First Meeting of FemTechNet ¡Taller! in San Antonio

By Penny Boyer

At Week 1’s FemTechNet ¡Taller! session there were a total of 21 women present.  As the talleristas arrived into the Lidliker Room at Geekdom between 6:30 and 7pm, Martha Rosler’s 1975 video, Semiotics of the Kitchen, was playing on a loop  (6:29 min. performance video).

Penny Boyer began the Taller with an overview and orientation of the various FemTechNet websites and an introduction to the Suggested Syllabi/Reading Lists.  To prove the readings were not necessarily onerous, Boyer projected the essay, “A day without feminism” <http://www.uri.edu/artsci/wms/aday_without_feminism.pdf> and had the group read the beginning of it in round-robin fashion with each woman reading aloud one sentence.  Part of the Riot Grrl Manifesto was also read aloud by a woman who had some familiarity with it.

First meeting of the FemTechNet ¡Taller! in San Antonio, Texas, at Geekdom. Facilitated by Penny Boyer and Laura Varela

The VNS Matrix manifesto was projected momentarily.  Boyer explained that other media was on the syllabi, like video; she showed the trailer for Forbidden Voices: How to Start a Revolution with a Laptop and introduced the group to the work of Cuban writer Yoani Sanchez and her blog, Generation Y.  The talleristas then introduced themselves.

Laura Varela (L) and Penny Boyer (R), co-facilitator of FemTechNet ¡Taller! in San Antonio, Texas, at Geekdom.

Following a five-minute break, we watched the first FemTechNet weekly themed video, Labor: History of the Engagement of Feminism & Technology, Judy Wajcman, Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics, interviewed by Anne Balsamo, Dean of the School of Media Studies, The New School.  To transition from the “Labor” video into a group discussion, ¡Taller! facilitators had invited Kelly Schaub, a Geekdom entrepreneur, to discuss the program she directs, CSA-San Antonio: Community Supported Art! “CSA-San Antonio is a subscription service for locally produced art.  Similar to the boxes of fruit and vegetables that one might get from a local farm as an agricultural CSA, CSA-San Antonio offers ‘shares’ of art to feed the public’s cultural appetite. Over the last 20 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy seasonal food directly from nearby farms. With the same buy-local spirit in mind, Community Supported Art is a similar endeavor to support local art and artists, and to help sustain a healthy arts environment in San Antonio.”  This presentation led to a group discussion followed by adjournment at a little past 8:30pm.