[NetBehaviour] Furtherfield in Support of Ada Lovelace Day
a.derieg at eliot.at
Sat Mar 28 16:45:22 CET 2009
Although I wrote a short blog post about my grandmother on our family blog for
Ada Lovelace Day earlier this week, I am happy to take advantage of Ruth and
Marc's invitation to mention some of the women who have inspired and
encouraged me - this is the short version in comparison with what has been
going through my mind:
My name: Aileen Derieg
I work as a translator with an emphasis on Contemporary Art and New Media.
My web site: http://eliot.at
Again and again, reading Judith Butler's books has helped me to feel not quite
so powerless in a world that I do not agree with. The way she questions
things that seem to be taken for granted, proposing radically different ways
of understanding the world that make so much more sense – her books are
certainly among the most important I have read in my life.
A description I read many years ago as a young student of Faith
Wilding's "Invitation to a Burning" was what first captured my attention and
awakened my interest in Faith and her work. Years later I was even more
impressed to realize how she had continued to develop and evolve her work and
ideas. When I first joined the Faces mailing list in the late 90s, I nearly
fell off my chair when the first response to my introduction was a personal
welcome from Faith. Having admired and looked up to this woman for so long, I
was deeply touched by her response.
A few years ago, in the midst of a conflict, when I was feeling sad and low, I
was standing at a window looking down on an empty space, which made me think
of "Invitation to a Burning" again. I wrote to Faith then and told her how
sad I felt, how I missed the kind of exhilarating actions that have meanwhile
become part of art history. I was very grateful for and encouraged by her
response. To me, she is not only a fascinating and inspiring artist and an
intelligent and thoughtful writer, but also a wise woman.
I first became aware of Margarete through the "Poptarts" section of Telepolis
that she and Kathy Rae Huffman were responsible for, so I think in many ways
Margarete was really the one who first introduced me to the possibilities of
feminist digital art. What I especially love about her work is the way all
the many layers are ultimately transparent. Even though some of her writing
may appear confusing at first glance, there is a depth and fundamental
coherence to it that I find fascinating. As engaging as her work is at a
first look, as often as I come back to it and look again, I invariably find
there is always even more to it.
Like Margarete, Amy is someone I admired first, long before I had the pleasure
of becoming personally acquainted with her. The first time I heard of Amy's
work was when she received an Honorary Mention in the Prix Ars Electronica
for the "Multicultural Recycler". When we later met through the Faces mailing
list, I thoroughly enjoyed her sense of humor and her delightfully geeky
interests. As we have stayed in contact since then, this is what I continue
to especially appreciate and enjoy. What I love about Amy's work is the way
the humor, the not-so-serious view of things, is rooted in a very serious and
well founded understanding of the issues at stake. She has an amazing ability
to grasp complex issues and condense them into concise and witty statements.
Some years ago there was an interesting thread on the Linuxchix "issues"
mailing list about how the women subscribed to the list became involved in
computing. All the stories were wonderful to read, but the one that
completely blew me away was Paula Graham's. Not very long after that, I had
the great pleasure of meeting Paula at the Eclectic Tech Carnival in Graz,
and she has been very high on my personal list of most admired women ever
I'm not sure whether Paula actually invented the term "accidental techie", but
she is certainly the person I learned it from, meaning that when any kind of
group reaches the point where they need to use technology, *somebody* has to
figure out how to do it. Paula is most insistent about convincing other women
to be self-confident and self-reliant enough – no matter what their
background – to become that *somebody*. One of the most important lessons I
have learned from Paula is that women don't always need to be "nice", and
that can be quite a liberating insight.
In so many words: http://eliot.at
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