Computers and Contraception
Friday June 06th 2008, 3:23 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

by Jasmina Tesanovic

Two technologies revolutionised the roles of twentieth-century women: contraception and computers. Pregnancy is no longer the natural state for a woman. With tech tools women are not the weaker sex. After saying that, the next question naturally is: do”women” still exist? It’s hard to trace the former boundaries of womanhood,physical and emotional, rational and spiritual. Those invisible restrictions have been replaced by more visible restrictions in human rights, in job discrimination.

Personally I am most impressed, not by women casually driving trams and cars (few are airplane pilots, still) but by girls using cellphones, MySpace or Facebook to socially network in ways once impossible. In Belgrade,this is more than a craft, it is a fine art, an application which makes up for all sorts of harsh restrictions in this big dirty city, so full of social personal initiative and so lacking in everything else.

When I see the two words “electronic” and “art,” conjoined together, or better when I see one screen emitting sights and sounds connected to body and mind, it all works: our body our electronic our art… Since the seventies I’ ve been connected to devices that record emit or transmit impulses: in 1978 at the first feminist conference in Eastern Europe —
Drug-ca zena (Comrade Women) held in Belgrade — I had an installation called “Love Is In the First Place a Transmission”.

This was an unedited digital recording of an interactive workshop of people, musical and digital instruments during one night of tech orgy. I had earned some money from a good old film and I invested it all in do-it-yourself production. It was held in Students Cultural Center — at the time a very lively performance scene. This half- hour movie was a random record of the event, since any participant could use the camera at any time.
The result was amazingly not random since everybody was also editing the tape. There was no single author, there was no object of art, it was an ongoing process.

The more the “author” and “artwork” were fragmented the more the work had to say.
Some years later I started living on the Internet. This time, the cycle of collaboration and editing was no video experiment, but a harsh necessity: because of the endless Balkan wars, communication breakdowns and the need to invent an alternative underground network of women for peace. Times were bad yet. I felt immense pleasure in dissolving the visible borderline between mainstream literature and women who write. A woman writing for a global network in diverse languages has a different visibility than a female author laboring for royalties from some patriarchal media conglomerate.

We are lucky, extremely lucky to live as women in an hour when revolutionary technologies transgress the ancient certainties of gender,of female existence.
We need a new language to drive and control these changes.
Art flourishes where language is free.

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