gathering of women's voices is a showcase of new media art
being created on and off the World Wide Web. I call this show
space an 'assemblage' because it is a multiplicity. It is
a coming together of languages, skills and visions, a collection
of art texts, and an exhibit showing the act of fitting disparate
pieces together under the umbrella of gender. It is also a
unification of art parts into a new gallery and a new work
of art in its own right made of found objects. Jacques Derrida
(a literary theorist not female, feminist or a practitioner
of the new media arts but who has much to say of interest
to literature, technology and contemporary thought) sees in
text an unending combination of contexts that may be endlessly
reshuffled to produce meaning. He calls this an "assemblage."
His is a "schemata" for a general system and a "bringing-together"
that "has the structure of an interlacing, a weaving,
or a web, which would allow the different threads and different
lines of sense or force to separate again as well as being
ready to bind others together" (1). So this gallery.
together these texts does not suggest that I have tried to
reconcile the many coloured strands of thought and vision
that are being presented in women's work in the new media.
In fact, a large measure of the pleasure of these works is
each one's personal vision. You will find a variety of tones,
schools, genres and generations in these pages: prose, poetry,
theory, autobiography, strident cyberfeminist polemic, quiet
self-affirmation, innocence and experience, and visual/textual
arts not yet classifiable. You will find works that use traditional
narrative forms or language (not necessarily English) in innovative
ways, and texts that create new forms by interweaving word
and image in patterns that transform both. The common ground
here is the non-sequential--the hypertextual--use of words
and images to birth possible worlds in this new art form,
and to create present tense textual spaces for readers to
explore. Take your time in the rooms of this gallery. Read,
or ignore, the signs. Meander. Retrace your steps. Manhandle
the artworks. Stop. Stare. Play. Return again and again. Admission
is free and all are welcome.
shorter tour, see the showcase of English language selections
and highlights from Assemblage--called The Progressive
Dinner Party by Marjorie C. Luesebrink and Carolyn Guertin,
with commentary by N. Katherine Hayles and Talan Memmott--published
in Riding the
Meridian's special Women and Technology issue in February
for the trAce Online Writing Community
Derrida, "Differance," Speech and Phenomena,
trans. David B. Allison (Evanston: Northwestern University
Press, 1973) 131.
advisor to the Electronic Literature Organization, Carolyn Guertin is a Senior McLuhan
Fellow and a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of
Toronto for 2004-06. She is also a tutor at the trAce online writing school. Her own
creative and critical works have been published and exhibited
internationally in print, online and in real space.
trAce Online Writing Centre
last amended 04/01/05