Download (Sollfrank-Warriors-Preface.pdf, 267kb)
We have to become practiced in warfare. That means nothing less than fighting for certain worlds and against others – for particular ways of living and being in the world, and not others. And this is exactly what it means to revolt. To be for certain things and against others is a sort of ‘war of the worlds’, but it is war as part of a proposition for peace, a proposition that is not without danger. […] We are still able to change things, but the time to act is short. And we will know all too soon whether there can be peace at all.
There’s no need to fear or hope, but only to look for new weapons.
Men and things exchange properties and replace one another; this is what gives technological projects their full savor.
The new planetary consciousness will have to rethink machinism.
Pick up again the long struggle against lofty and privileged abstraction. Perhaps this is the core of revolutionary process.
Die schönen Kriegerinnen. Technofeministische Praxis im 21. Jahrhundert
What relation do technology and gender have with one another? How are they mutually produced in ever new configurations? Can they even be thought of as two separate categories? And is it not necessary to bring a series of additional agents into play in order to provide a more complete picture?
This volume brings together a selection of current technofeminist positions from the fields of art and activism. Since the cyberfeminism of the 1990s, new ways of thinking and acting have proliferated, often as a reaction to new forms and dimensions of exploitation and discrimination. Issues have expanded from a purely informational dimension and its emancipatory potential into a material dimension. Questions of technology are now bound together with questions of ecology and the economy. Online and offline are no longer separate spheres but have rather become a continuum. Art may function symbolically with images, metaphors, and narratives, but it also crosses and partially obscures the limits of activism. For its part, activism is an expression of protest against technocapitalistic excess; it is an effort to pursue new tools, instruments, and places to enable common activity, common learning, and common unlearning. Despite the great variety of existing positions, there is nevertheless something that binds them together; they all negotiate gender politics with reference to technology, and they all understand their praxis as an invitation to take up their social and aesthetic interventions, to carry on, and never give up. Those involved are diverse: activists and collectives working under pseudonyms, but also artists and other producers of knowledge both within and outside of academic disciplines. Their practices are networked, but often in stratified, parallel universes of international art scenes, academic theory and research (primarily in the global North), political activism (primarily in the global South), and the techno-underground. To gather such diverse views into a single volume is to traverse many territories and cross many borders – all to pursue the possibility of thinking and acting in common.
The term technofeminism serves not only to designate these diverse practices but also – through their proximity in this book – to bring them into contact and encourage exchange. Coined in Judy Wajcman’s book of the same name,*1 the concept denotes speculative and queer positions that – both in theory and in practice – question the coded relation between gender and technology. Wajcman locates technofeminism at the intersection of science and technology studies (STS) and feminist technology studies. In particular, technofeminism is interested in examining how gender relations and the hierarchy of sexual difference influence scientific research and technological innovation and how the latter, in turn, influence the constitution of gender. Translated into technofeminist practices in everyday life, this means no less than struggling for a more just and livable world for everyone in our technoscientific culture.
Throughout, Donna Haraway looms in the background. More than thirty years ago, we learned from her that there is hardly any chance of living outside of technologies – this was not something that she lamented but, on the contrary, always understood as an opportunity. Accordingly, her feminist critique of the technosciences did not lead to an anti-scientific or technophobic attitude. Rather, it called for a more comprehensive, robust, and true science; a science with clear points of view; and a reconceptualization of science and technology to serve emancipatory ends. Haraway made essential contributions to the deconstruction of scientific knowledge as historically patriarchal, and she demonstrated that science and technology are closely linked to capitalism, militarism, colonialism, and racism. At the heart of her anti-essentialist approach lies a critique of the alleged objectivity of scientific knowledge. Instead of understanding science as disembodied truth, Haraway stresses its social aspects, including its potential to create narratives. “For Haraway,” according to Judy Wajcman, “science is culture in an unprecedented sense. Her central concern is to expose the ‘god trick,’ the dominant view of science as a rational, universal, objective, non-tropic system of knowledge.”*2 This entails questioning dichotomous categories such as science/ideology, nature/culture, mind/body, reason/emotion, objectivity/ subjectivity, human/machine, and physical/metaphysical on the basis of their inherent hierarchical functions. Especially relevant for technofeminist thinking is Haraway’s deconstruction of the “natural” as a cultural praxis. Her concept of “situated knowledge” can be regarded as a feminist epistemology that recognizes its own contingent and localized foundations as well as the contingent and localized foundations of other forms of knowledge. Haraway’s concept of the cyborg offered a concrete conceptual tool for rethinking socialist-feminist politics in the age of technosciences.*3 It became an icon for the dissolving borders between the biological and the cultural, between the human and the machine, and thus a symbol for the queerification of old dichotomies, for it was only beyond previously conceived boundaries that new forms of social and political praxis would be possible. The artificiality of corporality, the collective nature of the cyborg’s subjectivity, and its inherent politics of interconnectivity were essential inspirations for cyberfeminism.*4
The conditions of digital, networked technologies inspired the cyberfeminism of the 1990s and fuelled it to proclaim undreamt-of techno-hybrid identities and thus to evoke a new and intimate relationship between women and technology. Subsequent criticism of the dangerous essentialism of the early approaches by Sadie Plant and the VNS Matrix or of the insufficient political self-identification of the Old Boys Network fail to recognize just how effective the concept and the (political) imaginaries associated with it actually were,*5 even though (or perhaps because) it kept away from any simplistic understanding of politics but instead pulled out all the stops for queerification. There was never a cyberfeminism or the cyberfeminism but rather a multitude of feminist, techno-utopian visions from a variety of disciplines and with a wide range of content, and these visions found a platform with the Old Boys Network, where they could become visible and develop in proximity to one another.*6 After OBN discontinued its activities in 2001, there was no longer an overarching forum. The various practices retreated back to their respective contexts, which weakened their ability to reach broader audiences.
Despite the vagueness associated with it, the concept of cyberfeminism has continued to play (or is yet again playing) an important role in the search for new technofeminist approaches – be it as an object of nostalgic romanticization, as an object of critique directed toward its inconsistent political strategies, or as a historical reference to what was then a new era of combining technology and gender. Accordingly, the new wave of interest in cyberfeminism, which began around 2014, is heterogeneous as well. Alongside uncritical and nostalgic attempts to revive cyberfeminism without taking into account the techno-material and techno-political conditions that have since changed, *7 events such as the “Post-Cyberfeminist International” or the “1st <Interrupted = ‘Cyfem and Queer’>” festival have aimed to combine historical approaches with current practices and to formulate new theoretical positions on the basis of praxis. Meanwhile, an entirely independent concept of cyberfeminism has been developed in Latin America, for instance, where cyberfeminist activists have explicitly defined themselves against their theoretical precursors and have based their understanding of the term exclusively on their own practices.*8 Moreover, xenofeminism, which claims to designate a consistent political approach, can likewise be regarded as an effort to demarcate a clear position within (or perhaps away from) pluralistic cyberfeminism.*9
The new interest in cyberfeminism is a good starting point for promoting urgently needed contextualizing engagement, for comparing the historical positions of the 1990s with their current iterations, and not least for examining the potential of the concept for approaches that have yet to be developed. What can the concept of cyberfeminism still accomplish today? Can it be adjusted to today’s changed conditions, or would it be more sensible to abandon it in favor of new concepts? In any case, it is necessary when using the term to provide some indication of how it is being understood.
At any rate, the great techno-political transformations of recent decades require us to remove our cyber-glasses for a moment and look at the patch of earth where we are standing, and even though our gaze is directed toward the future, it is necessary for us to look around and see what is happening in our immediate vicinity, with other bodies, other beings, and the inorganic and organic environment. Discourses such as new materialism and queer deconstruction are working to “queer” powerful dichotomies and, by including new agents, to change our understanding of the mechanisms that shape reality. At issue is the “agency of things,” that is, the influential effects of material that, though existing outside of language and independent of human volition and behavior, encompasses human beings as material reality – and not the other way around. Queer deconstruction advances the feminist deconstruction of power relations by exposing the mechanisms of “othering” and by expanding into new areas of inquiry: gender, sex, disability, nature, non-human species, machines, the socially and globally vulnerable, and other subalterns. How is the other constructed, which “is the ideological and cultural foundation for exploitation and oppression”?*10 “Whoever helps to shatter these dualistic hierarchies and move toward complex relations and interrelations among actors is already – one could say – acting in a queer/feminist or ecofeminist manner,” writes Yvonne Volkart, who proposes the term techno-eco-feminism to convey her new theory about the interplay of ecological and technofeminist aspects. This new philosophical movement involves thinking about technology not only in conjunction with (socio-)political and cultural categories but also with material and ecological categories as well.
Although the term techno-eco-feminism, certain figures of thought associated with new materialsm, and the methods of queer deconstruction may be new, their underlying idea of creating a connection between various ecologies – environment/ ecology, the social ecology, and the mental ecology – was already present in Félix Guattari’s writings from the 1980s.*12 Among other things, Guattari’s “ecosophy” is an appeal to expand our notion of what ecologies contain and, by conceptually integrating previously separate spheres, to place something in opposition to the prevailing active and passive destruction of the environment and the “reductive approach of scientism.” Genuine transformation is not possible without understanding the inherent connections between these different spheres and without acknowledging that the construction of their separation is an instrument of power. Guattari attributed a central role to the then widely imagined potential of nascent interactive media – that is, what we would call the internet today – for he believed that they would liberate individuals from their passivity and enable new forms of collective action. The precise extent to which these new media are themselves embedded in the ideological, power-political, and material conditions that created and configured them would only come to light with their global dissemination. And it is precisely these factors that the technofeminism of the early twenty-first century had set out to examine. Just as nothing can exist outside of technology, technology itself is always permeated by the conditions of its origination.
As mentioned above, another important precursor to today’s technofeminist positions is Donna Haraway, who not only paved the way with her early works but has also, with what she abbreviates as “SF” (which can stand for both “science fiction” and “speculative feminism”), spent the last thirty years gaining intriguing and inspiring perspectives from apparently hopeless, man-made catastrophe scenarios. In her most recent books, she focuses on what she calls the “Chthulucene” to develop the idea of an age of “sympoiesis” – an era characterized by the togetherness and cooperation of multiple species (humans included) – and thus she has not only contributed to the decentering of the subject but has also supplemented certain new-materialist approaches to understanding the material world of both human and non-human “nature.”*13 Out of cyberfeminism, which has been concerned above all with the opportunities of deterritorialization and immaterialization, certain overarching, interlocking, and transversal positions have developed that are no longer content to operate simply with symbols and information in virtual space but are rather interested in integrating diverse spaces and qualities in an effort to improve life itself.
Their differences aside, what all of these new transgressive, intersectional, and integrative movements have in common is an attitude of care or concern. In many ways, they are caring, worrying, ready to take responsibility, anchored in the here and now, and on the lookout for new types of relations. While searching for answers to global and local problems, engaging in scientific research, and devising technological solutions, this attitude of care contributes to the establishment of a new form of knowledge, a knowledge that rejects objectivization and is interested not only in observations and representations but also in transformations – in forging relations with things, in being affected, and thus in changing itself and the world in a process of co-transformation.*14 Joan C. Tronto and Berenice Fischer have defined caring as “everything that we do to maintain, continue, and repair ‘our’ world so that we can live in it as well as possible. That world includes our bodies, our selves, and our environment, all of which we seek to interweave in a complex, life-sustaining web.”*15 In light of technofeminist praxis, caring requires us to understand technological webs not only as objects but also as nodes of social and political interest. It also means that we have to intervene in the production of knowledge, science, and technology.
Here, care abandons its traditional territory of reproduction and begins to enter into a relationship with the complexities of technology and technoscience – and particularly their destructive aspects. The aim is to responsibly include everyone and everything involved in the becoming of things, to expand anthropocentric politics, and thus to do justice to the material meaning of caring. For this, it is necessary to invent new connections between humans and machines, namely connections based on relationships of care and concern.
In his essay “Remaking Social Practices,” Guattari acknowledges that it can be difficult “to bring individuals out of themselves, to disengage themselves from their immediate preoccupations, in order to reflect on the present and the future of the world,”*16 and he remarks that the collective impulses to do so are lacking. The positions presented in this book are meant to provide these impulses. Each is complex in itself and linked to its own network of references, discourses, persons, and other agents. They are indicative of a diversity of (often marginalized) experiences that are reflected not least in their heterogeneous formats and writing styles. Here, by way of summary, I can only relate a few of their highlights.
Sophie Toupin describes feminist hacking as a dual expansion, though one might also call it a “double hack.” On the one hand, it adds a material dimension to traditional technofeminism, and on the other hand it expands the concept of “hacking,” which typically refers to technical categories such as software and hardware, to include “gender” as an area of application. This movement is made possible by understanding gender as technology. Gender is not thought of as something (biologically) given but rather as something that is always being renewed by the heterogeneous cultural processes that make it mutable. Proceeding from formational cultural techniques makes it is possible to steer conditions toward the production of the conditions in question, that is, toward the processes that lead to their production. The basis for this is an understanding of sex as technology, an understanding that Teresa de Lauretis (inspired by Foucault) transferred to a “technology of gender” in the mid-1980s and thus contributed in an essential manner to freeing gender from the binary conception of sexual difference, replacing difference with heterogeneity, and replacing naturally given bodies with complex political strategies for naturalization. “An understanding of gender and the human body as technology,” according to Toupin, “makes the praxis of hacking much more accessible because, for feminists, this is a more familiar point of entry.” What is essential is that feminist hacking entails a combination of technical competence, feminist principles, and socio-political engagement. Here, unlike the case in traditional hacker environments, technical competence is not something pursued for its own sake – or for the sake of recognition within the meritocratic hierarchies of hacker culture – but is rather a necessary precondition for promoting emancipatory aspects when developing or dealing with technology. Prominent feminist principles of the new hacker culture include collectivity in the form of common action, informal and formal transfers of knowledge on the basis of feminist pedagogy, and the production of visibility – and not in the sense of individual or collective positions but rather in the sense of exposing hidden mechanisms of the technological realm, of the “off-spaces” that are never in the picture and yet are constitutive for what is seen. Such things include the physical, economic, and material structures in which technologies are embedded. The foundation of this emancipatory and oppositional culture is a redefinition of the relation between online and offline spaces, which is in turn based on the production of its own new spaces and structures.
Spideralex has put together a collective document for this publication. Through her activity for the Gender and Technology Institute, which trains gender activists around the world (and primarily in the global South) in how to protect their digital, physical, and psycho-social security, she has had the opportunity to collaborate with a number of diverse groups and initiatives. For her text, she has chosen twenty-four positions that are representative of Latin-American cyberfeminism. The ideas of the groups/persons/initiatives come to expression in the form of quotations, to which Spideralex has added comments of her own. The living conditions to which the activists refer in their remarks and their descriptions of quotidian violence are shocking testaments to multiple forms of oppression: They live in postcolonial countries and have limited access to education and careers; they live in political systems without freedom of speech and thus under the influence of sinister alliances between the drug mafia, the church, government corruption, and machismo – alliances that are especially predisposed to repress women and gender activists. Although attacks have been increasing in the global North as well – both in their frequency and intensity – the manifold possibilities of digital communication seem to have strengthened Latin America’s macho culture in a particular way. Thus it is no surprise that the most important point of Spideralex’s collection is concerned with (cyber-)feminist self-defense. Above all, this means protection from violence, both online and offline. To this end, the strategies of these cyberfeminists include emotional, physical (martial arts), and technical support;*19 the provision of safer spaces for raising awareness and for common learning; and collective self-care. The terms that recur frequently throughout the texts are “solidarity,” “sorority” (sisterly love), “commonality,” and “collectivity,” concepts that sound almost pathetic from a “comfortable distance,” that is, in hyper-individualized, alienated, neoliberal, and post-capitalist industrial societies where such words are flung around as empty formulas and at best seem to appear in marketing campaigns for consumer products. Here, however, in light of the real threat to physical and mental integrity, they are once again filled with meaning. Thus this is not simply a matter of permanent struggle but of war – a war that Latin-American cyberfeminists are willing to engage in on all levels. Their understanding of cyberfeminism does not, as they repeatedly stress, derive from their artistic and academic predecessors from the global North but is rather based on their praxis alone, a praxis that has arisen first and foremost from their threatening circumstances. That said, many of their practices and the concepts associated with them exhibit a striking similarity to current academic discourses about the expanded notions of ecology and care, as in the combination of ecofeminism and technofeminism or in the economies of open access, free software, and open content. Technology is no longer thought of as a separate sphere but rather as being embedded in material and ideological means of production. More than just a reaction to circumstances, their fight will not come to an end until, with furious determination, they actualize a vision of the future full of happiness and devoid of fear. The path in that direction is not straight, however, but will involve not only reflecting on but also transforming the material conditions in which they and their actions are embedded.
A specific instrument for raising awareness of a given community’s culture of communication – of its marginalizing or discriminatory nature, for instance – is the so-called “code of conduct.” In her contribution to this book, Femke Snelting reflects on her own experiences in creating such a regulatory framework in the community of Libre Graphics Meetings, and she examines the origins, orientation, and specific features of this code in the case of certain free-software projects. Among other important things, such documents are intended to promote inclusion and diversity, prevent assault and harassment as much as possible, install conflict-resolution strategies to prevent escalations from happening, and, in specific cases of misconduct, to introduce punitive measures. When codes of conduct are treated as living documents and not simply as a way to transfer responsibility away from individuals, they can in fact counteract inappropriate and harassing behavior within the framework of a binding community, as is evident from a number of feminist hacker initiatives. The author identifies their feminist potential in the fact that working to produce such a document creates a platform for self-reflection where everyone involved learns to question his or her own behavior, to discuss and formulate common values, and to translate these values into everyday practices. This does not mean that a community will automatically become safer or more diverse – despite the existence of such codes of conduct in the world of free software, 97% of the developers are still white and male – but environments that have worked out a code of conduct have proved to be more acutely aware of (and actively opposed to) discriminatory and repressive behavior. A code of conduct can thus be seen as a sort of invitation for diversity. The area of free software is closely attuned to the power and influence of language; codes and programs, after all, are nothing but behavioral instructions, and the step of reflecting and drafting a code for one’s own behavior can of course be taken in many other areas of life as well. Especially in the case of temporary events and short-term projects, there is much need for self-reflection and for the establishment of consistent codes of conduct in order to foster safe and inviting conditions. The potential of these types of guidelines is thus far from exhausted.
In the wake of the first German publication of the “Feminist Principles of the Internet,” the activist hvale vale tells her story of working on the project and provides insight into how the document was created. The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) undertook the initiative in 2014, when it invited more than fifty activists (mainly from the global South) to Malaysia. After several meetings and a multi-year discussion process involving more than one hundred women and representatives of the queer community, seventeen principles were formulated by combining elements from the feminist human-rights movement and the internet-justice movement. The foundations of these efforts were intersectionality and the assumptions that technology and the internet are not neutral and that the internet is not a tool but rather a space in which resistance is just as necessary as it is elsewhere. The co-created document is understood to be a work in progress – as a platform and a community – and anyone interested is invited to participate in the translation and distribution of the principles (or simply to “live by them”). In addition to demanding access and economic solidarity, they also focus on promoting informational and sexual self-determination: “They [the principles] are inscribed in the digital age. They come in and out of the internet and in and out of our bodies. They stand for feelings and pleasure, but also for justice and rights.” Like every collective gesture that claims to be universally valid and yet is based on locality, embodiment, and diversity, the “Feminist Principles of the Internet” and their internal contradictions offer a productive basis for further work and further thinking.
In her text, Christina Grammatikopoulou investigates a series of contemporary art and protest phenomena, which she refers to as viral performances of gender, and she classifies these performances according to the strategies that each has employed. The projects chosen for her analysis take place either exclusively online, where they test out social media as new milieus for performative interventions, or they operate in a combination of online and offline space in order to experiment with the mutually conditioned dynamics of viral dissemination. The online performances address such themes as body positivity, sexual assault, and gender stereotyping by blurring the lines between true and false, between consent and manipulation. From her many examples, Grammatikopoulou extracts two fundamental concepts, which she refers to as “noise” and “virality.” Noise she defines as “a manipulative communication strategy […] which, through the conscious disruption or muddling of communication platforms, aims to obfuscate or falsify information or a message for its receiver or to spread false information.” The goal of the second strategy, virality, is to have content spread horizontally and as widely as possible by users themselves. For this to succeed, the content in question needs to have a certain “quality” (it may, for instance, be humorous, provocative, or simply catchy), but it also requires a feedback loop between bodies on the street and online images, which in turn attract more people onto the street. Grammatikopoulou positions all the various phenomena of contemporary feminism that she has investigated along a spatial continuum spanning from online to offline, a continuum which she refers to as “expanded space.” Her insightful classification of today’s feminisms is not, however, concerned with providing precise definitions of content, and thus the question of where and how transformations have taken place is often left unanswered. Her goal is rather to bring to light irresolvable contradictions – ambiguities between activism and noise, between empowerment and self-objectification, between consumer culture and political concerns – in order, in the end, to claim that contemporary feminism has come to be defined by precisely that: the blurring of formerly clear boundaries and relations. Thus it is no surprise that many of the concepts and strategies that she has identified are also being employed in other political circles by anti-feminists of all sorts, a fact that raises yet again the old feminist question concerning the interplay between structure and content…
In her contribution, Yvonne Volkart opens up a new dimension in the technofeminist debate. As indicated by the title of her article – “Techno-Eco-Feminism” – she attempts to integrate two antagonistic feminist approaches, ecofeminism and technofeminism, in order to create a transversal space for thinking and acting that is based on relationality and is suited to the complex situation of the Anthropocene. Proceeding from the threatening scenario of humankind’s potential extinction, Volkart describes how the concerns of early ecofeminism have been reformulated by current techno-ecological trends and how these new concerns have inpired some of the most innovative approaches to leading a participatory life in today’s “naturecultures.”*20 Although the ecofeminism of the 1970s anticipated the central postulates of the debate about today’s ecological crises, its parallel treatment of the oppression of women in the patriarchy and the exploitation of nature (and the environmental destruction associated with it) often led to essentializing statements about the social relations between nature and gender. Especially as it was practiced in the United States, ecofeminism presupposed a positive relationship between women and nature (often with reference to women’s reproductive abilities) and thus blamed men and their use of technology for the suppression and exploitation of nature. The movement thus catered to controversy, beckoned to be rejected, and fostered a generally critical and dismissive attitude toward technology. Distancing themselves from this position, European ecofeminists emphasized early on a social-constructivist understanding of gender and refrained from representing women as caring and men as destructive and exploitative. More recent queer ecologies have taken this anti-essentialism further by deconstructing the “naturalness” of biological reproduction processes and the production of life. At the heart of this critique is not only the naturalization of gender and heterosexuality; it is also concerned with developing specifically situated, “polychromatic” approaches to multispecies. Every reference to natural “givens” is cast into question. For such thinkers, “nature” is always preformed by the construction of a heteronormative gender binary, and it functions as a generalizing, compensatory, and romanticizing antithesis to the use of technology in capitalism. As Bauhardt has summarized : “The queer perspective dissolves the unfortunate amalgamation of sexuality, nature, and gender in order to negotiate the social conditions of reproduction on a new basis.”*21 Eco-techno-feminism rounds out this discourse by including technology – and techniques. As forms of biopower, capitalist technologies themselves produce life. For this reason, they can no longer be regarded, as they were in the 1970s, as instruments of liberation or oppression distinct from bodies, material, and the environment. Unsullied nature does not exist, and there is nothing that can be called “the nature” or “the technology.” Rather, there are only specific movements, sedimentations, and interrelations in the manifold constellations of technocultures, capital, and material entities. Thus it is essential to expand our perspective to include the interactions of diverse sets of agents. Materiality, which has hitherto been neglected, has come back and been identified as having its own agency and influence.*22 This act of further decentering the subject involves understanding material as living, artefactual, and relational.
Volkart develops her theory of queer-feminist, techno-ecological relationality on the basis of contemporary works of art. In doing so, she illustrates that the ways of thinking and acting associated with these works derive from a feminist tradition but that now, to the extent that they pose “questions about coexistence, about plant and animal rights, empathy and care, healing and repairing,” they have begun “to enter into dominant theoretical and artistic discourses.” Not least, this has also begun to affect everyday practices and activism. Thinking about social and ecological crises together – a process long neglected – is reflected in the desire for vitality, presence, affect, and relationality from which transformational power can emerge in the face of catastrophic scenarios.
In the final chapter, Isabel de Sena initiates a long-overdue critique of xenofeminism by taking a closer look at some of its fundamental concepts. The concept of xenofeminism, which is directly associated with the Laboria Cuboniks collective and its manifesto, is a difficult one to penetrate because of the affecting language and the high level of abstraction with which the group develops its theses. Active since 2014, and alternating between an artistic prank and a genuine political movement, the group has performed at numerous events in the art scene without yet invoking any serious objections to the content of its work, which, as de Sena demonstrates, is strongly influenced by accelerationism, in part extremely provocative, and also contrary to some of the basic principles of feminism. Here the author does what no one has done before: She takes the concepts and theses of the manifesto seriously and gets to the bottom of some of them. Although her piece is meant and formulated as just a preliminary commentary – and not as a fundamental critique – it quickly becomes clear that the many inconsistencies and contradictions festering beneath the shiny, futuristic surfaces of their arguments frustrate the xenofeminist demand for logic and reason. And not only that. Despite its many original and discussion-worthy ideas, it seems as though it would be difficult if not impossible to translate xenofeminism into a praxis of any sort. The critique formulated here hopes to instigate a dialog for the sake of transposing xenofeminism and thus making it connectable to other (techno-)feminisms of the twenty-first century.
Translated by Valentine A. Pakis
*1 Judy Wajcman, TechnoFeminism (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2004).
*2 Ibid., 83.
*3 Donna Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century,” in Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, by Haraway (New York: Routledge, 1991), 149–181.
*4 See Karin Harrasser, “Herkünfte und Milieus der Cyborg,” in Die Untoten—Life Sciences & Pulp Fiction (Hamburg: Kampnagel 2011), http://www.untot.info/65-0-Karin-Harrasser-Herkuenfte-und-Milieus-der-Cyborgs.html (accessed August 23, 2018).
*5 See Wajcman, TechnoFeminism, 63; and Helen Hester’s discussion of “political disidentification” in her essay “After the Future: n Hypotheses of Post-Cyber Feminism,” Res (June 30, 2017), http://beingres.org/2017/06/30/afterthefuture-helenhester/ (accessed August 23, 2018).
*6 See Cornelia Sollfrank, “Revisiting the Future: Cyberfeminism in the 21st Century,” in Across & Beyond: A Transmediale Reader on Post-Digital Practices, Concepts, and Institutions, ed. Ryan Bishop et al. (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2016), 228–47.
*7 See, for instance, Sonja Peteranderl, “Die Pionierinnen des Cyberfeminismus sagen den Tech-Cowboys den Kampf an,” WIRED Germany (June 2, 2015), https://www.wired.de/collection/life/das-cyberfeminismus-kollektiv-vns-matrix-macht-eine-kampfansage; and Claire L. Evans, “We Are the Future Cunt: Cyberfeminism in the 90s,” Motherboard (November 20, 2014), https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/4x37gb/we-are-the-future-cunt-cyberfeminism-in-the-90s (both articles accessed August 23, 2018).
*8 See the contribution by Spideralex in this volume.
*9 See the contribution by Isabel de Sena in this volume.
*10 Quoted from Yvonne Volkart’s article in this volume.
*12 See Félix Guattari, The Three Ecologies, trans. Ian Pindar and Paul Sutton (London: Athlone Press, 2000 [originally published in 1989]); and idem, “Remaking Social Practices,” trans. Sophie Thomas, in The Guattari Reader, ed. Gary Genosko (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), 262–72.
*13 See Donna Haraway, The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People, and Significant Otherness (Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2015); and eadem, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016).
*14 See Maria Puig de la Bellacasa, “Ein Gefüge vernachlässigter ‘Dinge’,“ in Ökologien der Sorge, ed. Tobias Bärtsch et al. (Vienna: Transversal Texts, 2017), 137–88.
*15 This definition, which Tronto and Fischer formulated together, is quoted here from Tronto’s book Moral Boundaries: A Political Argument for an Ethic of Care (New York: Routledge, 1993), 103.
*16 Guattari, “Remaking Social Practices,” 263.
*17 See Andrea Seier, Remediatisierung: Die performative Konstruktion von Gender und Medien (Berlin: LIT, 2007), 26–32.
*18 See Christina Grammatikopoulou’s contribution in this volume.
*19 See https://gendersec.tacticaltech.org/wiki/index.php/Complete_manual (accessed August 24, 2018).
*20 Coined by Donna Haraway, the term “natureculture” denotes the co-origination of nature and culture. According to Christine Bauhardt, it represents an interesting attempt “to dissolve the binary opposition of both constructs and give linguistic expression to their essential inner connection.” See Christine Bauhardt, “Feministische Ökonomie, Ökofeminismus und Queer Ecologies – Feministisch-materialistische Perspektiven auf gesellschaftliche Naturverhältnisse,” Gender Politik Online (April 2012), https://www.fuberlin.de/sites/gpo/pol_theorie/Zeitgenoessische_ansaetze/Bauhardtfemoekonomie/Bauhardt.pdf (accessed August 26, 2018).
*22 See Karen Barad’s concept of “agential realism.”