Feminist Worldbuilding in the Australian Cyberswamp

Claire L. Evans

There is no Big Nurse in the VNS Matrix manifesto, and no Ms. Smith. In A Cyberfeminist Manifesto for the 21st Century, us is a “modern cunt,” and them has a name: Big Daddy Mainframe. He is an Oedipal embodiment of the techno-industrial complex; cybersluts must slime his databanks to end the rule of phallic power. It is as much an exercise in worldbuilding as a manifesto. Later, in their computer game All New Gen, VNS Matrix would flesh out this world, depicting Big Daddy Mainframe as a Wall Street suit with a corporate logo where his head should be—a cyberpunk Magritte. His henchmen are “Circuit Boy, Streetfighter, and other total dicks.”


Cyberfeminism was nothing if not many different, often contradictory, movements at once. “Cyberfeminism only exists in the plural,” pronounced the Swiss art critic Yvonne Volkart at the second International two years later. It could never be trusted to mean any single, specific approach to feminism at the dawn of the internet. The internet tends to refute specificity, favoring instead the multiple, making cyberfeminism—in all its slipperiness—if nothing else, representative of the medium.

Publication Details

Online Journal
Feminist Worldbuilding in the Australian Cyberswamp
Claire L. Evans
Rhizome, Oct 27, 2016, English
Rhizome, New York NY USA

Attached Files

Projects Referenced