1997-1998 - Manifesto no. 372 do x - Ulrike Bergermann
inspired by the women of the FACES-mailing list a message from your femalien from inner space no. 68
Dear Ladies and Gentleladies,
welcome to the most Hybrid Workspace this planet has ever evolved! Hybrid has two meanings: first, the bastardization of areas, their sexual crossing, interbreeding, cross-breeding, mongrel-making. Secondly: being arrogant, exaggerated, daring, presumptuous, bold. So be welcomed... to adaring crossing of terms and beings.
1. FEMINISM has always been a cyborg, a notion that links rules and orientation (that is, cybernetics) to flesh and material (that is, bodies) in a way that is not considered to be natural -- but that questions the so-called natural.
We are org, organized organisms, because we is language, and that' s how we pervaded you. The invasion started a long time ago -- your mother tongue invaded you as a baby -- writing always gets in your eyes, invented in matriarchal cultures long before the Egypt signs.
No, it is not the future of feminism that lies in cyborgs, cyberspace or cyberanything. Feminism itself has always been a cyborg, living in an alien space like the astronauts in the 1960s cosmos (where the term came up). Feminism is a tactique to move a matrix, a technique that links technique to a body, a body that links the body to technique: woman is the name for a specifically gendered body and at the same time the name for a kind of sign processing.
And feminism is what questions sentences beginning with *xy is...*. Feminism is the name of a strategy that tries to avoid essentialist terms but does not avoid using these terms, aiming at a non-essentialist mode.
Media theory and feminist activism both have to deal with the question of representation (how do words in a definition represent content, how do political subjects represent themselves, or: how representational structures are ahead of any content...). So there can be no such thing as a definition, not even communication about it, not even thinking about it, without the question of translating content into words or other signs, rather: questioning of this linear model of translation, of what is supposed to be translation of something previous (like the so-called real life) that may indeed be before (I am a word).
Now you see why *Feminism is a Cyborg*, the linking of technique and material, language. I am a word because Each component (of a body as well as of language) can be linked or wired to any other, if there is a code that enables the exchange of signals in a common way (Donna Haraway), because Gender is electronic text (Sadie Plant), because of the Cyborg: She is a hypertext, not readable in a linear way, without end or beginning (Katherine Hayles).
2. Feminism is about signs.
Feminism is the potential to understand. Not because of women being so understanding and understandable. Feminism is the potential(ity) of word processing. Understanding means: to understand differently. Differences are the condition of any communication, because it enables to tell one sign from the other. Meaning is based on difference, and we are going to give some very different meaning to you.
You may consider feminism as the activity eg. of the web, of the work caused by TCP/IP, as a translating and transporting process - but not in an essentialist sense, based on considerations of multitasking or breeding like: Women have always been busy in the household managing parallel tasks, or: Women as mothers are naturally suited for creating, producing..., because this way *woman* would remain the product of biological and social norms, defined by the old categories, instead of deconstructing them.
There are such things like women's issues: because the internet is made of words, and that's why the feminist theoretical tradition of considering the making of words, meaning, text or hypertext finds a space here that is different from everyday life (while of course everyday life can also been described as a product of symbolic structures). A medium that consists of different codes (letters, HTML codes, bits and bytes, down to the positive or negative voltage of disk and wire segments) is mostly apparent to be worked in + on when it comes to the topic of codes (codes that make up women: make up/no make up, clothes, children/no children, woman/weman/ wiman/waman...).
Feminism is the name of a processing model and a practice, of an ideology as well as of a new way of linking signs, combining notions, understanding the world. That does not mean that any given subject only must acquire the right intention to join in. This is not about subjects and intentions. Not about genitals either, but on the cultural effects of genitals as words or social systems.
It focuses on questioning centers like the self. It does not focus at all but deconstructs the metaphoricities inherent in the systems by using them upon themselves.
So that cyberfeminism is a figure: a model of how sign processing works (which is political: politics consist of signs), a corpse of discourses, a shape of things to come (see illustrations).*Weibliches als Verfahren*, femininity as processing (as proposed by Marianne Schuller and Eva Meyer) aimes to work on the process of the creation of meaning in text, yet referring from this apparently formal side to what is called content by naming a certain practice with the word feminine, so that the duality of form and content becomes doubtful. Woman is an effect of word processing. Woman effects word processing.
3. DO THE X In these sentences, you are asked to keep on writing the body sign of female genes: X X X.
Do not use the old DOS command to delete (d), do not d the x. You might want to delete the y chromosome. Then x-ray and cross out the delete order. Signs can be rewritten, what is deleted will not really leave, so just cross out whatever hinders processing. Don't try to extinguish. Rewrite the command: let d mean do. Then: DO THE X. Mark what has to be deconstructed, rewritten, combined newly.