Act 36

November 28, 2008

The New Feminine–Flickr group and tagging project

Organic Farmerunder the umbrellaNatasha

As we are coming to the end of the year and I am beginning to wrap up the 52 Acts project I have been looking back on some of the previous Acts and thinking about some of the ways in which I have wanted to further the knowedge I have gained from them. Early on in the project I had a look at Flickr images and the way in which they were tagged (see Acts 5, 6, and 7. I feel this was an important element of my work because the idea of ‘tagging’ (attaching several descriptors to an item for the purposes of searching) rather than categorising is central to the concept of web 2.0.

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Act 33

November 12, 2008

Watching Women Street Art–Part 2c WOC Edition–Turkish Gold

One of the biggest offenders in the gender ads WOC gallery seemed to be cigarette advertising. The Virginia Slims ads are particularly bad using stereotypes to sell the sexiness of their cigarettes while using the tagline “find your voice”. Firstly, cigarettes have long been proven to damage and actually remove your voice, secondly, using a stereotype and calling it individuality is just plain baffling.

I chose to use this camel cigarettes advert as the basis for my third and final stencil in part 2 of the series. It seems representations of Middle Eastern women are either belly dance/mysterious/spicy/sexy or completely veiled. It is the virgin/whore trope taken to extremes.

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Act 28

October 4, 2008

Putting Us Back Together Again–Cyber-Flip-Doll

I am stoked with this weeks act. I am really happy with it because it fulfills one of the goals I set for 52 Acts which is to use conventional items or programs in a way which they were not directly intended. To creatively misuse technology.

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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 20

July 1, 2008

Dr Frankenstein’s Daughter–Anonymity and Pieces of Women on the Web

Frankenstein's Daughters

For the next several weeks I really want to look deeply into the question of ‘how are women represented within web 2.0’ and I started this week by hitting the ‘random journal’ button on Live Journal (which I believe disappeared the day after for some mysterious reason, but never mind, it served me well) and observing the kinds of default icons people have with depictions of women in them. One thing that struck me–apart from the fact that people seem far more likely to have an image of a woman as an icon than an image of a man, particularly if it appeared to be a self portrait–was that it seems to be very common for womens bodies to be pictured as pieces cast a drift from the whole.

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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 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.