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gOgOrhythm - VNS Matrix

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The VNS Matrix (pronounced like Venus) are trying to remap cyberculture with a feminist bent. Their electronic artworks attempt to integrate feminist theory with popular culture in deliberately ironic ways while debunking masculinist myths which might alienate women from technological devices and their resulting cultural products. VNS advocates looking at one’s own Gender Render — your gendered biological construction.

I checked out an exhibit of theirs at the YYZ Art Gallery during a recent stopover in Toronto. My first experience at the show was to watch a video and achieve what they called an "optimum sensate immersion" in a "bonding booth". Modulated voice-bits said things like, "A macho bitch packing a gigabite of dense sense data", or, "My receptors are buzzing, checking my parameters — threshold high — level deep, message obscure." I have to say I didn’t leave feeling transformed or having achieved the optimum sense state for which I was hoping.

Next I checked out VNS Matrix’s game called All New Gen, an interactive computer artwork and installation piece made via a combination of still images and Quicktime videos.

In this game you become a component of the matrix, joining All New Gen in her quest to sabotage the data banks of Big Daddy Mainframe. All battles take place in the Contested Zone, a terrain of propaganda, subversion and transgression. Your goal is to infiltrate and re-map the "chromo-phallic patriarchal code." Your guides through the Contested Zone are called the renegade DNA Sluts — abdicators from the oppressive superhero regime, who have joined All New Gen in her fight for data liberation. As with many of these types of games, the outcome changes depending on what you pick. You encounter obstacles on your path such as agents of the enemy called "circuit boy". Bonding with the DNA Sluts (Gen’s posse) will replenish your supplies.

There is no moral code in the zone. You can fight with G-Slime direct from the G-Spot, or as they like to say, "The clitoris is a direct line to the matrix."


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