Sweeping in on a soft pink wave of heart-shaped emojis, digital art activists Cybertwee bring out the “sweet and tender” side of feminism. After bonding over a mutual love of all things cute and colourful, founders Gabriella Hileman, Violet Forest and May Waver minted a manifesto championing the power of sentimentality. But it was 90s pioneers VNS Matrix that put them in the cyberfeminist mindset.
“VNS Matrix is one of the pioneering cyberfeminist matriarchies. Four women from Adelaide, Australia, VNS really made a strong effort to keep women at the forefront of coding when computers were still not very common in homes. They wrote cutting manifestos, and crafted really beautiful billboard sized digital art that has aged surprisingly well in aesthetic. They also made a game, All New Gen, with a feminine lead fighting villain Big Daddy Mainframe that that challenged gender binary at a time when PlayStation was still just a twinkle in Sony’s eye. VNS Matrix was really interesting because it approached cyberspace with porn as a starting point. Because men are 543% more likely to view porn online than women, it can be difficult to get away from examining the role of the male gaze in feminine cybercultures because of how pervasive that masculine culture is. The feminine body is highly politicized when it’s placed online, and VNS Martix directly affronted this in a way that really resonates with the goals of cybertwee, though we are interested in approaching these ideas in a different way.”
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