conference call -- call for proposals and abstracts

Organizer: old boys network
(Verena Kuni, Helene von Oldenburg, Claudia Reiche, Cornelia Sollfrank)
Date: December 13-16, 2001
Location: Lichtmess-Kino

This will be a three-day conference addressing different themes each day, and including evening programs.

01. opening reception
[evening, december 13, 2001, thursday]
At the opening reception OBN introduces itself in a performative way. All speakers of the conference as well as other additionally invited CYBERFEMINISTs present their personal approach to CYBERFEMINISM during a poster presentation. 20-30 presenters are standing in front of their individual posters and explain it to the audience. The single presentations do not exceed 10 minutes and will be 'looped'. Everybody will be talking, playing and performing at the same time.

02: CYBERFEMINIST networking - knot working - not working?
[day, december 14, 2001, friday]
Due to the underlying dynamics of networks there is a permanent need to clarify the changing organizational structure and the way that individual members see the network and their roles within it. It is important that members express their divergent ideas of structure and networking and develop them into a common structure which only can be the basis for networked action and reality. Using an open format, the past, the present, and the future goals of obn will be discussed, and all kinds ot utopian visions for obn’s future will be aired. A next step will be to go beyond our own network, and to look at the condition and the potential of self-organized structures as an alternative to institutional forms within the art system, academia and politics, and discuss their relations and interdependencies.

03: ƒ (start) ƒ (shut) ƒ (stop) ƒ (open) = new border concepts
[day, december 14 & 15 2001, friday & saturday]

Mathematical functions are the core of algorithms that operate computers. Temporal and spatial borders can be written as interacting functions. Closings and beginnings, endings and openings combine and cross, thus modeling the experiences of borders we enjoy or suffer. Breakthrough, shelter, prison, invasion or escape are not neutral in terms of control. For: who is able to manipulate those functions? They are always political. Liberation was another word for a hack in the system's functions in operation, inserting the border of the real into the reality of the operating system. New border concepts perform the relations of power as well as the dynamics of variable temporal and spatial functions.

CYBERFEMINISM is no game without borders, but a playing with borders that takes them seriously, a work at the boundaries of that 'contested zone' in which the so-called real and virtual diverge, and which mines utopias of transgression, understanding them as a potential for transformation. If CYBERFEMINISM is also a utopia, then its utopian designs can be fictions as well as specific political options. In the field of CYBERFEMINISM utopias offer differentiated models for discussion which can invent new forms of communication, open up new articulations of space and time which do not only function in cyberspace, or suggest models based on genetic technologies, operating new life or gender models.

The borders between political utopia, science fiction, and technological innovations have always been fluid - beyond judgment as to value. CYBERFEMINISTs take an inventive, tactical part in furthering a perforation, diffusion, conversion, transgression, subversion etc. of cultural forms with new technological possibilities. Some points of critical and creative attitudes towards fluid borders and special concern are:

- new forms of global control and subversion through the electronic networking technology: how to obtain and secure privacy? how to react to the globalized economy and to the growing influence of global trusts on national governments?

- realities and utopian fantasies of leaving the limitations and rules of the known world behind, in outer space as in cyberspace

- manipulations of human consciousness with drugs/ pharmaceutials, psychological control, or media-related brainwashing

- incorporation of technology into the human body and genetic engineering, how to understand and invert, use and misuse the possibilities?

- new imaginations of gender with and without medical creations and redefinitions of sexual organs etc.

On the last evening of the conference there will be party, including concerts, DJs and VJs -- an evening when everybody will be crossing borders!

The live acts within 'very TRANSGRESSIVE' give an insight into technical, cultural, political and economic inventions of electronic music and sound production. They present working methods, with a special focus on the underrepresentation of women in this field. What does "feminist" mean for a female commitment in electronic music? It is a question of "technique" - a possible musical, theoretical and political "technique" in discussion with the level of media technological development.

05: brunch
[morning/noon, december 16, 2001, sunday]
A casual get together to think over the results of the conference, strengthen our bodies for the trip back home with good food, and say good-bye to old and new friends.

[06: live media presence]
In addition to changing possibilities of production we find a complete restructuring of distribution, which opens up via Internet and new methods of data compression. New relations between producer and receiver have been introduced, and provide new possibilities for individual and collective production.

Every contribution to the conference will be broadcast via live stream simultaneously through the Internet, and partly through the local radio station FSK in Hamburg.

"very CYBERFEMINIST International" hopes to address many of the issues introduced above. We invite intense conversations, controversies, speculations, papers, projects, presentations in many forms. We invite paradoxical approaches and diverse interpretations of CYBERFEMINIST theory and practice. Our hope is to expand our connections and our horizon, to include an even greater mixture of CYBERFEMINISTs than participated in the 'first' and 'next' CYBERFEMINIST International, and to work out an operational structure for obn which will allow a smoothly running program called 'CYBERFEMINIST future'.

Call for proposals/abstracts: by october 15, 2001

Please send in proposals and abstracts for posters, presentations, lectures, DJing, and music performances.

Mail to:

additional call: "The borders of ‘terror’ – media- and war techniques"

For this section at the old boys network’s conference ‘very cyberfeminist international’ (December 15th) we are looking for speakers addressing one or more of the following questions:

- How to approach the (mass) media presentation of the events since September 11th? Is it a ‘propaganda war’?
- Which strategy can be analyzed regarding the career of the word ‘terror’ in the western mass media ?
- How does the meaning of ‘terrorism’ shift compared to the related terms of ‘armed struggle for liberation’ or ‘war’?
- Can ‘terrorism’ mean symbolic acts of purposefully applying violence of any kind or is it reserved to a questionable ‘reality’ of physical violence?
- Has killing and/or the destruction of material or cultural symbols become a new guarantee of ‘reality’ of today’s western popular metaphysics?