What does it mean to be a woman in the 21st Century?
W21 is a data-feminist participatory research platform focusing on post-feminism and intersectional practice in art, science, culture, and technology. We aim to map feminist practice and to write a collaborative manifesto for the digital era, with deep considerations of gender, class or race.
W21 questions the patriarchal system of knowledge and construction of power. To do so, we use data science from a feminist perspective. As Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein frame it: "The narratives around big data and data science are overwhelmingly white, male, and techno-heroic. Data Feminism offers strategies for data scientist to learn how feminism can help work toward justice, and for feminists who want to focus their efforts on the growing field of data science. Data Feminism is about much more than gender. It is about power, about who has it and who doesn't and about how those differentials of power can be challenged and changed."
The task of W21 falls in line with Griselda Pollock’s suggested correction of a total restructuring of the historical canon as presented in Alfred H. Barr's Cubism and Abstract Art diagram: “Analyzing the activities of women [...] cannot merely involve mapping women on to existing schemata.” While a prominent reinterpretation of Barr’s diagram exists as part of Leah Dickerman's Inventing Abstraction, we are not in the long, retrospective position to delve back into an archive to draw out forgotten names and relations. We find ourselves in the place of Alfred H. Barr. W21 is compelled to rethink structural mappings of female practitioners of our immediate past and present, and immuned to archival fever.
We consider extra-disciplinary and noncanonical actors not as relegated to red-inked boundaries or external to the chart, but as deeply imbricated in the more three-dimensional network we will construct.
It is our hope that this diagramming becomes generative, autopoietic, and not dictated by the hand of a single maker. Interviews are guided by the suggestion of a previous interviewee. Collaborations are organically born out of these exchanges, as a tentacular thinking. Tentacularity is about life lived along lines — and such a wealth of lines — not at points, not in spheres, but as connections.