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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathMythical Bodies II
All New Gen (VNS Matrix), 1995

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one to continue the game with Lara in the real space of everyday life or in the space of a museum. [51] Both the creations by the fans as well as those by artists allow concluding that Lara is perceived as a sexualized object of desire, as an ‹animated doll.› In the same way that the «patches» and parodies of artistic appropriations accentuate the conventional in the construction of an ‹artificial woman› such as Lara, games can of course also be invented that appear to turn the tables: For instance when the group of artists VNS Matrix put forward their monstrous heroine «All New Gen» (1994/1995), who sets out with a wild gang of «DNA sluts» to sabotage «Big Daddy Mainframe's data banks.» [52] In her own way, this kind of heroine, who is decidedly directed at female players and because she is a monster is utterly useless as an ‹object of male desire,› is also unsuitable for upsetting traditional gender dichotomies.

Rather one might suspect a starting point for crossing gender relations in a game inviting its players to identify themselves with the game characters. Empirical studies have actually shown that only a comparably small percentage of male players describe


their relation to ‹their› female game characters as an object relationship or relationship of desire. And where there is an option, a far greater percentage prefer to slip into the role or the artificial body of a female game character. [53] Only in exceptional cases did those questioned indicate that their reason for this predilection was cross-gender identification in the literal sense. Rather, by changing genders players hope to gain advantages in the course of the game based on the functioning of stereotypes of femaleness on the part of the other players and find expression, for example, in the false estimation of aggression and strength, which can then be expressed in a willingness to help and have sympathy with the apparently weaker gender.

«Digital drag»

Can this term, which describes a conscious masquerade that refers to donning and taking off a gender body, which in turn has already been recognized or regarded as an artificial construct, also be applied to dealings with figures such as «Lara Croft»? And what would be the conditions for getting a

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