Can technologies originally intended
for the military, global domination, control of information, and
surveillance be used to foster self-expression and critique of visual
culture? We, the interdisciplinary team creating CYBERFEMINIST HOUSE,
believe so. The purpose of CYBERFEMINIST HOUSE is to engage people
to reflect on messages prevalent in visual culture. Participants
respond to images and create visual self-representations through
an online game. This Web-based arts game will teach how to investigate
the complex ways that power, oppression, and resistance work in
our media-saturated visual culture. Web-based gaming technology
can provide an environment for (a) problem solving, critical thinking,
and personalized/group discussion, (b) multimedia presentation of
art, (c) global resources, (d) connectivity, and (e) visualization
of social aspects of discussion and communication.
HOUSE (under construction)
the dominant computer game values of hierarchy are changed to promote
equality, destruction to cooperation, greed to collaboration, and
violence to connectivity.
use the term HOUSE as an analogy
for an ecological system of complex connections between people,
institutions, and for radical breaks from institutionalization.
The Greek word oikos, [ée-kos] literally house, means all
aspects of what works together to make a house function as a whole.
Consider the meaning of oikos/eco as prefix in concepts such as
ecology, ecofeminism, and even economics. A house analogy denotes
an ecological system of people, institutions, and ideas connected
to each other in complex ways. This concept of interrelations is
how we use the word "house" metaphorically to express
the ideology (in)forming CYBERFEMINIST HOUSE. The virtual house
is a collaborative, fluid entity that grows from the participation
of its use. CYBER refers to
its virtual nature. A virtual community, by its nature is a borderless
and fluid, yet connected, entity that can be understood as oikos
or "house." FEMINIST,
in the title of the project, refers to a specific theoretical and
pedagogical approach in which one is empowered to participate in
the world in a way that is self-critical of the impact of ones
actions. By empowering self, one empowers the larger community.
The teaching methodology is based in feminist pedagogy, an empowering
approach toward self-representation, nonhierarchical power relations,
and a respect for difference.
The five rooms initially constructed
in the CYBERFEMINIST HOUSE concern how we are inscribed in spaces
and how to transform those inscriptions to match either our embodied
experiences or the potential of our lived experiences. Key
(1) How are individuals inscribed in house spaces?
(2) What are their embodied experiences in houses?
At present the CYBERFEMINIST HOUSE
revisits issues raised by Womanhouse (a 1971-72 collaborative
installation and performance work by Judy Chicago, her students
at Fresno State & Miriam Shapiro), Betty Friedan's Feminine
Mystique (1963), Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper
(1892), and Strindberg's (1888) play, Miss Julie concerning
how we are inscribed in houses and how that inscription shapes and
denies our lived experiences in the 21st century. We collected and
considered house as symbol, allegory, analogy, and as a physical
and psychological interactive space.
2002© Karen Keifer-Boyd