Hacking Feminism

A symposium hosted by The Center for Transformative Media to be held at Parsons: The New School for Design (New York) on Saturday May 9, 2015. Co-organized by Nandita Biswas Mellamphy, Patricia Clough, Svitlana Matviyenko, Dan Mellamphy.

To hack:

to cut with heavy blows in an irregular or random fashion;
to embarrass, annoy; to disconcert, confuse;
to cope with, manage, accomplish; to tolerate, accept; to comprehend;
to hesitate in speech; to stammer;
to break into a computer system by hacking;
to make a hack of, to put to indiscriminate or promiscuous use; to make common, vulgar, or stale, by such treatment;
to cut or chop up or into pieces, to chop off;
to make a clever, benign, and ethical prank or practical joke.

‘The body’ has been a central concept and site of power and subjectivity in the histories of feminism, and yet, in the age of ‘big data’ and ubiquitous computing, we are compelled to ask whether ‘corporeality’, ‘materiality’ and ‘embodiment’ have morphed into something beyond the conceptual boundaries of the ‘organic, fleshy, lived body’. Hacking Feminism seeks to gather together scholars and practitioners who are interested in exploring how the virtualization and informationalization of bodies have impacted —  even challenged — central feminist concepts and tropes such as embodiment, materiality, corporeality, affectivity, and experientiality.  How have widespread technical developments in Cybernetics and theoretical developments in Post-Humanism pushed feminist theorizations of the body away from the dialectics of individual phenomenological subjects and objects, towards multi-sensory design interfaces, trans-individual ecologies, and technically mediated embodiments? How is the rise of ambient and affective computing changing how bodies, especially ‘data bodies,’ are being measured?  Is there a ‘messiness’ that escapes the ‘measurability’ of bodies?  Or is this escapism itself a kind of romanticism? Can we still talk about a specifically feminist approach to theorizing both phenomenological (organic) and virtual (data) bodies?