Feminism is digital

Claudia Reiche

Strange "Glanz"
Medial reflection
Slow-motion, repetition
Digital feminism
Beware of the Blob
Daughter of Horror


I'd like to start with a true story. My personal and true story about the documenta, from when I was still a very young girl. Must have been 17. Normally I never tell personal or true stories - but in English it may be possible. I have to admit, this is a rather private story.

Okay one night, late late at night, I was watching television with the sound turned very low so as not to wake up my parents already sleeping in their beds beside.

It was a black and white documentation on the documenta, I think in 1978. My eyes became bigger and bigger, my mouth stood open, I began to sweat and was completely excited. Very quiet. This was it, this was what I had been looking for. What I saw was coming from a freedom which I knew, I had to join. And I truly believed that this fantastic art at this documenta would change the ways of feeling, of thinking, of living, would completely change all ideas and ideologies. At least all the habitudes in everyday life, for everybody who had once noticed these art works - which I was going to see at TV just in that moment. It's bizarre, I do not recall any artist or work. Except one: Charlotte Moorman playing naked a cello. That was great: being naked, making music, making pictures and circuits of images. And I knew: My destiny: this was it, I would have to do something like that. And suddenly, I really didn't know why, I started to do something with my body. I put up my trousers legs. (in the fashions of the seventies this was easy to do) I put them higher and higher and moved closer and closer to the changing light of the images on the TV-screen and looked very very closely at my legs. Somehow like a scientist (which I should become later), with growing delight. And what I examined in this way was the hairs on my legs. It was gorgeous. Because quite suddenly I had plenty of it. Dark brown hairs on my legs, even over my knees. And believe me: I never was lovlier. I felt this had to stay, I simply was ready for a real change in my life. And so: still watching Charlotte Moorman, perhaps wrapped now in plastic foils and tied up with strings around her body, still playing the violoncello, all this had to produce one question. A riddle: Now for you as well - it's your turn - : "Where -the hell- is the woman in this story?" Is it in this wrapped and naked lady? Is it in the violoncello, making all the sounds, while being played on? Is it in the lights of the TV set, fascinating thousands of people in that very moment? Or is it in my hairs?

I apologize for this very private anecdote, but would like to dedicate it to the work of Helene von Oldenburg showing a basic attraction to the hairs on my legs.


Riddle >>
I never really found a solution for my riddle. And lived through different opinions on that question Where -the hell- is the <woman> in this story? - during the last twenty years. Today I shall try to show the different aspects and possibilities of this riddle with emphasis on the idea: that the woman is perhaps - under certain circumstances - in the changing lights of the TV-set itself. Nowadays and here at the 1. Cyberfeminist International I think we can enlarge this vision, so that the woman could be found when we look at the strange reality of the changing lights of our everyday computer-displays. The ons and offs so many times per second escaping our vision.

Now what can I say? I have to finally make a beginning. There are two theses I'd like to present: 1. The sexual difference is visible. 2. The sexual difference is invisible.

You may find this amazing or even contradictory, but I still hope to achieve your agreement that these two theses do not necessarily exclude one another. I will quote some discussions and theorists, some graphics and filmstills - as well as some experiments on perception I shall call to help for my changing perspectives on these crucial points of feminism itself: the glance and the difference.

"The glance and the difference" might sound like a silly rather arbitrary combination, something like "the shiny apple and algebra" or "eyes and the presentiment of death", or "a babys smile and the neuronnal activity of the brain" etc. But we shall look for a "missing link" between these two terms, difficult to formulate with words and images. Sometimes this seems to me like the <missing> par excellence. So I will try. This will be my subject.


Strange "Glanz" >>
Hmm, wait a moment, I just remember a strange story about the <glance>. As part of a case study from the beginning of this century which still fascinates me. It concerns a transfer from English to German as well as from words to images. It's the theoretical figure of a cross, or probably the doublecrossing a patient can play with himself or his analysts, or a writer like Freud could play with his readers, referring to passages of his writings as <theoretical fictions> a strategy I'd like to adopt in order to follow my true storytelling on the theoretical plane.

So: do you know the anecdote Sigmund Freud tells to open his article on Fetishism? It's about the "Glanz" on the nose of certain female persons, which was a patient's exclusive condition for his sexual pleasure. Nobody else could see this "Glanz". The strange story behind this fact is hidden in the english word "glance" which the German patient must have heard from his english nurse before he completely forgot this language of his early age. Freud concluded that the fetish must be a <Penisersatz>, but not any old penis, but a special one. The one belonging to his mother, normally disappearing in later years, but in this case still faithfully adored. It's clear to see, we have reached a zone, where visibilities or invisibilities can't be clearly differentiated, a sort of pictorial magic, able to produce hallucinatory effects, especially the fascinosum of pictures. Did you know that the Latin word <fascinum> means penis? The pictorial illusion par excellence.


Medial reflection >>
So I can repeat my theses now: 1. The sexual difference is visible. 2. The sexual difference is invisible. If both shall be in operation, something emerges, which has to be named a problem, but in the logical, not the tragic meaning of the word. First I shall come to thesis number 1. The sexual difference is visible. If you don't mind I'd like to start with an illustration of the visibility of the sexual difference. I'd like to stimulate an pictorial imagination by this sight. - that calls the female and male sexual organs before your <inner eye>. Please will you all shut your eyes now! and already imagine this difference. There won't be very much to say after you'll have seen it on my slide in a second, because - as always - looking at a picture tends to swallow the words. Especially this sort of picture. Please open your eyes now.

 For me this seems to be an up-to-date-illustration of a difference. For it is the state of the art of modern media technologies which makes it simple as well as impossible to answer the old question for the picture. The problematic answer has to be: A picture is data. And data consist of what? Of <pure> differences. Nothing but differences. And so my slide can be called timeless as well. At least in the Freudian sense, when he describes the unconscious as "timeless". By the way there are some parallels known between the electricity in in the integrated circuits in a computer and the electricity of the neural activity in the brain.

My slide with the 0 and the 1 illustrates the simple idea of a difference. You may think of the flow of electricity in a closed circuit or nonflowing electricity if the circuit has been interrupted. It is one or the other: 0 or 1, as these numbers do in fact represent as well something you can identify. That is: two identities. Two bits. Binary digits.

A difference: Like between two sexes. Please think of the binary sexes.

Concerning the identification of a subject, its gender, which will have been founded on pictorial perceptions, we can refer to this <pure> difference as well. In every case a child will have noticed the picture of the other sex, differing from its own reflected image in a mirror.

But - there is a hook and there is an eye. The hook is the picture, formed by the astonishing fact that a difference will be perceived by a glance at the form of a picture. Please have a look at my slide again.

  No equivalence, as may be suggested by my chosen picture of two ciphers can be found concerning gender, in a society which privileges the glance, where the psychic structuring of the infant is triggered by the glance and pictorial phenomena. After the birth it is examined if it is there or not, the male organ. Yes or no, related to a pictorial phenomenon.

I hope you noticed that a tiny but fundamental shift has taken place in my phrases. The ciphers are in this sense now connected to the male and the female identity. At the left you would now find the male, at the right the female.

Defined values are from this point of view related to the ciphers. (Or did anybody already identify the 1 with the man and the 0 with the woman?) Now it counts only if there is something to see, and there seems to be something missing at the right. What makes the <woman> in this respect? It must be at the same time a visible and identifiable image of one sex as a visible absence in this image, that sticks to her image as the invisible.

Did you notice: while describing the female side of this slide we just passed over to the second thesis, claiming that the sexual difference is invisible. (As some of you may have already noticed, nothing here is balanced or symmetrical.) Now: What about this invisibility of the sexual difference? Personally this seems much more interesting to me. Because as I said - there is a hook and there is an eye and the hook is the picture. The same slide can now serve to illustrate this hook and make us see the invisibility of the sexual difference .

According to the shift to be found in the <écrits> of Jacques Lacan, processing the linguistic turn of psychoanalysis <after Freud>, this unbalanced status of the visible has some extreme consequences for the position of the woman in our patriarchal societies, which I think we all have experienced. I mean, thinking of the picture of a female sex ("the fair sex") it comes out soon that we've left the sector of visibility (Attention!) and reached invisibility. Because: What makes this picture so sexy for us? I suggest: it's invisible parts, especially (from my point of view) the absence of a penis. We'll try to have a close-up on this, reaching finally the zone of <signifiants> which seem to be able to produce an exciting variety of hallucinatory effects, especially the fascinating pictures.

This means: Invisible on the slide would of course already have been the representation of the so called < pure> or <sheer> difference. As always: there must be two terms to represent, or more precisely: to form a difference. A difference can't exist on its own. A difference has no self. No identity.

A difference can only be perceived between two terms. But if now some of you are not convinced already, still desiring to see this difference, nevertheless the sexual difference, which makes a woman, we may try again. An additional experiment. Please have a look at this slide now.


Here I removed the two identities, in order to make the difference appear. But I think this doesn't really work. Trying to accept this as an image of an absence, we can't help seeing a frame of darkness surrounding a white picture. It does change a little but not basically if we imagine the empty slide-frame with no film in it in the projector. It's almost the same case, because we have learned too well to identify pictures. Having for instance seen thousands of beautiful colored slides of art-works or after somebody's holidays. I'm sorry but I think we can never clear our minds and images of these terms that form differences. Doesn't this look like the base of perception?

 And if now we go back to the first slide we could just as much try to see the difference itself by looking with all possible concentration at the empty space between the two ciphers. It doesn't appear, does it?

Of course, this is not such a surprise, since we just demanded to see what makes the processus of signification. Do I need to point out that there is nothing more invisible on earth than a <signifiant>? Ferdinand de Saussure says in the <Cours de linguistique générale> that language consists of differences. If you read it literally, he says that language, <la langue>, consists not of ideas, but of differences between the elements, the <signifiants>.

"Their most precise characteristic lies therein, to be something, what the others are not." And to refer again to Jacques Lacan, one could say his writings refer to nothing but the difference between <signifiants>. These differences form the structures of language and the unconscious, and also of pictorial perception. Wanting to see the image of a difference itself would mean wanting to see the impossible image of perception and the unconscious itself.

But somehow we can't think without images. There is a privilege of the glance, structuring even our abstract means of conception as a pictorial one. This would explain some impossible desires, for instance this one: to see the invisible sexual difference.

Doesn't the desire to see is as strong as the glance that always misses something? There must be something necessarily escaping the glance. Following the Lacanian anecdotes in his text <the mirror's-stage as builder of the ego function> it must be an essential blindness, structuring our pictorial perception . Blind we'll have been for the difference between a picture, which a mirror can show and our <selves>. Just in that moment (in the theoretical fiction of the Lacanian writing) when we ourselves will have been constructed as an effect of the mirror image. Of course, identifying <signifiants> with the plane of meaning, with their <signifié>, perception can be called a necessarily mistaking function. Why not admit that we are blind for the invisible sexual difference as between a zero and a one, because we always have to see pictures, and that means something else?

Admitted that a <signifiant> always is invisible, because it only can be realized in the function of a <signifié>, this can explain quite a lot about current misinterpretations of reflected images as ego or of a penis as a phallus. This means that the invisible of the sexual difference is the <phallus>, "the signifiant designated to mark the effects of the <signifié> as a whole, as Lacan writes in "The Meaning of the Phallus".

How is it possible then that the picture of the woman, considered as one of bodily imperfection, is not perceived as imperfect at all, but as the most beautiful thing in the world, so to say as the model of all pictures? The seducing picture of such a beautiful <she> must show a supplementary invisible of course. It must even show more than a missing organ. This means there must be a doubly determined structure of invisibility in the case of the pictorial representation of the <woman>. This must be a cheat, a trick, of really sublime cunning.

<Her> picture must have some attributes which seem to exclude each other, but which are the base of <her> erotic attraction. This <she> must show and claim her female identity as well as embody the sexual difference itself. A logical paradox is linked with <her> acting: trying to be at the same time picture and difference between two pictures, that is <No-Picture>.


Slow-Motion, repetition >>
To make this thinkable and this means visible in some way, I'd like to quote the function of one well know media technology, being invented for over one hundred years ago. I'm speaking, of course of the film, based on the cinematographic illusion of motion. There we can take an apparatus in motion as a technical model. I must admit I've chosen this technology, because I like to have these mechanisms of transport and the cog wheels of the projector seizing in the perforated film-strip. This creates an image, doesn't it? To give a vision of an interesting structure, of a medium and something else: the unconscious. There my intention could be found: You'll notice that of all these mechanical parts and seizable mechanisms, with all their pictorial and imaginary distinctness will remain nothing more than differences after I described it in my way. By the way this is some sort of excuse for me referring to such an old media technology, to the flickering lights in dark rooms, still quoted technically if you try to watch videos on-line, but following the line I laid out, my point will be that a connection to the ons and offs of electronical dataprocessing can easily be made. (But please forget this for the moment. I'll come to that later. Just to have already given a hint.)

The cinemtographic illusion is based on something invisible. An invisible difference between the successive picture frames on the filmstrip. Once set in motion, these differences melt together for the perception apparatus or even as Sigmund Freud called it, the <psychic apparatus>, to form the hallucinatory effect of the lifelike motion within the motion-picture.

For, if in visual perception arises the impression of moving figures on the screen, then there must have be something to see which was not there. Or- if you are doubtful, which is perhaps adept in these cases of illusion - which will not have been there. Perhaps elsewhere? If you then take out the film reel of the projector, and have a close look at the strip, every motion has gone there. It remain some identifiable figures, normally men, in individual frames.

Such a schematic representation of a filmstrip, can now be placeed on the slide with the representation of the 0 and the 1, just in the middle, the empty space <in between>, where we tried to see the invisible sexual difference.

 An illusion of a lifelike movement can't be perceived, even if we try very hard, concentrating our eyes on the little figures, aligned in the center. Or does anyone see the rising or the lowering of an arm? But the perforations on both sides of this sketched filmstrip let us imagine the form of the cogwheels in the projector and other parts that help to produce the movement of the filmstrip in the projector. The main part used in every projector now is the <Maltese cross>, a device to let the filmstrip move by fits and starts. During a shorter interval of time the film moves, during a longer the film stands still, in an alternating manner. If the filmstrip didn't stand still most of the time, there would be nothing to recognize, but only one stream of colours or greys melted all together.

But these alternating stops and quick transports of the filmstrip take place at least 16 times per second. The speed of this projection process has to surpass the speed the physiological ability of visual perception. So: what is happening between the individual frames of a filmstrip, must remain invisible during the run of the film through its projection.

Between these individual frames we should be right to suppose <the motion>. So let us now examine closely what we can see between the individual frames of this filmstrip. It's evident. There is nothing to see- any <motion> . Or almost < nothing>, just the same black line, which seems at the same time to disappoint and to encourage our desire to see, just like the black lines or circles or stars in pornographic pictures. This repeated black lines form a border and an interruption between two minimally differing frames.

There we have the same problem again, just as we tried to see the difference between the 0 and the 1. But only with a strategy of repeating this invisibility, something new can come to representation.

This repetition corresponds to the repetition of our perceptional structure by the cinematographic apparatus. This apparatus has to imitate structures of the <psychic apparatus>. If it didn't it couldn't produce its illusions on our perception, couldn' t function at all. And another conclusion can be made: The <psychic apparatus> can only be conceived by the models of media technologies.

Because these black lines between the frames are parts of a working media technology, of a working mechanism of perceptional illusion, they give us really a model of what we already tried to see between the 0 and the 1: the unconscious itself.

Isn't this a real theoretic sensation? Almost unbelievable, but believe me: These black lines bring the impossible picture of a <signifiant>, of <the phallus> to visibility. Voilá. And why not producing another theoretical climax, just now? Do you remember the Freudian analysis of the fetish as a <Penisersatz>? Jacques Lacan takes another step ahead, by claiming that the image of a <woman> has to be perceived in the function of the <phallus> to unfold its eroticism. So, where -the hell- is the woman in this story? She is - at least in my theoretically animated cartoon on this slide placed inside the apparatuses of media-technologies and perception. For there is one zone in this picture, where we directed our glance two times, trying to see the impossible picture of a difference, I'd like to situate the <woman> in this artificial zone. In the middle of a cross, forming an intersection, an <in-between>.

Who is still interested in the image of the <man>? For instance where in this pictorial construction <his> gender could be found? The answer sounds bizarre. Once again referring to Jacques Lacan, this position towards the sexual difference has to be characterized as one of illusion too. <He> has to pretend to possess this <signifiant>, the <phallus>. But for the erotic attraction of his image this has the strange consequence, that "concerning human beings the male parade appears as feminine." (cited from "The Meaning of the Phallus". )

This means for our model of the perception of the sexual difference that even the little male figure has become somewhat invisible. Transformed into the impossible image of this <she>, demonstrated in slow motion.

The difference between the raised or not raised finger, in Latin called <digitus>, has become irrelevant from this point of view. 0 or 1.


Digital feminism>>
Now I have to go back to my announcement.: to install a link from this cinematographic aspects to a possible digital feminism. This is not so difficult any more, because as I tried to show : feminism is digital, has to be and has always been. Just a moment: <feminism>? Was it all about <feminism>? Yes, because of the necessary constructions of a <she>, subject of and to <feminism> as a multitude of discriminating strategies, with the advantage of reading and rewriting the pictures and concepts of this <she>, constructed by the framing of a dominant sexually discriminating culture. I just tried to sketch one of such rewritings of a <she> in the terrain of psychoanalysis and media-theory.

Now it's time to make an explicit link to the cyberfeminist discussion, in the beginning quoting Sadie Plant from her article: "The Future Looms: Weaving Women and Cybernetics". And I think you 'll notice at once a difference to the approach I just tried to make to a <she>, as a doubly determined differential structure. How does Sadie Plant approach the <difference>?

"The computer was always a simulation of weaving; threads of ones and zeros riding the carpets and simuLating silk screens in the perpetual motions of cyberspace. It too presents the screens, the clothing of the matrix, already displaying the virtual maschinery of which nature and culture are the subprograms, and joins women on and as the interface between man and matter, identity and difference, the actual and the virtual. Cybernetic systems are fatal to his culture; they invade as a return of the repressed, but what returns is no longer the same: cybernetics transforms women and nature, but they do not return from man's past, as his origins. Instead they come wheeling around from his future, the virtual system to which he has always been heading. For the last 50 years, as his war machine has begun to gain intelligence in readiness for his last stand, women and computers have unleashed a proliferation of screens, intelligences, lines of communications, media, and simulations with which to hack it down. No longer the void, the gap, or the absence, the veils are already cybernetic; an interface taking off into his own unmanned future." (Sadie Plant: The Future Looms: Weaving Women and Cybernetics, p 134, in: Clicking in. Hot links to a digital culture, ed. by Lynn Hershman Leesoon, Seattle 1996)

Her approach to the difference (like the difference between 0 and 1) in this quotation seems to identify the difference with 0. There is something missing. 0, is that: a lack? In her words "the void, the gap, or the absence". Does the text follow without noticing the discrimination of the patriarchal tradition, accepting and repeating the prevalence of the 1? In her description, claiming historical validity, the 0 has already disappeared in the last 50 years, has mutated to the other cipher, with the growing alliance of women and computers. But as a consequence we would need a ersatz-difference, this has to be now a small and a big 1. The big 1 of course stands for the actual woman, which is: a superior< man> with the prosthesis and extension of computer technology and communication lines, a superman reigning effectively over media "with which to hack it down". <It>, the "war machine"? The <he>? The <1>? To "hack" the male (aggressive ) sex AND to glorify a concept of presence at the expense of the absence, means from my point of view (at the <difference> ) a necessary circulus vitiosus or - with the words of Sadie Plant - another "return of the repressed". What will return to her strategy? The difference between an absence and a difference. The phallus? As conceived by the theoretic approach.

I think we know this technics of representation. It's a form of incantations, a <genre> of phallic identification in daydreams of omnipotence. And we know this technics of transporting abstract terms into personification very well from films. Don't you see the beautiful young, self-confident she-hero, hacking down the evil war-technologies? Chased by old police cars, but escaping with her wonder - virtual magic car, faster, bigger and stronger than everything? A fairy-tale in animated cartoon style, made up with the title of a documentary.

Slime >>
Personally I came to prefer films with no happy ends. The others are so difficult to imagine as lasting longer than the filmreel. Happy end means, the film has to end. Because: what would be going on afterwards? In a film with a bad ending you can at least continue the story by yourself, inventing or desiring a happy one, whichever you prefer.

I think of a short dialog in "Glen or Glenda" - the unforgettable film by Ed Wood from 1953, with the more explicit subtitle "I changed my sex". "I guess I have a problem, I mean a real problem I had never to face before." "Our whole existence is one big problem after the other." And this is pronounced in such an affectionate tone that I have to refer to it later.

It's just: I love horror films. It's just - that I learned that they are all about < castration> representing the real fears of what is believed to be a <woman>. They are from my point of view all about the sexual difference, working out the mysteries of the <glance>.

So I' d like to show some scenes of an US sci-fi film from 1958 which I personally use as a theoretical magnifying lens on a fascinating literal figure in cyberfeminist writing. Just quoting two or three lines of the <Bitch Mutant Manifesto> from VNS Matrix, that are: "The clitoris is the direct line to the matrix - VNS Matrix.", "VNS Matrix terminators of the moral code, mercenaries of slime, go down on the altar of abjection".

Somehow there is the image of a so called <bad girl>, shining up in my fantasies, producing enormous, frightening masses of <slime>. Because <she> is somehow always sexually excited. She always can - you'll know what. Or what exactly does <slime> mean? This was my question and I found my personal answer in this science fiction film, called "The Blob", directed by Irvin S. Yeaworth jr. in 1958.


Beware of the Blob >>
A typical brief description, this one taken from the Leonard Maltin Review: "Endearingly campy classic of cheap 50s sci-fi has <Steven>, (Steve McQueen) in his first starring role) leading teenagers into a battle to save their small town from being swallowed up by giant glop of cherry Jell-O from outer space. Not really all that good, but how can you hate a film like this?"

This is not very precise and even worse, I think doesn't hit the crucial subject of the film. I would call it the sexual difference. You can seize this aspect much more, if you accept that the starring role is not given to Steve McQueen, but to this strange <blob>. These are the lyrics of the title song: "Beware of the blob. It creeps and leaps and climbs and slides across the floor and through the door and all around the wall. As much a splotch - be careful of the blob."

Sounds funny and sounds like an attack on identity itself. "Beware": my borders are being absorbed, my identity, my skin becomes permeable, and I don't really know who I am any more.

The film doesn't leave any doubts: these dangers have to do with sex. Especially repressed, especially returning from outer space: and this appears to be <the blob>. I find it interesting to concentrate on the position of the leading <she>, played by Aneta Corseaut. And would like to show you the representation of this <she>, which I think has to be met in a constellation with the <blob> as her alter ego. Some slides shall now show the main elements.

1. The cinema. The worst accident, the scene, where more subjects than in any other scene of the film are killed by the <blob>: That's in the cinema. That's the cinema. A film in the film about an immersion of the real. We can read on the cinema board the program of the "Midnight Spooky Show": "Daughter of Horror with Bela Lugosi".
2. This is the moment, when the masses are rushing out of the cinema. The revolutionary ideal. Interesting is: what will have been happening just before, in the cinema?
3. Now as one visual answer to this question I could show a girl's underwear. It's a glance on a petticoat. of the leading she, just being carried away from the greedy <blob>. As you may notice soon: almost all the women in the film fall down to earth, when their eyes meet the creeping <blob>.

There must be something like a recognition as in a mirror, an identification. A strange relationship which combines the murderous <blob> to the female sex and its frightening effects.

I've put together some scenes, not only resuming my personal keyscenes of the <blob> but combining them with scenes of a second film.

Daughter of Horror >>
This angle of different images and scenes reflecting each other tries to make a comment on the <film in the film>, the "Daughter of Horror with Bela Lugosi" referred to in "The Blob": the reason why the people have to leave the cinema. I looked it up, but didn't find a film with this title. Even the poster shown in the cinema does not help in this search, for it is quoting the poster of a famous sci-fi film "Forbidden Planet" (1956, directed by Fred McLeod Wilcox). I decided to concentrate on the non-fictional part of the title, the name "Bela Lugosi", because the film "Daughter of Horror" seemed to be a cunning fiction, invented for "The Blob".

In 1958 Bela Lugosi was already dead for two years, remembered especially for his early "Dracula"interpretations which became personal cult. I searched for his last films in the fifties and found a very spectacular coincidence with the female attribute as "Daughter of Horror": the very strange and wonderful film, dealing explicitly with the sexual difference, the Ed Wood Film "Glen or Glenda" from 1953, mentioned above.

My <montage>, suggests that the scenes from "Glen or Glenda" which I added to the scenes of "The Blob", are the ones explicitly referred to in "The Blob". They can give to see on a different plane what will have been happening in the cinema, causing the ultimate horror. They may now overlap, invade or even swallow the perception of the original scenes of "The Blob", showing giant masses of <blob>-material penetrating the cinema - which from behind will soon be reaching the spellbound audience. We are allowed to have a glance at the film being shown: some overacted black and white scenes, an artificial and pathetic male voice as story-teller in the off. These scenes appear to be striking similar to certain moments of <Glen or Glenda>, as to the whole visual and narrative structure - as you can find out now.

Filmstills from
The Blob
Filmstills from
Glen or Glenda


Cyberfeminism >>
I hope we'll have been seeing <slime> in the intersection of these two films - a virtual substance like <cyberfeminism>. This strange existence, crossbreeded in filmic representation from the immortal <blob> with the bordercrossing <Glen/Glenda>. I d' like to claim it for "the sex which is not one", is "ce sexe qui n'en est pas un" (Luce Irigaray, Paris 1977) or to say it with the brilliant Lacanian shortcut: "...does not exist". "Il y a une jouissance ˆ elle, ˆ cette elle qui n'existe pas et ne signifie rien."(Jacques Lacan, Le Séminaire Livre XX: Encore, Paris, 1975, p. 69) A paradoxical <she> in the space between images and words - could be the sexual difference itself and one of the sexes forming this difference. Imagine multiplying <slimy creatures>, if you like - producing short-circuits in a logic based on the principle of identity and presence.

If it were upon me, exactly this would be: Cyberfeminism.

published in:
Cornelia Sollfrank (Hg.)
First Cyberfeminist International
Sept. 20-28, 1997 hybrid workspace, Kassel
Hamburg 1998, S. 24-32