Through an engaged feminist art practice, many of subRosa’s projects over the past 15 years have addressed the rapid development of digitized life and work in cyberspace, for example, techniques such as “life hacking,” “social networking” “crowd-sourcing” “lean production,” and “self-management”. This networked life promises to facilitate personal enhancement, enable smoother connections between humans and machines, and make life more fun in the high-speed, virtualized environments in which so many people live, work, and play.
In our research and art-making, subRosa pays close attention to what it feels like to live in this moment of compulsory self-management, self-marketing, and the enforced enhancement, upgrading, and “connectivity” of all aspects of our lives, including our reproductive capacities, and cradle-to-grave bodily optimizations. subRosa is keenly aware that this pressure to exceed the embodied self through novel gadgets, pseudo techno-sociality, useless technologies, and distracting techno-spectacle, affects many people with chronic mental, emotional, and physical anxiety and stress.
subRosa asks: How do these ever-escalating demands depress our creativity, and curtail our desire to work in common with others in RL? How can we help each other to resist drowning in the swamps of capitalist self-entrepreneurship?
Further, we ask: How does being too busy to care for the self, and for others, actually play out in our every-day lives, our relationships at home, our labour, our communities, our politics and the ability to create the world we want to live in?
subRosa asks: How can collective feminist organizational savvy, critical insights, and creative energy, be used to craft a Server with a new “operating system” that can re-connect us in mindful, collaborative, and pleasurable ways? What skills, imagination, experience, and resources do we all bring to the table? And how can we instigate active, nurturing, convivial being-in-common, both in the here where we live, and in ever-expanding global territories both virtual and embodied to which we are connected?
What are the politics of a Feminist Server? Can we hack the very concept of a “Server” to think differently about how the collective itself is a Server? How do feminist theories of the reciprocity of the personal and the political shift our perspective, and craft feminist solidarity?
subRosa proposes that the Collective-as-Server can foment feminist struggle and practices in the public/virtual sphere, as well as in personal life. The Collective-as-Server can support solidarity and collective action, and make common cause with the many different struggles for environmental, economic, social and political justice.
Description of Proposed Actions & Installation:
[excerpted from subRosa’s proposal to esc space]
subRosa proposes 3 modes of interrelated activity during our time with the Feminist Hacktionistas at esc:
1.Einladung zum taktischen Kaffee und Kuchen (invitation to tactical coffee and cake). Several conversational gatherings with interested groups and individuals, to instigate thinking, and draw up plans, for a feminist Collective-as-Server. Locations to be determined, with the last meeting to take place in Esc space on Saturday, September 20, from 3-5 PM.
2. Escapees from the CyberSwamp: Beings, costumed in the detritus of techno-materialism, will conduct drifts through the RL streets of Graz and capture suggestions for a Feminist Server in their dragnet.
3. Manifestations of a Feminist Server: an on-going collaborative installation of objects and ideas captured in the dragnet, or generated during “Kaffee und Kuchen” (coffee and cake) meetings, will grow for the duration of the Art Festival
Any and all world-changing feminist tactics and strategies will be useful to our work together, including door-to-door campaigning; public parades, marches, and demonstrations with banners and placards; occupations, consciousness-raising, fax bombardments, infiltration, public speak-outs or sing-outs, neighborhood organizing, quilting bees, wheat-pasting, postering, research, writing, publication, art-making, and digital networking.
- Down with Self Management was commissioned for Ministry of Hacking, ESC Medien Kunst Labor, Graz, Austria, Sept.27-Nov 28, 2014. Part of the Steirischer Herbst festival of new art.