This year marks the 20th anniversary of “The First Cyberfeminist International,” a meeting that took place at Documenta X in 1997. This month, a five-day conference at London’s Institute of Contemporary Art titled “Post-Cyberfeminist International” revisited those issues and updated them for the times, giving rise to a new movement known, appropriately enough, as post-Cyberfeminism.
So who are these post-Cyberfeminist artists and what theories are they engaging with today? To find out, we first have to know what Cyberfeminism was and how it became post-Cyberfeminism, if that is indeed where we are today. Here we offer a few notes on the history of the movement and where it’s gone in 2017.
Cyberfeminism is undefined—by definition.
The term was first coined in the early 1990s, but the source remains unclear. Most attribute the word to either Sadie Plant, director of the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit at the University of Warwick, or to the VNX Matrix, an Australian artist collective that penned The Cyberfeminist Manifesto for the 21st Century in 1991. (“We are the virus of the new world disorder,” the manifesto reads, “rupturing the symbolic from within saboteurs of big daddy mainframe.”)
During The First Cyberfeminist International, the Old Boys Network—an international coalition of Cyberfeminists established in 1997 in Berlin—agreed to intentionally keep the term undefined in order to keep things as “open as possible as consensual.”