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A Companion to Digital Art by Christiane Paul

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6Digital Art at the Interface of Technology and Feminism

Jennifer Way

This chapter examines how digital art engages with feminist approaches to making sense of technology. In particular, these approaches emphasize how “[w]omens identities, needs and priorities are configured together with digital technologies” (Wajcman 2010, 151). Key to the discussion is that we appreciate the digital nature of digital art as technology. According to Nathan Ensmenger,

No technological development of the past century is considered to be as profoundly influential as the invention of the electronic digital computer. Indeed, in most contemporary contexts, the word “technology” has come to mean computer technology.

(Ensmenger 2012, 756)

The artworld figures among these contemporary contexts. In defining digital art, typically, it conflates technology with digital computing and computer hardware and software (Wands 2006, 14). Therefore, here we adopt the artworld’s own perception about digital art. Crucially, doing so enables us to inquire how specific examples of digital art intersect with the significance that feminist and social constructivist scholars attribute to technology.

For one thing, these scholars allow that “different groups of people involved with a technology […] can have very different understandings of that technology, including different understandings of its technical characteristics” (MacKenzie and Wajcman 1999, 21). Feminist historians of technology in particular employ a range ...

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