away in her cauldron. http://gashgirl.sysx.org

 

Virginia Barratt

Virginia Barratt (ex-VNS Matrix and slime-syster) is a doctoral candidate at the University of Western Sydney. Her research topic is panic, engaging tensions between ontological security and ontological meltdown. Experimental poetics, performance and sonics are her modalities. Her published work can be found in TEXT journal, coastines, banquet press and other anthologies. Her work is forthcoming from Stein and Wilde and Writing from Below.