Back to the (feminist) future: cyberfeminism, mixed reality and the future of digital geographies

Authors: Clancy Wilmott*, University of Manchester
Topics: Gender, Geographic Theory, Cultural Geography
Keywords: digital geographies, cyber-feminism, mixed reality, indeterminancy, geocomputation, cultural geography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Roosevelt 4, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Drawing on critical cyberfeminist theory and practice, this paper argues that feminist interventions in digital geographic scholarship offer critical scope for alternative frameworks in which the epistemic future of digital geographies might be reconsidered. It focuses on an experimental mixed-reality project where holographic architectural images are overlaid into material urban spaces via a wearable headset, exploring tensions between geometry, digitality and matter through overt cyborg spatialities and embodiments (Haraway, 1985).

Revisiting the experimentalism and radical politics characteristic of early cyberfeminism – including the work of Donna Haraway, Sadie Plant and Anna Munster – this paper argues that in mixed reality technologies, the masculine universalities of “god-tricks” (Haraway, 1988) (in Cartesian algebraic geometry and code-based Leibnizian systems) collide with situated knowledges based in bodies, memories, spaces and actions. Here, “incompleteness” (Parisi, 2017) is typical, producing what Gaskins (2015) terms a “vernacular space”, in which techno-vernacular (or, everyday technological) creativities disrupt, collapse and dismantle white, patriarchal and hetero-normative figurations of digital theory and spatiality. Thus, as this paper describes, through the friction of the cyborg, an incomplete and paradoxical relationship between digital knowledge and spatial politics emerges, pointing to the necessity of indeterminancy, situated analysis and a radical feminist politics in digital geographies

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