On both 10 June and 18 June a new session was organised in Muntpunt in Brussels by the Just For The Record team entitled Bots, robots, cyborgs, exploring the writing of non-human agents like the bots on Wikipedia.
If recent studies have shown that women represent a very small minority amongst the contributors of Wikipedia, other studies also show that a majority of its most active and founding contributors were and are non-human actors called bots, who seem to escape the gendered binary that we apply to human bodies.
Since the creation of the internet, some people have seen in the cyberspace a promise to go beyond gender, race and class. A space to construct an “empowering virtual reality”, as Essex Hemphill phrased it in his conference On the Shores of Cyberspace, Black Nations/Queer Nation? in 1995. In her Cyborg Manifesto, Donna Harraway presented the figure of the Cyborg as a post-gender, fragmented identity. She invited feminists to get involved with technology. Yet these same researchers noted already that off-line boundaries also exist in cyberspace. Since then researchers have noted the many ways in which on-line representations are structured around gender, race and class.
In our two upcoming events, we will take as object the Wikipedia bot: what is the gender of this denizen of cyberspace? Can the bot ever be, like Wikipedia wants itself to be, neutral? (project page)
Wiki Loves Art preparations
Wiki Loves Art, the two months long photo contest about art in Belgium that starts on 1 July, had a busy month full of preparations. A series of visits to various institutions (GLAMs) took place, and one central presentation for a number of organisations together in Brussels. This is the first time we organise Wiki Loves Art in Belgium, and with ten participating museums, this number is higher than we aimed at. Having experiences with Wiki Loves Monuments, Wiki Loves Art is a much more complex project due the diversity of the participating organisations - even while we have a basic set of guidelines that apply for them all. One of the biggest differences in comparison with Wiki Loves Monuments is that most of the museums are not open for two months long for Wiki Loves Art, only some are, mostly they are only open during special events. The first special event is coming up on 14 July.