Act 9

February 29, 2008

Viola’s Bookshelf – A Gender Exchange Library

I was really pleased with the way last weeks piece, the gender exchanged version of Cory Doctorow’s Scroogled, turned out, so much so that I wanted to expand the project. I also thought that people would be more likely to read the story if they did not have to download it, but instead were able to view it through their browser.

To achieve this I have created Viola’s Bookshelf, a new blog dedicated to making available gender swapped versions of copyright available fiction.  I have started it off by uploading the version of Scroogled I adapted in act 8, and will upload a second piece later this week. After that I plan to add one new story adapted by me per month, and as many from other people that get submitted.

From the Viola’s Bookshelf ‘about’ page:

Viola’s Bookshelf is a project blog dedicated to publishing altered out of copyright, or creative commons licensed fiction, where the character’s genders have been reversed. The idea behind this is to help provide an understanding of gender construction in fiction and to an extent in everyday life. It is also expected to have the added benefit of increasing the stories available with female protagonists and background characters.

I anticipate adding new stories to the library at the rate of one per month, in addition to any sent to me for uploading by readers. If you have a legally available story that you have given a gender exchange treatment to and you would like me to include it on the site please email me at ’sajbrfem at g mail dotcom’ (without all the spaces) and let me know.

Please enjoy the stories and comment liberally, open discussion is encouraged and appreciated. Also feel free to suggest future stories that you think would be interesting with this treatment.

Act 8

February 22, 2008

Gendered fiction exploration – gender f*&king with Creative Commons fiction
To further explore the ways in which women are represented within web 2.0 I decided to look at some fiction distributed online with a creative commons license that allowed for remixing, and then reverse the gender pronouns in order to see what effect it has on the story. For this I chose Cory Doctorow’s piece, Scroogled, a speculative fiction story set in the near future, where the Google corporation gains a contract to assist the US government with its border security. Scroogled was released with a creative commons attribution, non commercial, share alike license -meaning that anyone is free to use the work as it is or to create derivatives of that work provided they give proper attribution to the original creator and allow the new derivative product to be used in the same manner. The original story can be viewed here at RadarOnline, and my new remixed version can be downloaded here as an rtf file from MediaFire. I have not included the full text of the story here because it is over 4500 words long, but if you would prefer a browser viewable version rather than a downloadable one please comment and I will create one in a separate entry.

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Act 7

February 15, 2008

Being Feminist on Web 2.0 – Flickr Quilt 3/3

Feminist Quilt

The third and final installment in my ‘Being Female on Web 2.0’ flickr photo quilt experiment – at least for a while, I am interested in revisiting the idea sometime in the future and perhaps making a fabric quilt that captures this idea, I think it would be a great exhibition piece.

You can see the full size html quilt here, complete with links to the individual flickr pages identifying the original artists. As with the previous two works this was created by choosing the first 42 creative commons licensed images that came up when a search for the tag ‘feminist’ was performed using the flickr search function.

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Act 6

February 6, 2008

Being feminine on web 2.0 – Flickr quilt part 2/3

Feminine Quilt

This week I made a second quilt using the identifier “feminine” to choose the images that make up the blocks. I learned from last weeks experience that while photoshopping the blocks, printing them and then photographing them makes for an interesting art work it was not really a very effective web 2.0 piece. This week I took note of that lesson and made my quilt in html. You can see the full size piece here. Be warned, because I wanted to keep the quilt like feel I have ignored the no vertical scrolling rule, if you want to see a larger version all on one screen you can click through the above image and see larger images on my flickr page.

I used the same method as last weeks to find the images – a search for CC-licensed images that have been tagged with the word “feminine” – and I used the first 42 images returned from different artists. I find it interesting to remember that each image has been taken by a different artist when looking at the over all quilt as some definite themes have emerged.

Lips are feminine, eyes are not
some things I learned from this weeks piece:

  • 29/42 of the images are of humanoid females (or their parts), and 3 are of humanoid males deemed feminine (row 4, pics 4 and 6, and row 5, pic 6)
  • almost all of the human representations are caucasian
  • only 8 of the female figures are making any kind of eye contact – of these 3 are looking up from a subordinate position, one is part of a montage containing 3 other photos where she is not making eye contact, 1 is wearing very dark sunglasses, and one is peering through hair that has her eyes partially covered
  • there are 4 full body shots, plus another 7 that are most of the body plus the head, the rest are body pieces
  • there are 9 objects/abstract representations of ‘feminine’. These include 2 bottles of perfume (there is also another of a woman spraying perfume not included in the 9), cosmetics, a flower, and 2 abstract representations of vulvas (the ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’ one cracks me up :) )

Full credits for the individual images used can be found by going to the html quilt here and clicking on each individual image, which will take you to the image’s flickr page.

Act 5

February 3, 2008

Being Female on Web 2.0 – Flickr Quilt Part 1/3

female quilt 1
I decided to continue the craft theme this week while examining what it means to be female on web 2.0.

For this weeks act I decided to make a quilt using photos posted by flickr users. Because I only had one week to do this I chose to make this a decorative paper quilt rather than a functional fabric one, but it is a project I hope to revisit at a later date and expand upon.

The idea behind this work was to create a piece using creative commons licensed photos that were tagged with the word “female”, and to use that work to give me some kind of sense as to the way femaleness is represented within web 2.0. i think the resulting work was a great piece of art from web 2.0, but not so much an effective piece for web 2.0, but I think the failure of it to translate very well digitally was an excellent lesson in itself.

More photos, discussion and credits… Read the rest of this entry »