kanarinka akanarinak
Since the beginning
kanarinka@ikatun.com
Works in Waltham, Massachusetts United States of America

PORTFOLIO (2)
BIO
kanarinka, a.k.a. Catherine D’Ignazio, is an artist and educator. Her artwork is participatory and distributed – a single project might take place online, in the street and in a gallery, and involve multiple audiences participating in different ways for different reasons. Her practice is collaborative even when she says it’s not. Her artwork has been exhibited at the ICA Boston, Eyebeam, MASSMoCA, and the Western Front among other locations.

www.kanarinka.com
Discussions (67) Opportunities (7) Events (11) Jobs (0)
DISCUSSION

RE: selected themes in net.art and new media art


the below is a excerpted draft of a text that iKatun is preparing for an
institution interested in the current new media art and net.art
landscape -

i'd appreciate any thoughts on the selection of artists and themes (we
chose those whose work we were familiar with/had seen in person/had a
relationship to) and the accompanying thematic discussions.

the text is meant to be introductory and readable by a layperson.

many thanks,
kanarinka

---------------------------------------
Selected Themes in net.art and new media art practice
---------------------------------------

Intent:
These are emerging artists whose works reflect the variety of themes and
methods present in current new media and internet art practice. We have
also highlighted some of the themes that are beginning to resonate in
this (relatively) new field of artistic production. Since we are not
only curators but also artists we took the liberty of including
ourselves in this list and speaking directly about our own work.

Themes:
.Algorithms
.Data and Databases
.Immersion
.Art collectives
.Recombination
.Transposition/Transcoding

Artists Discussed:

Net.art
.Natalie Bookchin
.Kanarinka
.Kate Armstrong
.Victor Liu
.Shirin Kouladje

New Media Art
.Joseph Smolinski
.David Webber
.Forcefield
.iKatun

---------------------------------------
.Algorithms

We live in the Age of the Algorithm. Algorithms are demonized, reified
and mythologized in our cultural artifacts, notably in the popular media
(e.g. the Matrix, Neuromancer). Algorithms are invisible to most of us,
hidden behind the user interface of our computer screen, embodied in
obscure lines of code, yet they guide our actions, shape our thoughts,
and determine our limits in virtual space. The more our actions and
interactions happen in networked and cyber spaces, the more important
the author of the algorithm becomes.

Artists working with net.art and new media art have begun to leverage
the algorithm as a powerful artistic tool. Victor Liu (
http://www.n-gon.com ), for example, creates artworks that visually
reveal the inner workings of a compression algorithm designed to make
web-ready video. iKatun ( http://www.ikatun.com/neocommedia ) created a
grid of LED lights that visually represented the "Game of Life"
algorithm as a metaphor for "perfect information". Along with the trend
in making use of algorithms goes the desire to expose their inner
workings.

---------------------------------------
.Data and Databases
Almost everything is or can be converted into digital data, 1's and 0's.
A database is simply a collection of data that has similar structural
properties. The advent of the database afforded artists the ability to
work with immensely large data-sets (genomes, entire libraries or the
whole internet, for example) and the ability to create complex
interrelationships and correlations between data properties.

The sheer vastness of this technology has enlarged our conceptual frame
of reference. Many artists now work in multiplicities, large data-sets,
and complex interrelationships. Often the hope (or myth) is that if the
artist can craft the most perfect relationship structures and navigatory
interactions around their data that Truth will be revealed.

Important questions in this new landscape of data-sets are: What data
does the artist choose to represent? How is this choice contextualized
within the larger work?

Many artists choose to represent existing data (e.g. Victor Liu, the
numerous projects to create alternative web browsers, the numerous
projects to represent internet traffic), some choose to represent data
contributed to a database as a collaborative effort (e.g. Martin
Wattenberg & Marek Walczak's work "Apartment" -
http://www.turbulence.org/Works/apartment/index.html ), and some choose
to create their own unique data sets based around certain criteria
(Kanarinka, Shirin Kouladje). Each method of gathering data has unique
formal and thematic implications for the resulting work.

---------------------------------------
.Immersion
Many artists are choosing to utilize disparate technologies to create
immersive spaces rather than identifying themselves with one particular
technology (e.g. "I am an HTML artist", "I am a video artist", "I am a
sound artist"). Immersion also carries the connotation of being
enveloped in or surrounded by an environment created by the artist.
Immersion can happen in both cyberspace and physical space. Virtual
environments like games and narratives often effectively replace the
sensorial power of physically immersive installations.

In iKatun's "Paradise" ( http://www.ikatun.com/neocommedia ), for
example, visitors walked through a 900 sq. ft. labyrinth of white fabric
to reach a sound-responsive LED grid in the center. For the 2002 Whitney
Biennial, the group Forcefield created an entire room full of knitted
creatures, video projections, and sound. For the exhibit info@blah,
Joseph Smolinski ( http://www.ikatun.com/info@blah/artist.shtml?id )
asked visitors to enter a dark room filled with potato batteries and
fiber optic cable. In her project "metapet" ( http://metapet.net/ ),
Natalie Bookchin asks the user to become a manager and take care of a
semi-human creature in a bio-tech laboratory.

In each example, these spaces were self-enclosed worlds offered up for
exploration by visitors. In these worlds the artist becomes the designer
of boundaries and participation structures rather than (or in addition
to) objects.

---------------------------------------
.Art collectives
Just as many new media artists incorporate different types of
technologies into their artwork, much of the work being created also
involves many different types of people. The late nineties witnessed the
resurrection of the art collective (see an NYT article on this
phenomenon: http://www.rhizome.org/carnivore/press/cotter.htm ). The
reasons are varied but include sharing expertise, pooling resources, and
the rise of the open-source culture.

Both iKatun (Boston, MA) and Forcefield (Providence, RI) are examples of
groups that incorporate artists, technologists, musicians, and others to
create collaborative artworks. Other artists don't necessarily identify
themselves with a collective but collaborate with other artists on an
individual project basis. See, for example, Kate Armstrong's project
"imageWord.not_a_pipe" ( www.katearmstrong.com ) created in
collaboration with Evann Siebens, Mathieu Borysevicz, and Yannis
Adoniou.

---------------------------------------
.Recombination
The collage aesthetic has remained with us through the 20th and the
beginning of the 21st century. Working in the digital realm the
possibilities for recombination are expanded because of the inherent
malleability of digital data. Assemblage becomes re-assemblage and the
possibilities for mixes and remixes of image, sound, and data become
infinite. Media created by the artist and "found media objects" are
freely incorporated, altered and interchanged.

Artists such as Kanarinka (
http://www.ikatun.com/k/colorstories/yellow/index.htm )and Shirin
Kouladje ( http://www.n3xt.com/ ) work in this realm. Kanarinka captures
and processes both found and original images and proceeds to structure
and layer them through code, creating many unique visual "stories" out
of the same set of media. Shirin Kouladje uses reprocessed sound and
video clips from old TV shows, found photos, and Flash technology to
create entries in her online journal.
The desire to recombine existing or "found" material and re-present them
through juxtaposition is common throughout new media and net.art.

With the advent of personal computers and networked technologies a range
of collage and combinatory prospects emerged: the opportunity to create
multi-sensory collages, the opportunity to create collages using a wider
range of media (e.g. time-based media such as sound, video and
performance), and finally the sheer quantity of combinatory
possibilities available to the artist.
Many theorists have addressed this phenomenon in depth, notably Lev
Manovich ( http://www.manovich.net/ ) and Bill Seaman (
http://faculty.risd.edu/faculty/bseamanweb/web/texts.html ). Seaman's
discussion of what he terms "Recombinant Poetics" is particularly
compelling.

---------------------------------------
.Transposition/Transcoding
Gradually, the realization that all digital data is composed of
fundamental components (e.g. 1's and 0's) is creeping into popular
awareness. With this realization comes the jarring thought that products
of artistic creation that were once perceived as quite disparate, (such
as photography and music or video and painting) are, in the digital
realm, made from the same basic building blocks.

This opens a tremendous space for what has alternately been called
"transcoding" and "transposition", that is, recasting data from one form
to another. How does an image sound? What does a radio broadcast look
like? How might we travel in time through the logs of a networked
server? Victor Liu's project "delter" (
http://www.n-gon.com/delter/index.html ), for example, effectively
transcodes the data contained within a digital MPEG file and visualizes,
based on certain rules, the parts of it which were never meant to be
seen by an MPEG player. The data, the 1's and 0's at the root of these
projects, are not altered - only the rules that render the data into
experience.

DISCUSSION

RE: selected themes in net.art and new media art


the below is a excerpted draft of a text that iKatun is preparing for an
institution interested in the current new media art and net.art
landscape -

i'd appreciate any thoughts on the selection of artists and themes (we
chose those whose work we were familiar with/had seen in person/had a
relationship to) and the accompanying thematic discussions.

the text is meant to be introductory and readable by a layperson.

many thanks,
kanarinka

---------------------------------------
Selected Themes in net.art and new media art practice
---------------------------------------

Intent:
These are emerging artists whose works reflect the variety of themes and
methods present in current new media and internet art practice. We have
also highlighted some of the themes that are beginning to resonate in
this (relatively) new field of artistic production. Since we are not
only curators but also artists we took the liberty of including
ourselves in this list and speaking directly about our own work.

Themes:
.Algorithms
.Data and Databases
.Immersion
.Art collectives
.Recombination
.Transposition/Transcoding

Artists Discussed:

Net.art
.Natalie Bookchin
.Kanarinka
.Kate Armstrong
.Victor Liu
.Shirin Kouladje

New Media Art
.Joseph Smolinski
.David Webber
.Forcefield
.iKatun

---------------------------------------
.Algorithms

We live in the Age of the Algorithm. Algorithms are demonized, reified
and mythologized in our cultural artifacts, notably in the popular media
(e.g. the Matrix, Neuromancer). Algorithms are invisible to most of us,
hidden behind the user interface of our computer screen, embodied in
obscure lines of code, yet they guide our actions, shape our thoughts,
and determine our limits in virtual space. The more our actions and
interactions happen in networked and cyber spaces, the more important
the author of the algorithm becomes.

Artists working with net.art and new media art have begun to leverage
the algorithm as a powerful artistic tool. Victor Liu (
http://www.n-gon.com ), for example, creates artworks that visually
reveal the inner workings of a compression algorithm designed to make
web-ready video. iKatun ( http://www.ikatun.com/neocommedia ) created a
grid of LED lights that visually represented the "Game of Life"
algorithm as a metaphor for "perfect information". Along with the trend
in making use of algorithms goes the desire to expose their inner
workings.

---------------------------------------
.Data and Databases
Almost everything is or can be converted into digital data, 1's and 0's.
A database is simply a collection of data that has similar structural
properties. The advent of the database afforded artists the ability to
work with immensely large data-sets (genomes, entire libraries or the
whole internet, for example) and the ability to create complex
interrelationships and correlations between data properties.

The sheer vastness of this technology has enlarged our conceptual frame
of reference. Many artists now work in multiplicities, large data-sets,
and complex interrelationships. Often the hope (or myth) is that if the
artist can craft the most perfect relationship structures and navigatory
interactions around their data that Truth will be revealed.

Important questions in this new landscape of data-sets are: What data
does the artist choose to represent? How is this choice contextualized
within the larger work?

Many artists choose to represent existing data (e.g. Victor Liu, the
numerous projects to create alternative web browsers, the numerous
projects to represent internet traffic), some choose to represent data
contributed to a database as a collaborative effort (e.g. Martin
Wattenberg & Marek Walczak's work "Apartment" -
http://www.turbulence.org/Works/apartment/index.html ), and some choose
to create their own unique data sets based around certain criteria
(Kanarinka, Shirin Kouladje). Each method of gathering data has unique
formal and thematic implications for the resulting work.

---------------------------------------
.Immersion
Many artists are choosing to utilize disparate technologies to create
immersive spaces rather than identifying themselves with one particular
technology (e.g. "I am an HTML artist", "I am a video artist", "I am a
sound artist"). Immersion also carries the connotation of being
enveloped in or surrounded by an environment created by the artist.
Immersion can happen in both cyberspace and physical space. Virtual
environments like games and narratives often effectively replace the
sensorial power of physically immersive installations.

In iKatun's "Paradise" ( http://www.ikatun.com/neocommedia ), for
example, visitors walked through a 900 sq. ft. labyrinth of white fabric
to reach a sound-responsive LED grid in the center. For the 2002 Whitney
Biennial, the group Forcefield created an entire room full of knitted
creatures, video projections, and sound. For the exhibit info@blah,
Joseph Smolinski ( http://www.ikatun.com/info@blah/artist.shtml?id )
asked visitors to enter a dark room filled with potato batteries and
fiber optic cable. In her project "metapet" ( http://metapet.net/ ),
Natalie Bookchin asks the user to become a manager and take care of a
semi-human creature in a bio-tech laboratory.

In each example, these spaces were self-enclosed worlds offered up for
exploration by visitors. In these worlds the artist becomes the designer
of boundaries and participation structures rather than (or in addition
to) objects.

---------------------------------------
.Art collectives
Just as many new media artists incorporate different types of
technologies into their artwork, much of the work being created also
involves many different types of people. The late nineties witnessed the
resurrection of the art collective (see an NYT article on this
phenomenon: http://www.rhizome.org/carnivore/press/cotter.htm ). The
reasons are varied but include sharing expertise, pooling resources, and
the rise of the open-source culture.

Both iKatun (Boston, MA) and Forcefield (Providence, RI) are examples of
groups that incorporate artists, technologists, musicians, and others to
create collaborative artworks. Other artists don't necessarily identify
themselves with a collective but collaborate with other artists on an
individual project basis. See, for example, Kate Armstrong's project
"imageWord.not_a_pipe" ( www.katearmstrong.com ) created in
collaboration with Evann Siebens, Mathieu Borysevicz, and Yannis
Adoniou.

---------------------------------------
.Recombination
The collage aesthetic has remained with us through the 20th and the
beginning of the 21st century. Working in the digital realm the
possibilities for recombination are expanded because of the inherent
malleability of digital data. Assemblage becomes re-assemblage and the
possibilities for mixes and remixes of image, sound, and data become
infinite. Media created by the artist and "found media objects" are
freely incorporated, altered and interchanged.

Artists such as Kanarinka (
http://www.ikatun.com/k/colorstories/yellow/index.htm )and Shirin
Kouladje ( http://www.n3xt.com/ ) work in this realm. Kanarinka captures
and processes both found and original images and proceeds to structure
and layer them through code, creating many unique visual "stories" out
of the same set of media. Shirin Kouladje uses reprocessed sound and
video clips from old TV shows, found photos, and Flash technology to
create entries in her online journal.
The desire to recombine existing or "found" material and re-present them
through juxtaposition is common throughout new media and net.art.

With the advent of personal computers and networked technologies a range
of collage and combinatory prospects emerged: the opportunity to create
multi-sensory collages, the opportunity to create collages using a wider
range of media (e.g. time-based media such as sound, video and
performance), and finally the sheer quantity of combinatory
possibilities available to the artist.
Many theorists have addressed this phenomenon in depth, notably Lev
Manovich ( http://www.manovich.net/ ) and Bill Seaman (
http://faculty.risd.edu/faculty/bseamanweb/web/texts.html ). Seaman's
discussion of what he terms "Recombinant Poetics" is particularly
compelling.

---------------------------------------
.Transposition/Transcoding
Gradually, the realization that all digital data is composed of
fundamental components (e.g. 1's and 0's) is creeping into popular
awareness. With this realization comes the jarring thought that products
of artistic creation that were once perceived as quite disparate, (such
as photography and music or video and painting) are, in the digital
realm, made from the same basic building blocks.

This opens a tremendous space for what has alternately been called
"transcoding" and "transposition", that is, recasting data from one form
to another. How does an image sound? What does a radio broadcast look
like? How might we travel in time through the logs of a networked
server? Victor Liu's project "delter" (
http://www.n-gon.com/delter/index.html ), for example, effectively
transcodes the data contained within a digital MPEG file and visualizes,
based on certain rules, the parts of it which were never meant to be
seen by an MPEG player. The data, the 1's and 0's at the root of these
projects, are not altered - only the rules that render the data into
experience.

DISCUSSION

Re: My Email Is Longer Than Your Email: Gender in Online Communities


this is quite an interesting question and could make for a great
project:
>>>
What might a feminist version of the internet look like, as opposed to a
masculine system adapted to feminine uses?
>>>

This essay raises excellent points and is well thought-out. The only
thing that I find problematic is creating constructions of gender or
gender-driven behavior that are too specific and narrow (e.g.
"Femininity is the gender of networks, traditionally seeking out
relationships to others as a means of definition.", "In chat rooms,
women are looking for intimacy and men are looking for sex.") I realize
that in order to say anything meaningful about the role of gender in
these issues you must make distinctions but I think it's important to
retain a level of fluidity and also talk about exceptions to the rule
(in order to present a full, balanced picture). I, for one, post more to
mailing lists than I go to chat rooms.

In educational technology-speak, each technology offers different
"affordances" (opportunities and limitations) - perhaps a study of how
those affordances facilitate or inhibit certain gendered behaviors
(while acknowledging that a fuller spectrum exists).

What about usages of technologies that are not exclusively male or
female, such as googling to find information about programming syntax or
helping someone online find a solution to a problem? Or are all usages
prompted by gender? I would argue not. What behaviors can you
characterize as motivated by gender and why? Is that only because they
fit our stereotypes of what gender is (e.g. women are more emotional,
men are more competitive, etc)?

I think essays like this could be supported by both a quantitative
perspective (which you have provided) and a qualitative perspective --
e.g. some primary source material about why people use technologies in
certain ways, what prompts their thinking about the technology, etc.
Quantitative data can often be reductive (as in the sense of
demographics -- I find it rather offensive when people tell me I belong
to a certain demographic - as if all your wants, needs and values can be
predicted based on a few accidental variables).

thanks for the essay,
kanarinka

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-list@rhizome.org [mailto:owner-list@rhizome.org] On Behalf
Of Eryk Salvaggio
Sent: Friday, June 20, 2003 2:33 AM
To: list@rhizome.org
Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: My Email Is Longer Than Your Email: Gender in
Online Communities

My Email Is Longer Than Your Email: Gender in Online Communities

The internet is, at its heart, a network of information, designed to
spawn communication and easy connections between sets of data. In this
regard, it is a primarily feminine structure, despite the imposition of
male hierarchical organization. While the network is out there,
rhizomatic and widespread, the main interface- search engines- are a
structure based on rankings and popularity. In other words, we navigate
a feminine world by way of masculine strategies. We are, in a sense,
organizing hunting parties in the search for potatoes. But does this
affect the way women use the web, or the way men do?
Look at the internet revolution- instant messaging, chat room
technology, email, search engines, the development of personal home
pages, a proliferation of geocities websites and online diaries, blogs-
and look at how they affect the behaviors of each gender that interacts
with them. How it is used differently by men and women?
First of all, who is using the web? Statistics vary from year to year
and from source to source, but according to a 2001 Nielsen/NetRatings
poll, there were "53.33 million women actively used the Internet
compared to 49.83 million men" [Roach, p.1]. However, an overwhelming
majority of papers I have encountered use the statistic that only 40% of
users are women. How are women using the web? According to a poll
conducted net wide by British Marketing Researchers ICM, "86% of women
use it to keep in touch with friends and relatives, while 80% of men use
it for hobbies and interests" [Anon, p.1]. Given the natural feminine
inclination for relationships, this is not at all surprising. (I should
point out that I use the term "feminine" and "masculine" to represent
patterns of behavior- and I do not resort to "male" and "female" as
indicators of that behavior.)
Femininity is the gender of networks, traditionally seeking out
relationships to others as a means of definition. The internet chat room
is a relational technology, designed to facilitate communication. The
forums are constantly available and usually on going. Many of them have
recurring personalities, making it similar in atmosphere to a bar or
coffeehouse, with an emphasis on conversation, oftentimes with many
regulars. These places tend to function as social networks, where people
are able to discuss subjects of either specific or general interests. In
many of these forums, the regulars tend to form an emotional network,
where casual conversation can lead very rapidly to extremely open
communication and the illusion of intimacy among people residing in
widely disparate geographical locations. Since it is widely known that
feminine psychologies tend to respond to relational and social
situations, [Miller, 1981] geographical concerns seem to pose little
problem for their widespread use of these forums. It is not surprising
that women tend to overwhelm men in such rooms.
However, there is an interesting paradox that comes from looking at this
phenomenon closer. For one, online communication is considered "less
satisfying" than face to face communication by a larger number of people
asked in a survey taken in 2000. [Cummings, 2002] However, more people
are reporting that they are spending less time with those "offline"
friends as a result of spending time online [Kraut, 1998]. While these
numbers come from different studies, it does present enough information
to question how these disparities could exist.
I contend that this data suggests that the feminine conception of
connectedness could be seen as manifested in the desire for "access".
Chat rooms are very open and constant presences in most internet
connected homes and offices, and the relationships tend to develop at a
quicker pace given several factors. The time spent online, and the
anonymity of the space, which serves to encourage openness and good
faith. "The perception of trust, intimacy, and acceptance has the
potential to encourage online users to use these relationships as a
primary source of companionship and comfort" [Griffiths, 2001]. To me,
the data suggests that the actual quality of a relationship may not be
as important as the perceived availability of those relationships. While
it is not to say that there is a substitution of quality for quantity,
it may be accurate to say that maintaining one's self within a larger
context of a mailing list or chat room may serve as a comforting
affirmation of one's ability to do so, regardless of any situations
external to that online context. As Miller puts it, "women's sense of
self becomes very much organized around being able to make and then
maintain affiliation and relationships." (Miller, 1976; referenced by
Surrey, 1981.) A chat room could be accessed daily, to check up quickly
on friends and colleagues, and to quickly affirm the status of those
relationships. Could it be that this sense of self can be just as potent
when it comes in the guise of less satisfying and less emotionally
fulfilling online relationships? It is interesting to note that within a
survey of online computer users, men were more likely to describe
themselves as "lonely," whereas women were more likely to describe
themselves as "depressed" [Jackson, 2001]. Women are using chat rooms
with constant social affirmation, so loneliness is not an issue, but
those relationships do not seem to be able to provide an actual
fulfilling sense of self. The lack of authenticity and true
connectedness within those relationships could be very depressing.
This does not contradict any evidence in regards to masculine
relationships. Men are participating in online activities such as the
aforementioned mailing lists and chat rooms, and in fact, they are doing
so in a way that is strongly in line with what is now becoming the
predictable standby of most masculine theory: They are arguing,
oftentimes aggressively, and competing. One researcher, who followed a
single mailing list on the subject of linguistics- an area of study
without much opportunity for heated dissent- found that
A daunting 68% of the messages posted by men made use of an adversarial
style in which the poster distanced himself from, criticized, and/or
ridiculed other participants, often while promoting his own importance.
The few women who participated in the discussion, in contrast, displayed
features of attenuation -- hedging, apologizing, asking questions rather
than making assertions -- and a personal orientation, revealing thoughts
and feelings and interacting with and supporting others [Herring, 1994].

This would fall in line with the general consideration for competition
in masculine relationships. The idea of distance is a strong factor in
masculine relationships, which are traditionally considered to be more
"active" friendships. An adversarial style of communication is a "doing"
action- it engages the other in a debate and an argument, as opposed to
a feminine framework of empathic and supportive communication. But it
also reinforces the notion of the online space as one where the presence
of openness and intimacy is threatened and unwelcome. Therefore, it is
"safe" from the feminizing forces that could otherwise come through in a
communication forum. Note that the online mailing list is different from
a chat room. A mailing list allows for the monopolization of
conversation, and is archived to a permanent record. Whereas in a chat
room, conversations are temporal, and occur in a what I call a "chatter
formation", in that all parties are capable of speaking at once, while a
mailing list is one speaker at a time. This allows for an authoritarian
posturing in any communication, and one can write with the assumption
that the reader is giving the writer exclusive attention. A mailing list
is also similar in its properties to the "public meeting space" which
men seem to prefer in their friendships, notably because public spaces
restrict the level of intimacy that one is expected to display in public
[Walker, 1994]. However, while a chat room is usually a smaller space
with people who are there to engage in communication, a mailing list has
"lurkers", a set of subscribers who do not communicate and merely read.
This adds an element of a "public" to the mailing list which is not as
prevalent in a chat room. In this regard, a mailing list is a kind of
podium, but a podium where your face cannot be seen. This faceless,
public forum, which is completely alien from any sense of intimacy,
seems to encourage men to behave in a way that is even more masculine
than they may be in a bar, coffeehouse or other meeting place. Perhaps
because the entire nature of identity is so challenged by these factors,
the entire system of masculinity is itself challenged. It is not enough
to simply be a man online in order to be masculine- no one can see who
you are, physically. Instead, all of one's masculinity must come through
in behavior and means of communication. That this is exaggerated online
may have to do with the illusions of intimacy that the web provides-
because it is anonymous, there exists more freedom with regards to
opening up or sharing ones feelings with strangers, making it a more
threatening location to the male psyche.
I would now like to change focus to look at the phenomenon of the
internet web page. One of the sharpest rising demographics for personal
web pages seems to be teenage girls. According to research done by Media
Metrix and Jupiter communications and reported in ABC news, a large
number of teenage girls are creating expressive web pages as an
extension of their online socialization. Girls are publishing online
diaries and making themselves known on the web. This is in direct
conflict with the general assumption of non-assertive femininity,
particularly for adolescents. The dominant social construction for
adolescents has been, as Miller points out, "that this is a time when
girls 'contract' rather than expand" [Miller, 1981]. If girls are making
web pages, doesn't this mean they are breaking through the gender
barrier into a realm of self expression and assertiveness? I assert that
they are. The online environment provides an opportunity to create new
rules for communicating, and it is promising that this space is being
taken advantage of.
In a very real sense, the existence of girls web pages on the net are
evidence of a new niche for adolescent feminine assertiveness. Whereas
the masculine-defined act of assertiveness draws on bringing attention
to oneself, it is usually derived from elements of competition. The
masculine assertiveness makes references to achievements, or, as we see
in email exchanges, boasts of a superior intellect or some sort of
superlative in the realm of ability. A feminized version of assertive
behavior seems to emphasize expression but at little expense to others
and with little regard for comparison or competition. A web page is less
imposing than an online, public forum such as a mailing list. It is
interesting to note that within the information technologies industry,
mailing lists are known as "push content" whereas a web site is
considered "passive" content. A web page does not come to you, instead,
you have to seek it out- whereas emails are a "push" media which arrive,
often whether you want them or not. This also gives the web page a
strange sense of intimacy as compared to more aggressive mediums.
Whereas any comments made to a mailing list are made in a social, group
context, a web page is designed to be viewed by one person at one
location, although it can happen multiple times per day, or hour.
Nonetheless, looking at a web page is a solitary experience. Here, the
feminine desire for intimacy comes through by way of a new kind
assertiveness, in the presence of a "virtual intimacy." A web page is a
very long, one on one conversation, distributed across hundreds to
thousands of people.
It is again fitting that the flip side of this intimacy is the
existence, and use, of online internet pornography, some of which
utilize the same technologies women seek out for their conduciveness to
emotional intimacy. In this space, men are using chat rooms and web
sites in a sexual context. In chat rooms, women are looking for intimacy
and men are looking for sex. While the phenomenon of "cybersex" streaks
through both genders, there are differences in how genders engage with
it. Most notably, men are drawn towards web sites in which photographs
can be downloaded or exchanged, whereas women tend to be involved with
more "intimate" or "relational" cyber sexual encounters such as chat
rooms and one on one text messaging [Griffiths, 2001]. That men favor
photographs reflects again on the notion of resistance to intimacy, but
also works as a parallel to adolescent girls web diaries. From a
feminine perspective, a website with personal content is made more
intimate by the viewing conditions of such a site. There are invitations
to engage in dialogue by way of multiple email links and guest book
options, which turn the web site itself into a starting point for more
intimate interactions. A masculine perspective places emphasis on
different elements. For example, a pornographic image downloaded from a
website is rendered even less intimate by its means of distribution.
Newsgroups and sexualized chat rooms are still communications forums,
only in these cases, they revolve around multiple men in a mutual
observance of women in sexualized roles. This allows men to affirm their
heterosexuality while engaging in social interactions simultaneously.
Men can communicate with each other over the acquisition of pornography
much as men will bond in the presence of a sex worker at a bachelors
party or strip club [Schulz, p.397]. Connections are made through a
desire to obtain or trade images, a social network which shifts itself
away from intimacy. The images themselves are sexualized, but aside from
the production of these images, women serve almost no role in the social
aspect of these communities.
It should come as no surprise then that gender roles on and offline tend
to follow suit with each other. What this proves is that, regardless of
where these differences come from, they are adaptable. Even in a
situation of total anonymity, there is still an element of self that
must be asserted. In the case of the web, it is interesting to note that
gender is one of the most basic elements of personality that comes
through. With the advent of such a radical new forum for social
relationships as the web, there seems to be some hope that it can lead
to changes in basic human behaviors. One such phenomenon was that of
online gender switching, the idea that one gender could attempt to
masquerade as the other when online. However, it is now reported that
this has been overemphasized. According to research done at American and
Australian Universities, "while 60 percent of the individuals in both
studies said they had never tried gender switching, 21 percent reported
they were currently gender switching. Another 19 percent had
experimented with it but stopped" [Schwarz, 2000]. So, the status quo
seems to be maintained. Based on this study, which included 400 online
participants in a gaming scenario, the top reason for gender switching
was not curiosity over gender differences, but merely for new approaches
to gaming.
It appears that the internet, despite being organized by male
hierarchies in its early histories, is still a more or less open forum
in regards to gender. However, we should keep in mind that the feminine
behaviors we see here are feminine behaviors adapted to these male
structures. I would argue that even the early text messaging chat rooms
were male oriented- consider that these rooms were pure text, with
almost no capacity for emotion or creative expression. What has happened
to the popularized versions of these systems has been the addition of
graphical "emoticons" which allow the writer greater control over the
tone of their text, as well as the options to change color and size of
text. The addition of these features, on a time line, seems to
correspond with the rise of adolescent girls in chat rooms and in
instant text message conversations. Which way any possible correlation
runs would make for interesting research. What might a feminist version
of the internet look like, as opposed to a masculine system adapted to
feminine uses? Would it enable more types of power for women, in regards
to access, empathy, and ease of communication? Perhaps these questions
will be answered by technology. For example, an increase in the presence
of video phones, web cameras and teleconferencing would open up the
internet to a greater degree of intimacy, in creating a greater sense of
"face to face" communication. Of course, this same technology is already
being used in online web portals which range from open chat rooms to
pornographic communities, both of which share the same name as a
phenomenon: "Cam Girls."
It could be said that the internet does not radically alter the nature
of men and women, nor does it alter the relationships between men and
women when they interact with each other. The dynamic of power between
genders remains intact, and it remains to be seen whether technology can
spark changes in these structures, or simply serve as another means of
facilitating them.
-eryk salvaggio

Sources
Anonymous, (2002) ICM survey shows gender difference in Internet use
amongst adults. Internet Business News, Volume 7. August 20th.
Cummings, J., Butler, B., & Kraut, R. (2002). The quality of online
social relationships. Communications of the ACM, 45(7), 103-108.
http://homenet.hcii.cs.cmu.edu/progress/cummings02-QualityOfOnlineRelati
onships.pdf
Griffiths, M., (2001). Sex on the Internet: observations and
implications for Internet sex addiction. The Journal of Sex Research,
Nov. 20th 2001. Retrieved April 26th, 2003 from find articles.com.
Herring, S., (1994) Gender Difference in Computer Mediated
Communication: Bringing Familiar Baggage To The New Frontier. Retrieved
April 23rd, 2003 from http://www.cpsr.org/cpsr/gender/herring.txt
Jackson, Linda A., Ervin, Kelly S., Gardner, Philip D., Schmitt, Neil,
(2001) Gender and the Internet: Women Communicating and Men Searching.
Sex Roles. March 2001.
Miller, Jean B., (1981). The Development of Women's Sense of Self. In
Jordan, Judith V., Kaplan, Alexandra G., Miller, Jean B., Stiver, Irene
P., and Surrey, Janet L., (Eds.) Women's Growth In Connection 11-26 New
York, The Guilford Press.
Roach, R., (2001) Internet Usage Reflects Gender Breakdown. Black Issues
In Education, Volume 18. July 19th.
Schulz , J, (1995). Getting Off On Feminism. In Kimmel, Michael S., and
Messner, Michael A., (Eds.) Men's Lives 390-398 Needham Heights, Allyn
and Bacon.
Schwarz, J, (2000). Gender switching on the Internet isn't as common as
believed. Retrieved April 27th, 2003 from
http://www.washington.edu/newsroom/news/2000archive/05-00archive/k052200
a.html
Walker, K, (1994). I'm Not Friends The Way She's Friends: Ideological
and Behavioral Constructions of Masculinity in Men's Friendships. In
Kimmel, Michael S., and Messner, Michael A., (Eds.) Men's Lives 367-379
Needham Heights, Allyn and Bacon.

DISCUSSION

question - net.art works about evolution?


Hi All -

A professor at the harvard graduate school of education has asked me to
put together some links to include in an interdisciplinary presentation
about evolution. They want to include some new media artwork that deals
with the theme of evolution.

If you know any off the top of your head (or the depths of your
bookmarks) could you please email them to me?

I'm particularly interested in:

1) net.art or new media works that model evolutionary processes (e.g.
emergent type systems)

2) net.art or new media works that deal thematically with the topic of
evolution

3) net.art or new media works that take a critical stance towards the
topic of technology & evolution (i'm thinking here of projects like
metapet)

Your help is much appreciated!

bestbest,
kanarinka

EVENT

net.art: problems and promise -- panel discussion in Boston


Dates:
Thu May 08, 2003 00:00 - Sun May 04, 2003

hope that you can make it - we will be discussing a range of issues facing net.art such as presentation, aesthetics, curation, and education. we may be able to provide video copies of this event for those who cannot make it so email me if interested.

kanarinka

***********************************************
Thursday, May 8, 2003, 8 - 10pm
"net.art: Problems and Promise": Panel discussion on net.art

Panelists:

Christiane Paul, Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts at the Whitney Museum
Helen Thorington, Executive Director, New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc. ( & turbulence.org)
Martin Wattenberg, net.artist & Visualization Researcher at IBM
Anna Shapiro, Mixed-media & Installation Artist
Kanarinka, net.artist & Co-founder of iKatun

Moderated by: Pirun, Co-founder of iKatun

Free and open to the public.

***********************************************
Part of the exhibit: "info@blah: overload and organization" More info:

http://www.ikatun.com/info@blah

Mills Gallery -- 539 Tremont Street -- Boston Center for the Arts -- Boston MA in conjunction with the Boston CyberArts Festival