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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathUnruly Bodies
Technology / Transformation: Wonder Woman (Birnbaum, Dara), 1976Artificial Changelings (Dove, Toni), 1998

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off to meet death but possible freedom. But this need is nothing new. In the seventies, feminists already appropriated the female superhero Wonder Woman for their own purposes. Dara Birnbaum's pioneering video «Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman» (1978?) can be regarded as a precursor to our discussion.

In other words: there is great need for unruly girls—a potential of wishes which Hollywood, television, independent films and video art evoke and satisfy to the same extent, albeit with different aesthetics and degrees of complexity. Even though Hollywood movies and soap operas tend to prefer simpler structures, we must not jump to the conclusion that female artists would in general create more complex, off-beat or critical products or unrulier wild girls.

Cracking the Bases of the Information Age

A figure that stands for a strong representation of the wild and unruly girl and her image is the female hacker operating in secrecy. In 1998 the American video artist Toni Dove produced the first part of a trilogy involving interactive video and sound installations, «Artificial Changelings,» which links the stories of two unruly


women from two centuries. One is Arathusa, an upper-class lady from 19th-century Paris who—like many other female members of the upper crust at the time—is unable to resist the temptations of the beautiful articles on sale in the newly opened department stores and becomes a passionate kleptomaniac. The thrill of the danger, the prohibited act involved in stealing trifling little things makes her life exciting, enable her to transcend the every-day order of a bourgeois woman's life. Being a product of the capitalistic and bourgeois economy, she stealthily undermines its laws without publicly denouncing them. The other woman is Zilith, the hacker, who breaks into databases and retrieves information. The only thing we learn about the reasons why the hacker engages in her activities is that she wants to explore the diffuse movements of the new decentralized apparatuses of power. In both women, the artistic message seems to lie in the facets of their transgressive acts, Dove is not interested in their motivation. This aspect is reinforced by the interactive installation which—to put it in a nutshell—is designed in such a way that the viewer more or less determines the course of the action and

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