Before the word “computer” was used to describe a machine, it designated an occupation that was largely performed by women at the beginning of the 20th century. Back then, computing was regarded as a woman’s job. In recent years, historians have begun describing these developments and presenting the life stories of important female computer programmers, such as the “Eniac Girls”. But how did computer science become such a male-dominated field? Why has the number of professional female programmers decreased since 1990? And how is society responding to the fact that women as designers of technological developments are marginalised?
The exhibition at the HMKV addresses these questions and presents works which explore the relationship between gender and technology in the past and present. In addition to focusing on central issues, such as cyber-feminism, the curators Inke Arns (HMKV) and Marie Lechner (La Gaîté Lyrique) spotlight new techno-feminist collectives and the feminist hacker scene which has formed in recent years. The project features female artists, hackers and theorists who work to promote an alternative view of technology by questioning the gender trends in the areas of Big Data and artificial intelligence, who are committed to an open and diversified Internet, who develop participative working methods, and who design utopian technologies and prototypes. These include the Chinese artist and programmer Yinan Song, who has developed an operating system that protects one’s privacy when surfing the web, the Australian artist Lauren Moffatt, who works with immersive technologies and whose art reflects on appropriation and sampling, the code poet Mez Breeze, and the artist and professor Stephanie Dinkins, who studies artificial intelligence in the context of gender, racism and age.
Following its run in Dortmund, the exhibition will be shown at La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris where it will be augmented by additional performances and to Eindhoven. Visitors at all three venues will have the opportunity to attend film screenings, discussions with the artists, and experimental workshops.
Curators: Inke Arns, Marie Lechner
Artists: Morehshin Allahyari, Manetta Berends, Zach Blas & Jemima Wyman, Nadja Buttendorf, Elisabeth Caravella, Jennifer Chan, Aleksandra Domanović, Louise Drulhe, Darsha Hewitt, Lauren Huret, Hyphen-Labs, Dasha Ilina, Mary Maggic, Caroline Martel, Lauren Moffatt, Simone C. Niquille, Jenny Odell, Elisa Giardina Papa, Tabita Rezaire, Erica Scourti, Suzanne Treister, Lu Yang and others