Brave New Girls

While co-ordinates of physical space didn’t mean anything online, the VNS girls were always on top. If cyberspace was a new frontier for experimentation and identity formation, these "brave new girls" went to places where no one had been before. And they weren’t mealy-mouthed about it either. "Infiltrate" became a cyberfeminist noun of assertion and control, hacking and appropriation.

Darren Tofts, Alephbet: Essays on Ghost Writing, Nutshells & Infinite Space

The lightbox image “Infiltrate” portrays the four members of VNS Matrix as a wonderful virus emerging from the Australian desert. This VNS Matrix self-portrait is in a sense satirical, using the masculinist trope of the hero to represent the brave new girls of the twenty-first century. Male computer artists such as Complesso Plastico had appropriated this kind of hero-posing in the 1990s, and in Silicon Valley, the techno-utopians were looking outwards to an awesomely bright techno-future (see the “microserfs” cover of Wired Magazine January 1994). The portraits of Julianne, Francesca, Josephine and Virginia were shot on black and white film and developed and printed in Josephine’s home darkroom.

The background image was a photograph of the Breakaways ranges in outback South Australia where the movie Mad Max 2 was shot. The photographs were scanned and manipulated in Photoshop software back when there was only one level of the undo function.

The Infiltrate lightbox piece was shown as part of the All New Gen installation in various exhibitions and venues as well as a stand alone artwork in several group exhibitions.

VNS Matrix, Infiltrate, Brave New Girls image, photograph on lightbox, 4 members of VNS Matrix gaze out heroically in cameos towards a technotopian future, part of a viral lineage reverberating aross space and time. The image has INFILTRATE in transparent text across the upper part of the image and VNS MATRIX Brave New Girls across the bottom
VNS Matrix, Infiltrate, Brave New Girls image, photograph on lightbox, 1993

Project Types

  • Collaboration
  • Digital Image
  • Lightbox
  • Photograph

Project History

installation (mixed media) All New Gen, VNS Matrix Exhibition . Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide, Australia
INFILTRATE lightbox 25 Years of Performance Art in Australia. Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney
Installation (mixed media) All New Gen, VNS Matrix. Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia
installation (mixed media) All New Gen VNS Matrix. Artspace, Sydney, Australia
INFILTRATE (lightbox) Chemistry: Art in South Australia 1990 - 2000. Art Gallery of South Australia


Attached Files