"Though both are bound in the spiral dance, I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess." – Donna Haraway

Archive for the ‘Online Video’ Category

Upcoming Panel on Transgression, Gender Disturbance, and Feminist Sci-Fi Futures at #NWSA2014:

I am very excited to be presenting at the National Women’s Studies Association Meeting, Nov 13 – 16, 2014. Below you can find our panel description and abstracts of our individual talks.

Conference Theme: Feminist Transgressions Subtheme: Technologizing futures

Panel Title: Transgression, Gender Disturbance, and Feminist Sci-Fi Futures

Keywords: Intersectionality, Technology, New Media

Science fiction and other speculative genres engage technological imaginaries to problematize social ills and elaborate possibilities for change. Historically associated with men ─ dominated by white cis male authors and related to so-called “masculine” subjects of science and technology ─ science fiction has been troubled with colonial, sexist, and transphobic content. However,  feminist, queer, third world women, and women of color authors and artists also mobilize the conventions of the genre for critique, activism, and imagining new worlds. This panel brings together early career academics working in diverse areas of critical media and technology studies as scholars, activists, and makers. The panelists offer intersectional, queer, and transfeminist readings of literary and new media texts that emphasize their relevance to contemporary political and social issues including gender and sexual identity, neocolonial police states, reproductive rights, and others. The panel explicitly addresses the conference theme of “Feminist Trangression” by analyzing disruptive feminisms in literature, new media, and real-world activism. These texts subvert generic conventions to perform transformative critical interventions. Offering a multi-layered approach to “Technologizing Futures,” this panel examines media and genre as technologies themselves that are often used to enable but also sometimes fight against white cisgender heteronormative futurity. It explores material technologies ─ including both existing technologies/platforms (Youtube, Twitter, music videos, and video games) and imagined future technologies (robotics, androids, and clones) ─ that offer critiques of how feminist technologies can subvert and disrupt hegemonic futures. (more…)

Blinking Dresses and Robot Girls in Perfume’s Spring of Life video

Perfume 「Spring of Life」 (Teaser) – YouTube.

H/T to the Craftzine blog

This is a teaser trailer for a new song from the Japanese pop group, Perfume.

I agree with Brooklynn at Craft. This color changing dress is indeed cool. As is the song. What I find most interesting, however, is that the dress is placed on bodies that are robotic and puppet-like. So far the characters are shown in fairly passive positions, not doing much more than the Geminoid-F mannequin android about which Janet M. blogged at Fashioning Circuits last month.

It is unclear whether there will be a longer video released with the song. From this brief teaser it would seem that the portrayal of cyborg-femininity is one that is passive and devoid of power. The beats are played out in luminescence across a body that cannot even meet the gaze of the camera.

Can’t we do better than fantasies of pretty, puppet-like women in flashing dresses? To what end should a dress blink? And how can we leverage the electrified garment to challenge mainstream representations of passive femininity?

Cross-posted at Fashioning Circuits.

Hotties in the Library: YouTube’s Response to Alexandra Wallace’s Cleavage

02:52. That is all the time it takes for UCLA political science major Alexandra Wallace to alienate and offend, expose her own ignorance, and pretty much put an end to her prestigious UCLA education. Wallace accomplishes all of this in her video “Asians in the Library,” initially posted to YouTube on March 11, 2011. The video is commonly labeled a “racist rant” which suggests that she turned on her webcam and, in the heat of the moment, let the hate flow. However, there is clear evidence that someone took the time to edit the video and an article from The Sacramento Bee quotes her father as saying that she was planning to purchase a domain name to support the video’s distribution [1]. While this does not mean that the video isn’t technically a rant, it is important to recognize that this was not the rash outburst of a young woman with no sense of how the internet and publicity operate. Wallace did not assume she was safely anonymous among the noise of the Internet. Rather, if her father is to be believed, she sought publicity and intended to use the video to launch her career. In my opinion, the evidence of forethought and planning makes the video even more egregious.

What she clearly did not plan was the overwhelmingly negative response. Dreaming of a career as a video blogger, she expected neither death threats, nor the exposure of her personal information, nor to be ostracized on campus. Her official apology, printed in The Daily Bruin on March 14, indicates that if she could take the video back, she would. Questions of her sincerity aside, it is clear that the Internet remains unsatisfied. New video responses continue to appear on YouTube almost three weeks after her official apology.

As a researcher who is writing about viral structures, and an educator in a program in Emerging Media and Communication at UT Dallas, I have been watching the debacle with interest. The video provides a valuable opening to discuss ongoing issues of racism and the insufficiency of strategies of “color blindness” in U.S. culture. It is also a concrete lesson on the uncontrollable and long term consequences of our online actions.

But there is one more lesson to be gleaned from the video and the responses to it. What follows is in no way intended to condone Wallace’s ideas, nor her actions. I find her ignorant and offensive. However, I do feel compelled to focus the discussion here, if just for a very brief moment. (more…)

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