403 Access Forbidden or: A Backend of One’s Own. Hacking Spaces Toward a Cyber_Feminist_City

Aktivität: Vorträge und GastvorlesungenKonferenzvorträgeForschung

Maja-Lee Voigt - Sprecher*in

To this day it remains a question of power who is granted the right to visibly take up and claim urban space; both physically and virtually. A societal and literal “Room of One's Own" (Woolf 1929) is still not a given for people who define as women and/or queer. Rather, it is not only floor plans and cityscapes in which gendered bodies hardly find unconfined spaces or representation; discursive and online realms often turn out to be equally restrictive, patriarchally dominated, and misogynic. Additionally, as urban automation advances in an
increasingly 'smarter' city, everyday processes are more and more controlled by algorithmic architectures of oppression. Repeatedly neutralized as 'objective' in public discourse, artificial intelligence systems such as facial recognition software, however, often function as urban gatekeepers: they decide who is allowed to occupy public space and who, like Women of Color, is categorized as 'suspicious' - and thereby determine social participation.
Yet feminist hackspaces resist these heteronormatively programed technologies. Following five months of ethnographic research on German-speaking cyberfeminist collectives and their (gender) hacking practices in 2021, my contribution asks to what extent models like those of a smart city do justice to the lived space and diverse realities in the city. My analysis shows how hackspaces attempt to increase accessibility to interfaces, (digital) spaces, and decision-making processes by sharing their tech-knowledge through open source solutions, educative illustrations, and visions of otherwise urban futures. Their activism demonstrates how (urban) hacking is a crucial practice to break with non-democratically controlled digitalization processes: in favor of a cyber_feminist_city for all.


Beyond Smart Cities Today: Power, Justice and Resistance


Malmö, Schweden

Veranstaltung: Konferenz