Cross-readings along the axes of myth:
This chapter is an effort to build an ironic political myth faithful to feminism, socialism, and materialism.
An origin story in the 'Western', humanist sense depends on the myth of original unity, fullness, bliss and terror, represented by the phallic mother from whom all humans must separate, the task of individual development and of history, the twin potent myths inscribed most powerfully for us in psychoanalysis and Marxism.
The cyborg appears in myth precisely where the boundary between human and animal is transgressed.
It is certainly true that postmodernist strategies, like my cyborg myth, subvert myriad organic wholes (for example, the poem, the primitive culture, the biological organism).
So my cyborg myth is about transgressed boundaries, potent fusions, and dangerous possibilities which progressive people might explore as one part of needed political work.
Which identities are available to ground such a potent political myth called 'us', and what could motivate enlistment in this collectivity?
But what would another political myth for socialist-feminism look like?
One important route for reconstructing socialist-feminist politics is through theory and practice addressed to the social relations of science and technology, including crucially the systems of myth and meanings structuring our imaginations.
The boundary is permeable between tool and myth, instrument and concept, historical systems of social relations and historical anatomies of possible bodies, including objects of knowledge.
Indeed, myth and tool mutually constitute each other.
Sex, sexuality, and reproduction are central actors in hightech myth systems structuring our imaginations of personal and social possibility.
CYBORGS: A MYTH OF POLITICAL IDENTITY I want to conclude with a MYTH about idendty and boundaries which might inform late twentieth-century political imaginations (Plate 1).
I look briefly at two overlapping groups of texts for their insight into the construction of a potentially helpful cyborg myth: constructions of women of colour and monstrous selves in feminist science fiction.
In my political myth, Sister Outsider is the offshore woman, whom US workers, female and feminized, are supposed to regard as the enemy prevendug their solidarity, threatening their security.
Writing has been crucial to the Western myth of the distinction between oral and written cultures, primitive and civilized mentalities, and more recently to the erosion of that distinction in 'postmodernist' theories attacking the phallogo-centrism of the West, with its worship of the monotheistic, phallic, authoritative, and singular work, the unique and perfect name.
Cherrie Moraga (1983) in Loving in the War Years explores the themes of identity when one never possessed the original language, never told the original story, never resided in the harmony of legitimate heterosexuality in the garden of culture, and so cannot base identity on a myth or a fall from innocence and right to natural names, mother's or father's.
Sister Outsider hints at the possibility of world survival not because of her innocence, but because of her ability to live on the boundaries, to write without the founding myth of original wholeness, with its inescapable apocalypse of final return to a deathly oneness that Man has imagined to be the innocent and all-powerful Mother, freed at the End from another spiral of appropriation by her son.
Writing marks Moraga's body, affirms it as the body of a woman of colour, against the possibility of passing into the unmarked category of the Anglo father or into the orientalist myth of 'original illiteracy' of a mother that never was.
There is a myth system waiting to become a political language to ground one way of looking at science and technology and challenging the informatics of domination-- in order to act potently.
Glitch Manifesto [EN] (2009)
The user has to realize that improving is nothing more than a proprietary protocol, a deluded consumer myth about progression towards a holy grail of perfection.
Glitch Manifesto [EN] (2009)
Within software art, the glitch is often used to deconstruct the myth of linear progress and to end the search for the holy grail called the perfect technology.
Glitch Feminism Manifesto [EN] (2012)
The moment of one’s participation in sexual activity online where the myth of AFK (“Away From Keyboard”) and IRL (“In Real Life”) that comprise the two sides of Jurgenson’s digital dualismduality collapse, and, in the collapse, realize their dazzling potential.
Xenofeminist manifesto [EN] (2015)
Like every myth of the given, a stable foundation is fabulated for a real world of chaos, violence, and doubt.
Also specific to A Cyborg Manifesto [EN] (1984):
women cyborg labour socialist cyborgs the Western colour reproduction science and unity historical organism fiction as theory homework experience domination feminist boundaries boundary high of innocence stories potent The tech politics relations radical language organic One Cyborg political woman s men myth race gender consciousness US her writing feminism