"a crisis in se_Mantics: gendered symbols and notion" in computer graphics imaging

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Computer Graphics Imaging, CGI, is a rapidly growing industry permeating a variety of disciplines such as the military, the arts, and the sciences. Despite its state of the art character, CGI is a gendered technology manifesting itself in gendered disciplines. The application of CGI marks two highly significant events: one is the virtual and real experience of sexualized death and destruction. The other is reproduction by virtue of its presence and application in Bioinformatics.

Due to CGI's genderedness, in both instances, the image of woman and its meaning is altered while she herself remains absent. As women are portrayed through images of sexualized aggression and increasingly are invited to the front lines (virtual and real), women may potentially lose ground on that which thus far has been identified as typically female: the power of reproduction. At the heart of these developments are programming languages [code], informing technology which in turn informs culture. Code is the categorical rationalization of language, no longer instrument for lyricism or expression but the tool to command technology. To write code means to have power, or rather, code is power. Women primarily remain illiterate when it comes to the production of this powerful and influential new text.

(Source: 2002 ELO State of the Arts gallery)

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Scott Rettberg