The Game Girls of VNS Matrix Challenging Gendered Identities in Cyberspace
Early in 1992 VNS Matrix released its "Cyberfeminist Manifesto for the 21st Century" to the world. The venue: Adelaide, South Australia-hardly a prominent city in worldwide, cyberculture terms. The format: a visually and textually arresting 6-bY-18-foot billboard on a major, arterial road. The message: "the clitoris is a direct line to the matrix ... VNS Matrix ... mercenaries of slime ... corrupting the symbolic from within ... we make art with our kunst ... we are the future" (figure I). In her book Zeroes and Ones Sadie Plant refers to the event as a nodal point for cyberfeminist activity, an extension of Donna Haraway's essay "A Cyborg Manifesto" of the 1980s (the essay, interestingly, also was first published in Adelaide).l The manifesto presaged the opening of VNS Matrix computer art installation All New Cen at the Experimental Art Foundation Callery in Adelaide in 1993. The installation received national interest, critical acclaim, and wildly enthusiastic reviews.2 Since the time of that modest, low-budget installation augmented versions of All New Cen have traveled around the world. The installation has been displayed at cybernetic art exhibitions, multimedia conferences, and international electronic media art shows, gathering devotees in its wake. Soon the prototype for an All New Cen CD-ROM interactive disc, entitled "Bad
Code," will be released, affording new audiences further subversive pleasures, compliments of All New Gen and her emergent matricicial creatrix, in the VNS Matrix team.