ADA, issue 5 on Queer Feminist Media Praxis

I am pleased to announce that, a year (and a bit) after the workshop, the new ADA issue on Queer Feminist Media Praxis that I co-edited with Alex Juhasz and Kate O’Riordan is now online!


FEMBOT Announcement:

We are pleased to announce the publication of Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology, Issue 5  Queer Feminist Media Praxis, edited by Aristea Fotoupolou, Kate O’Riordan, and Alexandra Juhasz.

You’ll notice that the Ada site has a new design – as always, our emphasis has been on accessibility, so we have had to balance aesthetic considerations with the need to ensure that the site is as accessible and usable as possible.

We are grateful to the people who worked on and provided support for the re-design: Karen Estlund, Paula Gardner, Mél Hogan, David McCallum, Bryce Peake, Staci Tucker, and Jacqueline Wallace, as well as for the support provided by the University of Oregon’s Center for the Study of Women in Society, the Digital Scholarship Center, and the School of Journalism and Communication.


Carol A. Stabile, Professor
School of Journalism and Communication/Department of Women’s and Gender Studies
Editor, The Fembot Collective

CFP: Ada, Issue 4, Queer, Feminist Digital Media Praxis

CFP Queer, feminist digital media praxis Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology | Issue 3, May 2014

Call for papers
Queer, feminist digital media praxis
Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology |
Issue 3, May 2014

Editors: Aristea Fotopoulou (University of Sussex), Alex Juhasz (Pitzer College), Kate O’Riordan (University of Sussex/ University of California, Santa Cruz)

We invite contributions to a peer-reviewed special issue that brings together artistic, theoretical, critical and empirical responses to a range of questions around mediation, technology and gender equality. In particular we are interested in exploring what the concept of praxis could offer in our thinking about the intersections of gender, digital media, and technology.

Praxis in both Marxist and in Arendtian political thought brings together theory, philosophy and political action into the realm of the everyday. Inspired from this premise, and continuing the conversations that started during the workshop Queer, feminist social media praxis at the University of Sussex in May 2013 (, we focus here on the conditions for a feminist digital media praxis. Media praxis, in other words the “making and theorising of media towards stated projects of world and self-changing” (, could be a vital component of feminist and/or queer political action. We are interested in the different modes of political action for social justice, enabled by digital technologies and social media, including theory, art, activism or pedagogy. What kinds of possibilities or impossibilities do these technologies and platforms offer for interpreting and intervening in the world?

The fourth issue of Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media and Technology seeks submissions that explore the concept of feminist, queer, digital media praxis. We welcome unpublished work from scholars of any discipline and background, including collaborative, non-traditional, or multimodal approaches that can especially benefit from the journal’s open access online status.
Topics and approaches might include, but are not limited to:

  • Affect, desire and disgust
  • Diffractive readings
  • Digital storytelling
  • Herstories, archiving and remembering
  • Feminist pedagogy
  • LGBTQ Youth
  • New media bodies
  • Imaginaries, futures and technological utopias
  • Radical art practices
  • Science, technology and social justice

We invite submissions for individual papers on any of the above themes or related themes. Contributions in formats other than the traditional essay are encouraged; please contact the editor to discuss specifications and/or multimodal contributions.

All submissions should be sent by 15th August, to They should be accompanied by the following information in the email message with your submission attachment:

  • Name(s), affiliation(s), email address(es) of the person(s) submitting.
  • Title of the text
  • Abstract of 400-600 words

Please note that Ada uses a two-level review process that is open to members of the Fembot Collective. For more information about our review policy, see these guidelines:

Important dates:

– Deadline for abstracts: 15th August 2013
– Notification of accepted papers: 1st September 2013
– Deadline for full essays: 5th December 2013
– Expected publication date: May 2014

About Ada:

Ada is an online, open access, open source, peer-reviewed journal run on a nonprofit basis by feminist media scholars from Canada, the UK, and the US. The journal’s first issue was published online in November 2012 and has so far received more than 75,000 page views. Ada operates a review process that combines the feminist mentorship of fan communities with the rigor of peer review. Read more at We do not — and will never — charge fees for publishing your materials, and we will share those materials using a Creative Commons License.

Information about the editors:

Aristea Fotopoulou is postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Sussex, working at the intersections of media & cultural studies with science & technologies studies. She is interested in critical aspects of digital culture, emerging technologies and social change, and in feminist/queer theory. She has written about digital networks and feminism, and recently, on information politics and knowledge production, and on social imaginaries of digital engagement. She currently explores practices of sharing in relation to biosensors and other smart technologies, and also works with Kate to produce SusNet, a co-created platform of feminist cultural production, art and activism.

Alexandra Juhasz is Professor of Media Studies, Pitzer College. She has written multiple articles on feminist, fake, and AIDS documentary. Her current work is on and about YouTube, and other more radical uses of digital media. She has produced the feature films, The Owls, and The Watermelon Woman, as well as nearly fifteen educational documentaries on feminist issues like teenage sexuality, AIDS, and sex education. Her first book, AIDS TV: Identity, Community and Alternative Video (Duke University Press, 1996) is about the contributions of low-end video production to political organizing and individual and community growth.

Kate O’Riordan is Reader in Digital Media and Associate Professor of Art at the University of Sussex and the University of California Santa Cruz respectively. She is the author and editor of three books, most recently The Genome Incorporated: Constructing Biodigital Identity. Her interests and expertise range from gender, sexuality and digital culture to human cloning, genomics and other biodigital symptoms. She is currently engaged in work at the intersections of art, science and media about in-vitro meat, biosensors and smart grids and questions about sustaining knowledge in feminist art and activism.

Kate O’Riordan comments at the plenary discussion: Biodigital Paradoxes (symptoms of the biodigital)

The closing plenary of the workshop generated considerable buzz and many of you asked me for ways in the material presented. Pasted below is a draft of Kate O’Riordan’s commentary, entitled Biodigital Paradoxes (symptoms of the biodigital), copied from her research blog Biodigital Life. In due course, we hope to publicise the other contributions in some format.

Linking questions about sustaining knowledge in feminist art and activism and with work on emerging technologies:

I’m interested in the biodigital – the coming together of life itself and information systems – the convergence of biology and information sciences – life modulated through digital culture – the biodigital is on the one hand a descriptive term and on that basis might have an ontology and a lexicon – but it is also a tool of analysis or diagnostic and as such it has symptoms. Symptoms alert us to what has befallen us and provide the grounds for change.

Three symptoms of the biodigital are unreal objects, medium knowledge and impossible worlds:

1) Unreal objects
We see a huge and ongoing investment of time, money and institutional resources in unreal objects e.g. genomes, smart grids, precision medicine, networks – at the same time as we see a disinvestment in lives – in the arts, humanities, education, health and welfare. These things are hinged together – unreal objects undo subjects – e.g. smart grids have no humans, the human genome project was about information, investments in technoscientific projects at best distract and at worst detract from people in their everyday life contexts where they are more concerned about how existing basic health care and education can be accessed rather than the next global science project.

2) Medium knowledges
Digitization and networks; media culture/media life; unreal objects are made in media forms; genomes inhere as digital artefacts; smart grids are about strangely human-less ecologies with objects communicating through an exchange of signals – like the internet of things; or ubiquitous computing environments with new hierarchies of servitude. Medium knowledges—formed in the social media paradigm—both proliferate and cannibalize.. We compulsively seek to share with one another as our actual bodies are networked, photo-shopped and plastic surgeried out; the press release is the news and the audience is the advert; medium knowledge is Wikipedia and Google, and their biomedical allies; the receding of book publishing and of professional writers, the reduction of access to formal education at the same time as the explosion of writing, teaching and knowledge and media making in everyday life.

3) (Under)whelming worlds
The vision of the cloud is an underwhelming world – a paradigmatic object par excellence of unreal objects and medium knowledges – it promises to hold the underwhelming world of an indefinite excess of big data (for which the question of human scale meaning is endlessly deferred) – and networked everything – in its heavenly haze. At the same time it demands resources for server farms, deforestation, strip mining, mountain top removal, war, fossil fuel extraction, nuclear power, industrial farming. These all provide the substrate for worlds which are rapacious in their demands for resources.

A second, much more obscure but non-the-less paradigmatic project of these biodigital symptoms is de-extinction. The concerted effort to bring back extinct species in the pursuit of both reparation for – and the promotion of – technoscientific business as usual. From the impossible human-free eco-imaginaire of clouds, smart grids and cloned tigers and other big science dreams – to the actual impossibility of sustaining the pursuit of happiness in times of economic disaster and the threat to life of a superheated planet – underwhelming worlds are a symptom of the biodigital. Funding is poured into big science projects that promise revolutions and technological fixes, whilst exacerbating inequality and demanding resources. At the same time money cannot be found for the lived experiences of everyday life – for cushioning against the viciousness of precarity – for a livable life for all, for education and for health.

The axes of these biodigital symptoms – materiality, knowledge, worlds – are also the concerns of feminist media art and activism. The paradoxes of the symptoms of the biodigital are that reparation does revolve around the same axes –– the space of unreal objects is also generative of creativity and an invitation to make things up – to invent – or make up: but also to make up in the other sense of to make up for: reparation – the imaginative and the ethical conjoined.

This takes me to medium knowledges that exploit the audience as advert but also invite us to promote things worth knowing – media making offers an opportunity to create new institutional dynamics through media platforms and re-inventions of the social in a time in which those institutions that have done the work of marginalization and destruction of the social themselves are threatened and revised. Medium knowledges become a platform for possibility.

Underwhelming worlds – both imagined and experienced – can be reworked and the life of the mundane and everyday can be connected to the ecological, and the global

In this paradoxical landscape of biodigital symptoms it is possible to both work with emerging technologies and their big (un)real and destructive dreamscapes and to take something from them to work with the everyday, the creative and the marginal. In this context we are making a small intervention with the construction of SusNet a feminist network that couples itself with the technoscientific dreamscape of unreal objects, medium knowledge and impossible worlds. On the one hand it is a utopian impulse towards a network of people that is also a media platform, that sustains knowledges and enables connection. However, on the other hand it is also a small group of people, a small amount of money and a set of actual practices that ask people to reflect on their own practices and histories of collaboration and connection and motivations in order to materialize the rather utopian unreal object of a network, create medium knowledge, and re-institute a kind of worlding through an account of feminist media art and activism and its connections and solidarities as well as disconnections and antagonisms – (in the context of biodigital symptoms.)

[this is a draft of material for today’s roundtable]

About the plenary:

Radical art practices, feminism, new technologies and performance

Maria Chatzichristodoulou (a.k.a. Maria X), Kate O’Riordan (UCSC/Sussex), Joanna Zylinska (Goldsmiths)

Discussant: Sally-Jane Norman (Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts)

This plenary aims to enable discussion about new technologies, digital and other, in relation to gender, sexuality and the body – and to weave some common threads across art, science and theory. At the same time, it seeks to enable a space for experimentation and performative mode of action, as it summons its own publics, initially in the physical space of the workshop and later in its digital materialisation (in the SusNet platform).

The framing question to the participants of this plenary aims to find some common ground between them and to also identify differences: How do digital technologies shape your artistic practice, politics and/or research?

The more specific question aims to link the plenary and the workshop as a whole to the larger project of sustaining networked knowledge production, which is the EPSRC/CCN+ funded network project SusNet: What are some challenges to and opportunities for radical, alternative or critical knowledge production (in its different modes, e.g. art, theory, or other modes of practice) within institutionalised contexts today (including digital ones)?


Sussex Gallery from Alex’s keynote

Alex Juhasz has put all the objects up (there were a lot of them) on the FOS site in the Sussex Gallery:

(hope you all take a peek).

Here is what Alex wrote:

I’d be interested and grateful to hear any of your thoughts, comments, concerns, criticisms about the “assignment” as a comment on the blog itself (or via email, or elsewhere), here’s where I asked you for it:

I write more extensively about this tactic here in an article on Fembot, if you are interested in more of my thinking:

“I hoped this process, and the site, would encourage feminists who I met in person to engage with me and my work more akin to how we might interact on the feminist-Internet (interactive, archived, accountable, mobile, resplendent with short little shared user-made objects). A room like the Internet; an Internet like a room. I love the many things that were made through these efforts, even as I can only think of them as exercises towards procedures of making feminist-things that I have yet to fully realize. The process was what mattered: the sense of excitement, shock, playfulness, worry, and community that was produced in each and every place along the road when I unmade academic protocol by asking audience members to respond to my scholarly talk by making something. Make they did, and many of the objects were quite extraordinary (especially given how quickly they were made), and all of them were generous and generative.”

Here’s the video I made for you all, too:

Lisa Duggan’s Atlas Shrugging: The Impossible Queer Desire of Ayn Rand, 19 May 2013 Sussex

Lisa Duggan’s Atlas Shrugging: The Impossible Queer Desire of Ayn Rand, 19 May 2013 Sussex.

I am back from the Second Annual IFjP Conference (Im)possibly Queer International Feminisms (University of Sussex 17-19 May 2013) where, after chairing an interesting panel on Queer research methods and pedagogies, I attended Lisa Duggan‘s keynote address Atlas Shrugging:The Impossible Queer Desire of Ayn Rand. This talk was particularly interesting for me because I am at the moment…read more in LoopingThreads, by Aristea Fotopoulou

Lisa Duggan’s Atlas Shrugging: The Impossible Queer Desire of Ayn Rand, 19 May 2013 Sussex.

Thank you all for yesterday!

Dear All,

Thank you for making the SCCS Queer, feminist, social media praxis workshop a space of  dialogue and debate, exploration and experimentation, possibility and promise. We were delighted to have the opportunity to engage with such diverse and fascinating projects and with so many (80!) interesting people.

We would love to hear back from you – particularly comments about what the workshop meant to you. We really value your feedback and it will help us write a report for the event. Here is the feedback form:

If you have photos, blogposts and tweets from the day, please send me the links – we’re doing a Storify of the day and we will update the blog and the facebook page with this.

We will also be in touch soon about how to access the recordings of the sessions and with a CFP for the publication Queer, feminist, media praxis.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Best wishes
Aristea and the organising team of the SCCS Queer, feminist, social media praxis

Traumfrau Brighton Q&A session tomorrow

59260_102681103267818_1618828301_nWe are delighted to announce that Traumfrau will be doing a short Q&A in the afternoon panel New Media Bodies.

Traumfrau Brighton is a queer art collective, inspired by the riot grrrl movement, who organise dance nights with elements of DIY zine- and print-making. They create an ‘intellectual dancefloor for the unusual crowd’, where participants are invited to acknowledge and celebrate their admiration for strong, inspiring women-icons, or ‘traumfrau’. Their series of traumfrau posters circulating in social media has already left a mark in the Brighton community.

Trigger warning for the performance by Lashings of ginger beer time

A message from Lashings:

One of the acts we will be performing comes with a trigger warning for (distressing imagery of and conceptual engagement with) violence, rape, and objectification. This act will be flagged up in advance within the show, and seats near the door will be reserved for anyone who feels they need to leave during this act. For more information about this (or any other content), feel free to email us on or approach any of us on the day.

Screening: The Owls, Duke’s at Komedia, Thursday 16th May

The workshop Queer, Feminist Social Media Praxis, Eyes Wide Open Cinema,and the Centre for the Study of Sexual Dissidence



followed by Q&A with the producer, Alex Juhasz
Duke’s at the Komedia, Thursday 16th May, at 6.30pm


owls_MA_cricket_poolA funny, mysterious and humane generational anthem, THE OWLS is an experimental thriller/film noir about four “Older-Wiser-Lesbians” who accidentally kill a young lesbian and try to get away with it. Raised in the shadow of “pathological lesbian” films like THE FOX, THE CHILDREN’S HOUR and THE KILLING OF SISTER GEORGE, the OWLs once embraced the utopian vision of Lesbian Nation. Now, approaching middle age, the revolution has eluded their dreams. Caught between a culture that still has no place for them, and a younger generation indifferent to their contributions, the OWLs face an emotionally complex set of circumstances that have yet to be compassionately and truthfully addressed.

owls_MA_iris_houseTHE OWLS’ screenplay is by Sarah Schulman (best known for her novels AFTER DELORES and PEOPLE IN TROUBLE), is based on a story by writer/director/professor Cheryl Dunye (THE WATERMELON WOMAN, SHE DON’T FADE, STRANGER INSIDE), and stars some of the most popular underground artists in Lesbian Cinema, including Guinevere Turner (GO FISH, The L Word, AMERICAN PSYCHO), V.S. Brodie (GO FISH), Lisa Gornick (TICK-TOCK LULLABYE) and Deak Evgenikos (The ITTY BITTY TITTY COMMITTE).

owls_RS_Cheryl_Dunye2010 | USA | 66 min.

Director Cheryl Dunye
Writers Sarah Schulman, Cheryl Dunye
Producers Candi Guterres, Ernesto M. Foronda, Alexandra Juhasz, Augusta Einarsdottir, Cheryl Dunye
Co-Producers Molly Sturdevant, Skip Snow
Cinematographer Alison Kelly
Cast Guinevere Turner, V.S. Brodie, Lisa Gornick, Deak Evgenikos