the clitoris is a direct line to the matrix
In 1994 the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) invited VNS Matrix to create a poster for the Centre’s Esensual Fragments public art project. As mxtrxes of remix, the group decided to cut and mash text and imagery from the cyberfeminist archives, mainly their own.
At the head of the full-colour poster in a deep rose-coloured font was the line ‘The clitoris is a direct line……..to the matrix’, a quote from their 1991 ‘A Cyberfeminist Manifesto for the 21st Century’, with some ellipses added for good measure. At the bottom of the poster, in a transparent font through which a blue and white sky glimmers, was a line pirated from the British theorist and cyberfeminist Sadie Plant, ‘the future is unmanned’.
The imagery took multiples of the pretty pink sea anenome that earlier had formed the basis of the Cortex Cromes, the wise wizened beings that had offered a voice for the archetypal hag in the All New Gen game. The ‘Infiltrate’ image (originally made as a lightbox for the All New Gen gallery installation, and somewhat of an ‘ad’ for the group, with its tagline VNS Matrix, Brave New Girls) was then inserted into the tentacular creature, creating a viral horde populating (if clearly not yet mutating) across shards of green and purple (Suffragette colours?) Cartesian grids.
Interestingly, although VNS Matrix received some equipment loans and help to assist with the poster’s production costs, at least one of sponsors requested that their name and logo go unacknowledged, perhaps sensing that their multinational corporation would not be ready to be publicly associated with the all-powerful clitoris.
A few hundred copies of the poster were displayed on bus stops and other public sites around Melbourne, Australia in 1994. Unfortunately almost no documentation exists of the poster in-situ, as perhaps the Matrix was having too much fun elsewhere. A wall of the posters that were graffitied over was exhibited inside ACCA during August 1994.
Although the poster has been exhibited a couple of times since then, its main method of proliferation has been in the form of gifts to friends and accomplices.
the future is unmanned
- Digital Image
- Public Art
- Public art commission: full-colour poster dispayed on bus stops and other public sites in Melbourne, Australia. E-sensual Fragments. Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), Melbourne, Australia
- Exhibition Dark Rooms: Women Behind the lens. Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
- Exhibition All New Gen. Artspace, Sydney, Australia
- Esensual Fragments, Australian Center for Contemporary Art 1994, VNS Matrix Public Intervention project media release [pdf 334.5KB]
- esensual fragments Australian Center for Contemporary Art VNS Matrix pathogenic vectors public events program flyer [pdf 1.27MB]
- Working the Screen in RealTime + On Screen: Working the Screen 2001, 2001