L’elettronica è donna, edited by Claudia Attimonelli and Caterina Tomeo for the Catelvecchi publishing house, is a choral volume that ventures into the reconstruction of a variety of languages crossing as many disciplines, from the invention of the first algorithms to the practice of DJing, from live performance to video art, from multimedia installations to sonic art, from artificial intelligence to techno, electroacoustic and experimental music.
This range of experimentation is reconstructed from the testimony of female contributions to creativity that have been forgotten by historiography over almost two centuries of technological, artistic and musical experimentation, restored in the book by different authors and with a section dedicated to the direct testimony of female artists.
The book confronts us with a frontier, on a threshold that potentially crosses feminist, trans-feminist practices; it offers the tools to understand what we might be in power, elevating ourselves from the grids of our observation guided by the hegemonic culture of the moment.
This is true in the gender difference between men and women, but also between men and other species as, precisely, Donna Haraway teaches us in her latest book where she is faced with the need to coin a new word to describe the coming era: Chtulucene.
And it is precisely Donna Haraway’s theories, starting with her Cyborg Manifesto, that have guided the curators to “delineate a cultural-historical mapping of electronic experimentation in the fields of the arts, music, and sound through trans-feminist and queer contributions”.
In addition to the crossing of disciplines that places the book on the boundary between reading and listening, in order to detach ourselves from the question of gender we learn to consider two central aspects in the generation of reality: language and the gaze.
The texts cross disciplines but also worlds, they dwell on artists and works that have stood on some kind of threshold, that have remained poised between dimensions and situations that continue to push and experiment.
Now, with the benefit of hindsight, it is clearer to understand how each work proves to be a very important trace in reconstructing the great changes that have marked today’s world that we visualise at once, suddenly (re)awakened from a slumber of years. The book traverses disciplinary genres and themes with a choral gaze to return an important testimony for those who are familiar with the respective disciplines covered, but also for those who are not.