New Media and Feminist Interventions: Valie Export’s Medial Anagrams

in Avant-Garde Film
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Digital technology is still in its infancy, not yet confined to a prescribed role in society, and it has therefore become an important new medium for innovative feminist artists. This essay looks at new technologies of distribution and storage, in particular the CD-ROM, and examines how these technologies can shape the ‘older’ medium of film and its accompanying institutional systems. The CD-ROM Bilder der Berührungen (Images of Touch, 1997) by the Austrian feminist avant-garde artist Valie Export constitutes an early but thought-provoking experiment with digital storage. Instead of regarding her media art from the 60s, 70s and 80s as texts firmly grounded in the analog era, Export repackages and recontextualizes her film Syntagma (1983) and other artworks and displays them in the new digital environment. In an attempt to further her specific feminist ideological goals Export creatively transcends formal ‘borders’ and, through her art, ventures into a virtual terra incognita.

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