Cyberwitches and Feminist Technologies

Cyberwitches and Feminist Technologies

No. of sessions

6 sessions

120 min each

Dates

Every Tuesday

From Sept 17th to October 22nd, 2024

Coordinated by

Carmen Lael Hines & IPS

Time

From 18:00 to 20:00 (CEST/Madrid time)

Language

English

Price

250€

20% discount avaible

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Early bird

20% discount for students & IPS alumni

Bundle of two seminars

Cyberwitches and Feminist Technologies is a seminar series designed to place feminist theory in close dialogue with the complexities of cyber-space, technology, and the many philosophical formations that configure digital worlds. Approaching feminism as plurality and spatiality, we will discuss multiple iterations of feminist efforts on a global scale – and work through ways of engaging feminism in developing artistic practices, inside, outside, and between digital environments.

In the historical configuration of “the witch,” we find a space where economic and gendered forms of domination were enacted and solidified. Across the broad field of feminist theory, the category of witch emerges as a method to consider the gender binary as essential to capitalist history, as well as a tool to trouble epistemological binaries of subject and object. In increasingly digitally mediated environments, issues related to the gendered foundations of capitalist relations are fundamental to contextualize the tentacularity of economy. This seminar series will address many branches of feminist approaches to consider the figure of “the witch” as a metaphor of identification with difference, and as a method for approaching feminist perspectives on digital worlds.  

Exploring ideas from afro-futurist, cyber, xeno, glitch and un-categorized feminism(s), with guests from the wide web of intersectional feminist theory and new-media/technology studies, we will collectively consider what feminism means, and how to engage it in practice, online and off. What does it mean to become cyber-witches in digital landscapes shaped in and through capitalist forms of production? How can cyberwitch networks shape open-source commons? In essence, how can feminism(s) help us imagine new forms of the digital? 

** References for this course’s conceptualization include: Justyna Sempruch, Fantasies of Gender and the Witch in Feminist Theory and Literature, Purdue University Press: 2008; and Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch, Autonomedia: 2008.

Sessions

Session I “The Witch” as Method: Materialist-Feminist Approaches to Digital World-Making By Carmen Lael Hines & IPS 17 / 9 / 2024

In Caliban and the Witch, Silvia Federici shows how the 16th century witch hunts were instrumental in establishing an ontological divide that essentialized productive from reproductive labor. This framework proposes an intersectional feminist reading of capitalist forms of production. Beginning with Federici’s writing and the formation of materialist-feminism as a starting point for discussing the gendered foundations of contemporary capitalism, we will discuss the possibility, or problems, with employing the witch as method for feminist analysis and practice. Engaging configurations such as: gamification, platform(ing), cybernetics and automation, we will consider where and if the figure of the witch can become a method for dismantling capitalist ontologies. 

Session II Witching with Cyber- Nymphs, the hydro-sexual movement and eco-technological tools for digital art practice By Cyber_nymphs (Justyna Górowska & Ewelina Jarosz) 24 / 9 / 2024

In 2023, cyber_nymphs Justyna Górowska and Ewelina Jarosz launched the hydrosexual movement which aimed at fostering a community of artists, academics, and activists exploring cross- and trans- disciplinary approaches to loving waters amidst massive biodiversity loss. The hydrosexual movement invites us to engage our endangered watery embodiments differently amidst the infiltration of dystopian reality. 

In this session, cyber_nymphs will explore queer and feminist approaches to digital art and eco-technologies through practice-based workshops. Delving into methods of understanding, practicing, and communicating water-centered sensualities and sexualities for speculative multi-species futurities, the duo will introduce  “cyber_nymph” hydromythology and showcase their ongoing projects: "Cyber Wedding to the Brine Shrimp," and "The Blue Humanities Archive." The former uses AR, AI and 3D biodegradable printing for environmental art; the latter project, in a similar multi-medial vein, takes the form of a website that will eventually evolve into a biodegradable installation through DNA data storage technology.

During the session,  participants will be invited to a “Witching with cyber_nymphs” workshop, to activate hydrosexual practices in eco-technological design thinking for the age of the Hydrocene. This session will incorporate elements of playfulness, fun, and joy to challenge conventional perceptions of non/human sea life and thrive with queer feminist perspectives. 

Session III Eros Study: Teledildonics By Cy X 1 / 10 / 2024

Welcome to Eros Study: Teledildonics - an eco-techno-sensual practice and design study of the erotics of the internet and its computational companions. We will approach this study from the perspective of the cyber witch and more-than-human perspective rooting in deep embodied knowing, cyberfeminisms, design thinking, and queer theory. Together we will explore how the internet, our devices, and bodies touch each other across space and time, while discussing the possibilities, pleasures, fears, and risks that exist in such encounters.

Session IV Gender Accumulation to Transsexual Revolution?: The witch’s place in forming contemporary trans subjectivity. Francis Whorrall-Campbell 8 / 10 / 2024

The session will use Francis’ recent publication THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT HAVE BEEN DOWNLOADED to question the place of the ‘witch’ in the formation of contemporary transgender subjectivity in the Global North.

Keeping in mind the work of Silvia Federici which frames the course, this session will look more closely at analyses of how trans genders are imbricated within the development of modern sexual capitalism. Marxist scholars and writers Kay Gabriel and Jordy Rosenberg have elaborated on the operation of gender as a strategy of primitive accumulation via materialist histories of sex work and synthesised hormones. One of the aims of this session will be to think through these histories in relation to the digital world, acknowledging Avery Dame-Griff’s argument that it was on and because of the internet that a specific transgender (as opposed to transsexual or transvestite) subjectivity was able to emerge. 

Online spaces are also where Anglophone TERFS have of late begun to claim the early modern witch as an ancestor, using her public vilification to signal their imagined victimisation at the hands of the ‘woke mob’. This is difficult terrain to navigate, and during the session we will attend to strategies for moving forward, for imagining gender beyond accumulation, beyond the witch. 

Taking the contention made by the editors of We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics, that poetry leaps where theory cannot, we will return to THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT HAVE BEEN DOWNLOADED to workshop how speculation, fiction, and analysis might offer us a methodology for getting to grips with these fraught histories while seeking their transformation.

Session V Françoise Vergès 22 / 10 / 2024

Session led by the French thinker. More information TBA.

Session VI The De-colonial Gesture: Incantations Dr. Tiara Roxanne 15 / 10 / 2024

For this seminar, Dr. Roxanne will lead us through a seminar that encounters Indigenous Feminist Methodologies, somatics and the ritual of incantation as a decolonial gesture. Because decolonization is not possible due to the implication that it requires the settler to give land back to Indigenous peoples, a land that bears the scars of its colonizers. So rather than asking for land back, I am instead interested in active forms of acknowledgment that lean into the somatic, embodied or experiential—or, toward gestures of decolonization especially because the land back movement implies a kind of purity, a kind of coloniality. And an embodied action or willingness in thinking and movement, from somatic processes is what I call the decolonial gesture. A space where we inhabit active and bodily or embodied gestures or actions as moves toward decolonization.  For this seminar, we will call on the incantation as a kind of decolonial gesture. We will call on our own interdisciplinary practices and question how they resist the categories of gendered ontology on and offline. We will find the incantation within our work as a kind of cyberfeminist methodology that requires the body alone as well as the body in community. 

Session VII Defining Feminist Technology Helen Hester 30 / 10 / 2024

Does feminist technology exist? If so, what makes a technology feminist? What criteria must feminist technology fulfil? Who are feminist technologies made by and for? This workshop will encourage participants to develop their own answers to these questions, producing a working definition of feminist technologies for use in their future practice.

Faculty biographies

Carmen Lael Hines

Carmen Lael Hines is a new media theorist, writer and curator working at the interface of architecture and contemporary art. From 2020– 2024 she taught in the Department of Visual Cultures at the Vienna University of Technology, and is pursuing a PhD in philosophy at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. Her recent work engages: AI generated pornography, houseplants, femtech and platform urbanism. She focuses on the nodal points where technology/media, gender/sexuality studies and the political economy meet. 

Cyber_nymphs (Justyna Górowska & Ewelina Jarosz)

Justyna Górowska (she/her) – a hydrofeminist, performative artist, and collaborator in interdisciplinary projects at the intersection of art, technology, and social activism. As a child, she fell in love with the aquatic creatures of the Skawa River in Poland. She has exhibited in Berlin, Jakarta, Warsaw, and New York. She received her PhD at the University of Fine Arts in Poznan in 2020. She is based in Krakow and teaches at The Intermedia Department at Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts.

Ewelina Jarosz (she/they) – a hydrosexual researcher in the queer-feminist stream of blue humanities. She is an assistant professor in the Media and Cultural Studies Department at the National Education Commission University in Krakow. Her current interests include the intersection of environmental art, pleasure activism and queer ecologies. She is a two-time recipient of the Kosciuszko Foundation Scholarship. As an artist and researcher, she collaborates with the E.A.R.T.H. Lab at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the Posthumanities Hub at Linköping University in Sweden. She is a member of the artist-research duo cyber_nymphs. She is also a co-founder of the hydrosexual movement in art and the Blue Humanities Archive project.

Cyber_nymphs are Justyna Górowska (she/her) and Ewelina Jarosz (she/they). Justyna, who is a transmedia and performance artist, and Ewelina, who is a queer blue posthumanities writer and scholar, collaborate as art_research duo. They exchange skills, share knowledge, and work towards making the Blue Planet a lovable and desirable home for planetary survival. The duo infuses environmental art with elements of fun, sensuality, and diversity. They develop a transdisciplinary approach that bridges blue humanities and marine sciences and delve into digital art and eco-technologies to amplify ecological messages. Continuing the legacy of ecosexual artists, Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens, in 2023, they launched the hydrosexual movement in the arts, aimed at fostering a community of artists, academics, and activists sharing the love of water.

Francis Whorrall-Campbell

Francis Whorrall-Campbell is a writer and artist from the UK. Working across text, sculpture, and digital formats, their work explores and advances a trans poetics, probing the link between making an artwork and making a (gendered) self – or, how art and writing can be tools for transition. This practice is guided by research into materialist histories of trans becoming, including DIY transition, mutual aid, trans medicine, trans aesthetics, and other conditions which promote or inhibit trans survival. In 2025, The87Press will publish his first full-length monograph, a cover version of Dante’s Inferno as a t4t romance and pilgrimage to the titular London queer party. 

He is also the author of THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT HAVE BEEN DOWNLOADED: [in progress] A non-fiction-novel about Kurt Cobain, Twink Death and the History of the Trans Internet, published in conjunction with an exhibition at Project Arts Centre, Dublin. From 2021-3, Francis was a Research Associate at the Centre for Contemporary Art Derry~Londonderry. From September – November 2024, he will be a Laureate of the Principal Residency Programme at La Becque, Switzerland. 

Françoise Vergès

Françoise Vergès (Reunion Island) is currently Senior Fellow Researcher, Sarah Parker Centre for the Study of Race and Racialization, UCL, London. A feminist anti-racist journalist and editor and a freelance writer in the 1980s in France, she held menial jobs in the USA (1983-1985) before entering the university. She got her Ph.D. in Political Theory at the University of Berkeley (1995). She was a co-founder of the collective “Decolonize the Arts” (2015-2020), has initiated decolonial visits in museums  and proposed the notion of a “museum without objects” for the project of a “post-museum” in Réunion Island, that was politically defeated in 2010. She curates “L’Atelier”, a workshop and public performance with artists and activist (the more recent at the Berlin Biennale, 2022). Her doctoral thesis Monsters and Revolutionaries: Colonial Family Romance and Métissage was published by Duke University Press in 1999. Interested in the racial fabrication of “premature death” and in the multiple practices of resistance, she writes books and articles on the afterlives of slavery and colonization, climate catastrophe and racism, the impossible decolonization of the western museum, decolonial feminism, psychiatry, and the “post-museum.” Her publications include: Program of Absolute Disorder. Decolonizing the Museum (Pluto, 2024), A Decolonial Feminism (Pluto, 2021); The Wombs of Women: Race, Capital, Feminism (Duke University Press, 2020), Aimé Césaire, Resolutely Black. Conversations with Françoise Vergès (Polity, 2020). She has written documentary films on Maryse Condé (2013) and Aimé Césaire (2011), and was a project advisor for documenta11 (2002) and the Triennale de Paris (2011).

Dr. Tiara Roxanne

Dr. Tiara Roxanne is a Purhépecha (descendant) Mestiza scholar and artist based in Berlin. They  currently work on developing protocols of trust and safety online with Indigenous communities based in Central and South America.

Roxanne’s work is dedicated to rethinking the ethics of AI through an anti-colonial and cyberfeminist lens. As a performance artist and practitioner, they work between the digital and the material using textile. Currently their work is mediated through the color red.

Tiara has presented at Images Festival (Toronto), Squeaky Wheel Film and Media Art Center (NY), Trinity Square Video (Toronto),  European Media Art Festival (Osnabrück), University of Applied Arts (Vienna),  SOAS (London), SLU (Madrid), Transmediale (Berlin), Duke University (NC), Tech Open Air (Berlin), AMOQA (Athens), Zurich University of the Arts (Zurich), Autonomous Intercultural Indigenous University (Columbia), Utrecht University (NL), University of California (San Diego), Laboratorio Arte Alameda, (Mexico City),  among others. 

Cy x

Cy x is a cyberwitch and pleasure ceremonialist moved by tremendous desire and obsession with glory holes, queer archives, magic, and more-than-human collaborations. They study the way that erotics and space co-construct each other and utilize their findings to create ritualized encounters through writing, sound, video, and performance. Their work has been shown in the Center for Art Research and Alliances, Culture Hub, Nest (The Hague), Pioneer Works, Rewire Festival, The School For Poetic Computation, and other spaces, both digital and physical.

Helen Hester (b. 1983, she/her) is Professor of Gender, Technology and Cultural Politics at the University of West London. Her research interests include technofeminism, sexuality studies, and theories of social reproduction. Her recent publications include: After Work: A History of the Home and the Fight for Free Time (with Nick Srnicek, Verso, 2023), Xenofeminism (Polity, 2018) and Beyond Explicit: Pornography and the Displacement of Sex (SUNY Press, 2014). Her latest book, Post-Work: What it is, why it matters, and how we get there (with Will Stronge) will be out with Bloomsbury later this year.

FAQ

Are the sessions live or pre-recorded? All sessions are live, via a Zoom meeting, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (CEST/Madrid time). All sessions will be recorded, so you can access all materials in case you miss the online encounters.

When are the sessions held? All sessions are held every Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. via Zoom meetings. Once enrolled, you will get the access code to the meeting room and further information.

Where will we be able to access course materials? All materials will be shared through an online folder, where you will be able to see the sessions, find the texts and readings, as well as other interesting materials related to each session.

How long will we have access to the recordings? The recordings will be uploaded after every session, and all materials will be accessible during the course and until two weeks after the end.

Will the bibliography be shared in advance? All references, bibliographies, links, and materials will be shared in advance to facilitate the reading and preparation time of the sessions.

Do I get any kind of certificate after the seminar? After the completion of the seminar, you will receive a non-official certificate as a proof of enrollment.

Do you offer any scholarships or special prices? We offer a 20% discount for students and IPS alumni (a document showing enrollment to any academic institution or university, or previous IPS seminars, will be demanded). We understand that the cost to attend might be a barrier to entry depending on where you’re living, or your personal situation. If you are interested in requesting aid please send us a request through this form and we will analyse your case.

Are the discounts accumulative? No, we do not offer accumulative discounts. What we do offer is a 20% discount in case of acquiring more than one product, being an alumni, or being a student.

Early bird until July 24: 200€ / Regular price: 250€

Student, Alumni, or two-seminar pack, 20% discount

Inquiries to: studies@instituteforpostnaturalstudies.org

Early bird

20% discount for students & IPS alumni

Bundle of two seminars

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