A Feminist Server Manifesto




A feminist server ...

*Is a situated technology. Her sense of context results from a federation of competences

*Is run for and by a community that cares enough for her in order to make her exist

*Has an awareness of the materiality of software, hardware and the bodies gathered around it

*Treats network technology as part of a social reality

*Is able to scale up or down, and change processing speed whenever resources require

*At the risk of exposing her own insecurity, opens up processes, tools, sources, habits, patterns

*Does not strive for seamlessness. Talk of transparency too often signals that something needs to be made invisible

*Radically questions the conditions for serving and service; experiments with changing client – server relations where she can

*Avoids efficiency, ease-of-use and reliability because they can be traps

*Knows that networking is actually a parasitic, promiscuous and often awkward practice

*Is autonomous in the sense that she tries to decide for her own dependencies

*Takes control because she wants networks to be mutable and read-write accessible

*Faces her freedom with determination. Vulnerability is not an alibi

*Is a paranodal (we did not mean: paranoid) technology. A feminist server is both inside and outside the network

*Does not confuse a sense of false security with providing a safe place

*Tries hard not to apologise when she is sometimes not available

Judy Wajcman, Feminism confronts technology, 1991:

« It is impossible to divorce the gender relations which are expressed in, and shape technologies, from the wider social structure that create and maintain them. »

Wendy Chun, Control and Freedom: Power and control in the age of fiberoptics, 2006:

« We must explore the democratic potential of communications technologies – a potential that stems from our vulnerabilities rather than our control. And we must face and seize freedom with determination rather than fear and alibis. »

Ulises A. Mejias in Fibreculture Journal 20: Liberation Technology and the Arab Spring: From Utopia to Atopia and Beyond, 2012:

« A typical drawing of a network depicts a series of nodes connected by lines, representing the links. As a mental exercise, I want to call attention to the space between the nodes. This space surrounding the nodes is not blank, and we can even give it a name: the paranodal. Because of nodocentrism we tend to see only the nodes in a network, but the space between nodes is not empty, it is inhabited by multitudes of paranodes that simply do not conform to the organising logic of the network, and cannot be seen through the algorithms of the network. The paranodal is not a utopia—it is not nowhere, but somewhere (beyond the nodes). It is not a heterotopia, since it is not outside the network but within it as well. The paranodal is an atopia, because it constitutes a difference that is everywhere. »

Please use and abuse. License for the manifesto (added March 2017): copyleft Constant 2014, FAL http://artlibre.org/licence/lal/en/

As a feminist server, this text has many pre-, parallel- and afterlives. For some geneologies, see below, elsewhere and here: http://www.newcriticals.com/exquisite-corpse/page-8