Act 26

September 26, 2008

Cut-Up

Commentary eludes me today. This is a work looking further into the phenomena of cutting ourselves to pieces with photography. Make of it what you will.


It was created using Animoto, a neat web app that lets you add your still images and turns them into an animated slide show either with music from their free use music library or from music you upload yourself. It is very cool, and allows unlimitted free 30 second mini shows–which at first I found a little frustrating, but then came to enjoy the challenge as it made me really think about how to get my message across in a condensed time frame. Big thanks to Aphd31 for her help talking me through the ideas with this one.

All images used in this work are used with gratitude to the original artist who made them available under creative commons licences. A list of URLs for all the original images used in this project and the previous Frankenstein’s Daughter image is available here

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Act 25

September 20, 2008

Representations of Feminism–Putting on my Hairy Legged Feminist Pants

I have been absolutely fascinated by this discussion (started by Lauredhel) on Hoyden About Town about this opinion piece (written by Monica Dux) in The Age.

While reading the discussion I decided that I really needed to make a ‘hairy legged feminist’ icon. An ‘unfeminine monster’ icon seemed quite appealing as well. It started out as a simple task–I considered taking a photo of my own hairy legs, or finding a CC-licensed image on flickr to use as the focus of the icon, but decided against that idea based on my recent work about the problematic practice of cutting up of women’s bodies with photography. Another option was to use a hairy legged spider, but decided against that because of the possible negative interpretation. Instead I chose to make myself a pair of hairy legged feminist pants. I still haven’t made the icon, but I now have an awesome pair of hairy legged feminist muppet skin pants!

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Act 24

September 12, 2008

Viola’s Bookshelf–Lee Battersby Gender Exchange Remix

In keeping with the literary theme of the past few acts I have added a new gender exchange remix story to Viola’s Bookshelf. This is a remix of Lee Batersby’s Alchymical Romance, a story that was featured as part of the Remix My Lit project–an awesome project that encourages an extension of the practices employed in remix culture (that are most often applied to audio and vision) into the realm of the written word. I really liked their concept and thought it was a perfect opportunity to do some gender exchange remixing for Viola’s Bookshelf, while contributing to the Remix My Lit project at the same time.

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Act 23

September 3, 2008

Response to Spam–Part 2, Bonus Haiku

And just so y’all don’t get worried that I take this stuff too seriously, here is a bonus found poetry spam haiku for all my man friends ;)

***

Please do not Worry
Spam can be mean and unkind
your love wand is Fine

***

Act 18

June 6, 2008

Feminist and Funny–a LiveJournal community for the sharing of hate-free humor

I decided this week to start a LiveJournal community for all the humorous feminists there. The humorless feminist is a pretty well used stereotype, and really I must admit sometimes it does feel like I am losing my humor a bit–when you begin to look at the world both near and afar through a feminist lens there can appear to be a lot to be solemn about, there is definitely a lot of serious work left to be done. But really, that is not what the trope of the humorless feminist is all about, the real reason this stereotype gets thrown around is our perceived inability to ‘take a joke’ when a ‘joke’ is made with the punchline relying on sexism, racism, ablism, homophobia or any other discourse of hatred to make it ‘funny’.  The humorless feminist tag is thrown about to undermine and discredit a woman when she realises a simple truth–some things (and some people) are just not that funny. Of course feminists are not humorless. We are just discerning.

The reason behind the creation of this community is not to prove or disprove anything, it is really just to provide a safe and joyful place for frivolous entertainment. From the community info page:

Feminist and Funny is a community created for the sharing of non-sexist, non-racist, non-ablist, non-discriminatory feminist-friendly humour.

We welcome posts with jokes, humour, funny images, links to entertaining sites and posts, thoughts about your favorite comedienne/an, reviews of fun media (i.e. books/tv/film/audio etc) you have consumed, anything goes as long as it is feminist-friendly, does not rely on negative stereotypes or general meanness, and is funny.

All feminists and feminist allies are welcome.

So if you are an LJ enabled feminist or feminist-ally please join the community (http://community.livejournal.com/feministfun/) and share a post or two (or many) about something joyful and fun!

Act 16

April 29, 2008

The Real Open Source Boob Project

There has been a lot of discussion in the feminist blogosphere about an incident at an SF convention that the instigator has called ‘The Open Source Boob Project’ (link to the original live journal post).

While I totally understand that many of the participants had a profound and positive experience–I really do, realization of freedom of sexual expression can be euphoric, I understand that, and I am all for the autonomy of consenting adults, and I have to admit I am totally fascinated by the way that what was essentially a love in at a party has become so huge thanks to the weird private/public liminal space that is the internet–there are several things about The Ferret’s ‘experiment’ report that make me bristle.

Many of them are covered here in an excellent analysis from Jeff Pack at Bookworm, particularly the lechery and victim blaming attitude displayed by specifically targeting women/girls who were “obviously putting [their] assets on display”, and there is a great round-up by lauredhel over at Hoyden. In general it appears to me that, while it was a good experience for some, it shows an enormous lack of understanding of the wider culture and conditions most people with breasts (in western type cultures) live in on a daily basis.

However, aside from the lechery and the inherent sexism and the cluelessness, there is something else that has been bothering me–the name of the endeavor. As someone who is rather passionate about open source culture the misappropriation of the term is annoying me a lot. My thought process went something like this: Open source boob project? Hardly. Now if they were handing out instructions on how to make your own boobs then maybe…

And thus I give you The Real Open Source Boob Project. Free (as in speech) crochet boobie instructions under the cut. (dial-up warning–image heavy)

TROSBP17

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Act 14

April 8, 2008

One Row Purl, One Row Plain–The Personal as Political, Art as Craft–Secret Message Scarf Pattern

This weeks offering on the alter of art is an interactive blog based knit art project. This week I wanted to do a project that made specific use of the blog format in the creation of art, and I was inspired by recent discussions amongst my friends to revisit the idea of differing value perceptions for craft and art. My definition of art goes something like: art is a creative piece of work that is intending to explore an idea or to convey a message, I guess the key to what makes something art for me is that it is idea driven (but of course this is not always the case, but such is the contrary nature of art). The big mistake that I think is made when discounting craft as being different/less valuable than ‘hand of the master’ art, is that we appear to assume that just because it is not overtly idea driven (by a singular focused idea), that it is not exploring ideas or conveying messages. And doubly if the ideas that a piece is communicating are of a domestic rather than a more outwardly focussed nature.

Another way that craft is devalued is in dismissal of the value of replication. The nature of craft is to be replicated. There was a very good editorial–titled ‘copy this’ downloadable as a pdf from here–about replication and craft in issue 2 of craft magazine. But to dismiss craft because of this is not only to be only looking at its value in simplistic monetary terms, it is to misunderstand how extremely valuable replication itself is.

And of course it is also hard to ignore the fact that craft is primarily seen as women’s work.

I think that these reasons make the denigration of craft a feminist issue. Both for the fact that it is a dismissal of women’s skills and ideas, and because it highlights a different, but no less intellectual, way of thinking about and approaching the world. A way that is not exclusive to, but more common amongst women.

My playful contribution to this debate is One Row Purl, One Row Plain. A blog where I will upload 10 rows of a pattern for a scarf with a secret feminist craft message to be worn by anyone who would like to take part in the project and knit along.

As my skills are basic beginner level it is a very easy pattern, and I have linked to instruction videos for the techniques used, so anyone with a pair of needles and some spare wool can have a go.

Act 13

March 31, 2008

Resistance is Fertile—Photoshop Brushes
I am a big user of Photoshop. While I find it has its own language that is not very intuitive to beginner users (as compared to, say, ms word) I find that once you learn that language the program makes a unique kind of sense, and it is so amazingly packed full of features that an experienced amateur such as myself can continually find new ways to use it. Another thing I like about it is the many parallels the program has to traditional paper and textile crafts—for example the layering, which seems to be the most confusing part of Photoshop for beginners, makes a lot of sense when you think of it in terms of layering physical craft objects (transparent papers, paint, stamps, fabric) on top of each other. One use of these layers that has become particularly popular with user icon makers is adding layers marked with the Photoshop brush tool. I am particularly interested in this usage, because although I suspect the brush tool started out as a tool for creating lines with the users desired thickness and textural properties, it seems to have evolved into use as a stamp like feature. Icon makers in particular will commonly use the brush tool like a stencil or stamp for adding detail and decoration to an image, rather than using it as a *brush* to spread pixels around with. Another exciting aspect of this brush/stamp phenomenon is that brushes are easy to share, and people do share them—check out the brush_fantastic community on live journal as an example of this, and there are many more that can be found by doing a search for brushes on LJ.

This week I have designed a set of brushes to share. I wanted to do something organic and representative of growth and emergence—I drew inspiration from this photo I found on flickr by doing a search for images tagged with ‘organic’ and ‘fertile’


image by hfabulous

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Act 12

March 21, 2008

Watching Women Street Art

re-view 1--Mona Lisa

Act 12 is a mix of a work I have had brewing for a while, given new inspiration by the HollaBack Australia web site (see Act 10). While it is not directly connected to the HollaBack site, the idea of the use of cameras as a tool/symbol for reclamation of power is directly taken from there. Before HollaBack, the original idea was to create sticker/stencil art of ‘watching women’ to be distributed in areas that are traditionally considered less than safe, with the intention of there then being a ‘mother figure’ watching the area. Areas like dark alleyways are given extra scare power by their covert nature—because no one is watching it is easy to imagine predators believing it is okay to behave in a manner they might not otherwise choose when under scrutiny—I wanted to put someone watching in these places. I wanted to put ‘watching mammas’ in these places, knowing that it is hard to behave badly knowing that your mother, or even someone else’s mother, is watching you. The idea has moved on from there, and for now I have taken it in a slightly different direction, with the intention of returning to the mother figure idea at a later date. Read the rest of this entry »

Act 11

March 17, 2008

Internet as cyberfeminist distribution tool – HollaBack Australia flyer

Act 11 is a real world flyer to advertise the HollaBack Australia site. These are PDF flyers designed to be downloaded, printed, and distributed widely (for example in uni women’s department rooms and public toilets etc.) across Australia. I love this act because it is important in terms of real world feminism and cyberfeminism and it brings the two together, utilizing the spirit of action that is so important to both movements.

The PDF is A4 sized, black and white, with 2 to a page (finished flyer size is A5). Would be great printed on coloured paper!

hollaback oz flyer