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Sit In Series by Karin Sawetz, publisher Fashionoffice
(log series through March and April 2013, Vienna)

Sit In Series Log: Day Nine
22 March 2013

Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4 - Day 5 - Day 6 - Day 7 - Day 8 - Day 9 - Day 10 - Day 11 - Day 12 - Day 13

Today, I will throw light on women's activities with focus on interactive media, art, design at the Mz Baltazar's Laboratory in Vienna. When I received the information about the upcoming exhibition 'Penetrating the black box' by the Portuegese media artist Patrícia J. Reis, I thought at first 'Women and technology?' and remembered my first contact with the computer and the digital world. During the years from the first contact until now there 'flowed much water down the Danube' such as the Austrians say.

fig.: The photo shows me during a walk at the Danube in Vienna, March 2013.

It was in the early 1980s. My first computer was not a writing device but the 'apparatus' for the music sampler/keyboard and mixer console where I felt Laurie Anderson alike. (I was in the age when people are choosing their role models; even my hair style was 'Laurie Anderson'-short.) Never discovered any music talent but the computer with sampler fascinated me as school girl. I mixed music rhythms with self-recorded sound loops from my surrounding into Brian Eno ambient music alike tracks spiced with minimal music, new wave appeal. The new technology turned me into a composer! The people around me talked about building computers - some really built hard- and software for new machines, the Chaos Computer Club was the club to be, and they fixed the telephone handset with rubber holdings onto a device for the connection with others via computer. When I saw this the first time, I was very surprised that the phone can carry information for the computer. The screens of these computers were black and had green or white text. No pictures, no other colors - Bill Gates and Steve Jobs hadn't invented the comfortable computer programs in the early 80ies.

Was it Laurie Anderson on her keyboards singing with digitalized coded (sometimes man's) voice in the 80ies (I love her song 'Language is a Virus'), there were again women who impressed me the most in the mid-90ies when the internet was opened for commercial use. At the first public provider in Vienna, women organized groups for technological newcomers. This magazine you are now reading in started at that time with a research on interesting websites about fashion online. The results were published online and as printed guide (a link list, each link with short description of the content) to give a first taste of the information which can be found on the web. The 'FashionAvigator'-guide was printed because only few people in Vienna had access to the WorldWideWeb in the mid-90ies.

In the early 2000ies, I continued my work with computers after my media studies at the University of Vienna and taught there as Universitäts Lektor - which is as much as Associate Professor, in Online Market Research with focus on media publications. So probably, I kept Laurie Anderson's song 'Language is a Virus' through the last twenty years of work in my mind - even when the research was not about online media but print publications such as French Vogue and the representation of women in fashion (Media and the Communication of 'Beauty'. A Semiotic Analysis of the Female Role...).

But back to Mz Baltazar's Laboratory in Vienna and Patrícia J. Reis' exhibition 'Penetrating the black box' which opens on 23 March (18.00) and can be viewed until 7 April 2013 at the lab in the 15th district in Vienna.

Patrícia J. Reis (born 1981 in Lisbon) presents several of her art works on her website such as 'Myself as Diana' or the 'Digital Skin' which are about the female body in the digitalized world and the relation between subject and observer.

Mz Baltazar's Laboratory is dedicated to digital arts and knowledge transfer between women. They create art with Open Source Soft- and Hardware and approach technology with passion for art and self-expression: "We see the process of demythifying technology as a fun way to articulate ourselves and become creative."

Patrícia J. Reis' 'Penetrating the black box' is about the effects of interaction in private and public life. She visualizes the interaction with two photo cameras in a black box which are directed by the automatic program of a mechanical apparatus. The black box cameras with mechanical apparatus are 'hosted' in one shop window, while the second shop window shows the effects of the interaction. The artist's technical documentation of her work can be viewed by the visitors inside the space of Mz Baltazar's Laboratory during the time of the exhibition from 23 March until 7 April 2013.

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