Creating a space of care and collective thinking in a time when encounters are extremely difficult was an unexpected surprise. The group grew into an intimate circle of friends sharing common interests and developing a collective practice. The collaborative process was free of pressure and expectations and allowed a process to form and develop. We shared our reading, learning and creating practices with each other and formed our collective trajectory according to everyone’s needs. A very important part of each session was a check-in to understand each other's situation and react accordingly. We all shared the interesest in feminist theory from the beginning and continued to discover it further as a group. An important text that guided us was Donna Haraway’s ‘A Cyborg Manifesto’:
“Cyborg imagery can suggest a way out of the maze of dualisms [...] It means to both building and destroying machines, identities, categories, relationships, space stories.” We became cyborgs cohabitating in our many dimensional cyber flat, leaving the categories of physical appearance, assigned identities and the laws that bind us in space behind to create a small utopia of our own. We automated ourselves into chatbots and GIFs. We created rooms for real thoughts and collages for imagined space. But before we knew what we would become we spent long hours in video chats, exchanging ideas, thoughts, feelings, knowledge, happiness, sadness and silence with each other. We formed a collective mind through networked friendship with invested endurance through virtual awkwardness.
“A cyber room of our own” began as a participatory process in order to form an online archive of memories that emerge from our bodies. Following the concept of “archive trouble” as conceived by D.Papanikolaou, we intend to create an open archive that offers a space to re-collect, re-understand and re-construct (personal) history. We called people to participate in order to form a space where we co-exist sharing our vulnerabilities, inner world and body memories.
The mailing list
After communicating through a mailing list, we started meeting on video calls. In order to get to know us better, each one of us made a presentation of the things and pieces of theory they find interesting.
Skill sharing section / titles of our individual presentations
K + R: female writing / writing from the body
D: the body as an interface
J:data feminism - feminist data
The cyber flat idea
-> ideas: intermedial exhibition, interactive tarot reading set …
-> We talked about where we meet (in an online space but always in our physical rooms) and realized that the situation was showing similarities to a living situation. We were thrilled about the idea of an actual cyberflat which we could design and build however we wanted. It created a form of comfort that was also helping to get through the times of social distancing.
-> our Hotglue page was created
A cyber room of our own for us is/means…
_a space in a spaceless space - creating intimacy in the extreme public of cyberspace - building a comfortable cave that is inviting and open while also sheltering our thoughts and ideas - no rules, not even fundamental physics, apply when it comes to the interior design
_a virtually manifested space that stands for an utopian homelike place with fluid walls and borders, an extension of our due-to-lockdown-limited, reality-dependent flats and ideas of home
_to feel at home anywhere with virtual walls that are fluid, resilient and ephemeral at the same time.
Donna J. Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century,” in Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York: Routledge, 1991), 149-181
Dimitris Papanikolaou. “Archive Trouble.” In Capitalism Realness,Future Perfect/ Past Continuous , edited by Penelope Petsini, 163–173. University of Macedonia Press, Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, Penelope Petsini, 2018.