blog entry

blog entry

predominantly male versus male

"Hackers, gamers and cyborgs" by Brendan Keogh
"The story of computers transitioning from the flesh to the digital, from the clerical (feminine) to the militaristic (masculine), provides a compelling origin myth for the digital computer." is a great sentence. where clerical (feminine) is in the context of women being the first "manual computers", where the name "computer" came from - it was good to see that the writer acknowledged this.

BUT this paragraph needs to be clarified:
"Even as computers became increasingly significant devices in the last decades of the twentieth century, they remained entrenched in broader patriarchal structures that inscribed them as mathematical, scientific, important – that is, as male. They were embedded, more often than not, in parts of society already explicitly gendered: the science lab, the maths classroom and, when they moved to the home, the son’s bedroom rather than the daughter’s."

I think the writer should add a "predominantly" to next paragraph: "that is, as male" --> "that is, as predominantly male" & another clarification in the next sentence also. it was not "explicitly gendered", it was "predominantly gendered".

because there were and are some women who fit his example, myself being one. it was always annoying to be classed as "male" in this regard, when clearly, I and other women are not male. university researchers even did studies on us (two) female engineers at work in late 1980s/1990s asking how we felt to be doing "male jobs" which I found to be strange since I was doing my job, so how could it be a male job. & since I did physics (albeit only girl in class), chem, higher maths when at high school the statement is not true that it's male only. it needs to be clarified: "predominantly male", yes ok, I can agree with that

these statements are still annoying. as if we don't exist / are invisible.
and there are many more girls & women doing these things these days also - just as there were other women when I started, and women before me too. plus I did have a computer at home growing up (it was in the loungeroom so both I and my sister could use it, not the bedroom), not only the boys did. I programmed it too. as everyone did back then. and I'm sure there were other girls doing it too, across the world.

I can't see where to comment of the article, so ranting here (& twitter). if anyone has the writer, Brendan Keogh's contact pls let me know so I can let him know. if he's a PhD candidate at RMIT University then surely he should know better. I'm surprised his supervisor allows these declarative statements, and the editors of Overland Literary Journal too. with all the articles every day about women leaving technology you'd think people would start writing the history more accurately. adding one clarifying word can make a difference. women have been written out of history already too much!!

and now that article is in print, for yet another inaccuracy to continue. it seems things will never change.

I find it completely ironic that Brendan Keogh should write an article about gamergate and women in gaming "in the context of the broader patriarchal structures" and yet he write about women in computing / technology by applying those same patriarchal structures, leaving them out of history, and even though he admits that the article is flawed, does not want to correct the mistakes or improve it. how different is this to gamergate really anyway? to me, it's the exact same attitude.

it's just annoying and disappointing. when people write the history of tech / computing without women, and especially the exact examples used in that article which I know to be incorrect (as I was doing them) it feels like they are dissolving the past ~30 years of my life. why wouldn't they just add 1-2 words to include women in tech. someone else complained about his comments on gamers being male-only too, so I was glad to read it wasn't only me taking issue with it. not that it made much difference.

and yes, I was playing games during this time also - it's not a male-only characteristic as is implied later in the article.

I'm disappointed in overland too - I expected more, especially after reading their values on 'about' page. so much for "democratisation of politics and culture, providing room for diverse and marginal voices alongside the established and the authoritative" & the rest

update: I posted this on the Overland Facebook page for the article also. I was sent the author's contact details via twitter and had a conversation with him about changing the article. it may be possible to have the web version updated, but sadly the printed version will still be inaccurate.

update 20/04/2015: I asked the author, Brendan Keogh, how the update was going and he said he wasn't going to update it.
he also questioned why I replied to his tweets so my followers could see - well, it's not so they could reply also (although one friend did), it's because I believe it's safer for women, online and offline, to have witnesses when dealing with difficult men, which he proved himself to be

Brendan Keogh @BRKeogh · 11m 11 minutes ago
@AliaK Hi! Saw your tweets but didn't wanna just jump in. Ultimately, yes I agree. I leave things implied that should've been more explicit

@AliaK: Apr 16 @BrendonKeugh hi, I think there should be a few clarifications rather than declarative statements in your article.
@AliaK: Apr 16 @BrendonKeugh I enjoyed the history you wrote about, but it's not 100% male. I wrote my comments on overland fb page
@BRKeogh: Apr 16 @AliaK Hi! Saw your tweets but didn't wanna just jump in. Ultimately, yes I agree. I leave things implied that should've been more explicit
@AliaK: Apr 16 can you have the article changed? @BRKeogh it makes a difference
@BRKeogh: Apr 16 @AliaK possibly tho it's just a reprint of a print article. Do you just want 'overwhelmingly' replaced with 'predominately?'
@BRKeogh: Apr 16 @AliaK Or am i misunderstanding which part you take issue with?
@AliaK: Apr 16 @BRKeogh overwhelminly is fine. the paragraph starting with ""Even as computers became increasingly significant devices" needs clarifying
@AliaK: Apr 16 @BRKeogh "that is, as male" -> "that is, as predominantly/overwhelmingly male" whichever word, just to clarify not imply 100% male. +
@BRKeogh: Apr 16 @AliaK Right I getcha. I meant 'inscribed as male' as in 'naturalised by society as male' not 'only males use computers' but i see how...
@AliaK: Apr 16 @BRKeogh + "in parts of society already explicitly gendered" this needs clarifying too. explicitly reads as though it's 100% male, when not
@BRKeogh: Apr 16 @AliaK ..that is unclear. Really I should've used 'masculine', not 'male'.
@AliaK: Apr 16 @BRKeogh even masculine is not correct. I think if you wrote 'inscribed as male' even, it would have been better.
@AliaK: Apr 16 @BRKeogh as there are women/girls doing these things too, how can it be male-only or masculine-only. it's not logical. majority, sure
@BRKeogh: Apr 16 @AliaK well my intent was to say 'inscribed as male'! 'Inscribed as x, y, z--that is, [inscribed] as male'
@AliaK: Apr 16 @BRKeogh each declarative statement saying male only, just belittles women's work. we are ignored enough as it is without continually being
@BRKeogh: Apr 16 @AliaK but maybe. I should've repeated the verb rather than have it implied that's the verb the clause is linking back to
‏@AliaK: Apr 16 @BRKeogh written out of history
@AliaK: Apr 16 @BRKeogh I've made suggestions on how to improve the wording. I'll leave it up to you to decide what is best to use
@BRKeogh: Apr 16 @AliaK But i don't think I ever say 'male only'. Huge difference between a space being inscribed/naturalised as male and...
@BRKeogh: Apr 16 @AliaK no women at all being in that space. I say as much explicitly further down to stress that point.
@BRKeogh: Apr 16 @AliaK And I appreciate the feedback. Thanks!
@AliaK: Apr 16 @BRKeogh "that is, as male" - where are the female here? explicitly gendered - the son’s bedroom rather than the daughter’s.
@AliaK: Apr 16 @BRKeogh each sentence should be correct or it's wishy washy anyway.

update 20/04/2015: I asked the author, Brendan Keogh, how the update was going and he said he wasn't going to update it.

@AliaK: Apr 20 how did you go changing the overland article @BRKeogh to be more inclusive of women in tech? it still seems unchanged?
@BRKeogh: Apr 20 @AliaK I respect & appreciate your critique of the piece but I don't agree that edit needs to be made and I won't be changing it, no.
@AliaK: Apr 20 that's different to what you said last week? why the change of view? @BRKeogh
‏@BRKeogh: Apr 20 @AliaK I still agree the piece overall could be better, which is what I said last week.
@BRKeogh: Apr 20 @AliaK Also, I'd appreciate it if you didn't move my @ to the end of the tweet to try to get your followers onto me.
@AliaK: Apr 20 why would that worry you @BRKeogh. I also don't appreciate lip service "respect & appreciate" - actions speak louder than words
@AliaK: Apr 20 you also said the web version could be updated and then proceeded to talk about what word to use over numerous tweets. then nothing @BRKeogh
@BRKeogh: Apr 20 @AliaK Well I do appreciate the feedback even if I disagree on the particular sentence. Anyway, have a good evening.

web version of the article archived 21/04/2015: (ZIP)
letter to Overland editors 22/04/2015: (PDF)

::: location:

wind and breath

"...wind and breath are intimately related in the continuous movement of inhalation and exhalation that is fundamental to life and being. Inhalation is wind becoming breath, exhalation is breath becoming wind. --Tim Ingold, Being Alive" via Debbie Lyddon's "Aeolian Pipes and Air-Songs" booklet on her textiles (felt, wax, resin & wire) sculptures at the beach (pdf)

having recently had an appendectomy operation in which the recovery left me with reduced lung capacity (bilateral pleural effusion with lower lobe collapse), these words rang true for breathing and learning to breath through my tummy/diaphragm rather than chest.

::: location:

::: category:

encryption dress

with all the talk of data retention and vintage (clothes) stores & work stuff this week, I had a great dream about an encryption dress this morning. I couldn't find anything in the store that I liked, then finally chose a dress & said this'll do. turns out it had an encryption chip in it. we couldn't find the pricelist card for it — flat, vertical cards covered in plastic frames — sort of like house listings in the window of the real estate offices. had to scan through heaps of them - layers and layers. & seems to be waterproof also as the dress becomes swimwear/togs too (changes). lots of dream spent on adventure looking for it. turns out it cost $100K due to software licence. but they waived it & I got to keep the dress & encrypted all communications from then on. I was trying to work out how it worked without a keyboard to enter passphrase. but it was new tech. touch was all that was needed. I was also worried about the chip being so close to my heart (physical location) but it was proven to be safe to wear. good dream. chip was like a square button, sewn into the fabric. gather & press to activate. the encryption dress and chip were waterproof too because at some points in the dream it turned into togs/swimmers and I was in the water, I think when I was looking for the pricecards.

maybe it means I should get back to working on the flora gps test - flora's working, & gps arrived recently

::: location:

::: category:

memory windows

I had the idea today to write a story about memory windows. I think it was after the second coffee. now I can't think of what to write - the characters. this week I've been on holidays and have been relaxing and reading. the "Exegesis" by Philip K Dick arrived (finally - it seems it might have been delayed due to a missing / between my apartment number and street number on the package's postal address).

::: location:

::: category:

piano sounds

piano sounds


Matty Fresh - Trail Blazer

today, I listened to a song that Matty Fresh had posted on facebook. very lush - lovely piano sounds & beats. I’ve seen a video interview with him where he showed the process he follows in producing a beat - digging in the crates, sampling the vinyl records, transferring to the computer.

then I had these thoughts about the piano sample taken from the record. the sound has layers of stories and human connections with it. there’s the pianist - all those years of training and practicing the piano which led to them playing that song on the day it was recorded. the composer of the original song. the booking of the sound recording studio - I can imagine the musicians in the room - the pianist at the piano, playing the song. how many times did they play this melody that day. did they get into the zone. the sound recording engineer recording the sounds - how did they adjust & tweak the sounds. was it recorded onto tape. was it a new tape or had it been used before and were there traces of older sounds already on the tape. then it was sent to the vinyl processing plant to be both archived and brought to life during the vinyl production process. were there any imperfections introduced in this process. all these steps took time. did the musician think about their performance again afterwards - wonder if they could have changed something, or if it was perfect as is. then the industry takes over and the record gets released and people buy it. who bought this record - the one that the sample was taken from. how many hands has it passed through, and how many plays did it have on people's home record players, or out & about? what were the people doing when they listened - what were they thinking. did their record players add some imperfections to the sounds by faulty equipment, or overuse? did they play the record over & over so it was almost worn out and the vinyl getting thinner and thinner with each play. at some point their lives changed and the record was sold and ended up in a dusty record bin that Matty Fresh pulled it out of and took home and added to his collection. how many other songs were listened to before this one was chosen - how many times was it played by him to be imprinted on his memory to pull it out later when this song was being created.

I read the other day about all the atoms in the world. has some of my ramblings on it

::: location:

::: category:

Sunday TINA Newcastle rain

Sunday TINA 2011 was a day when the rain set in - it was heavy at times, yet it didn't stop people attending the festival panel sessions and performances. this is recorded with binaural mics (line-in adapter - finally found the little battery for it!) on Hunter St Mall - complete with locals/passerbys talking as they walked past me

best listened in headphones

::: location:

papert ra circles

papert logo program output - I made a little program to draw sun ra circles
this looks a lot like the lisp I used to use in early versions of AutoCAD in the 90s.
(I wrote a very crude program below - first try. run it multiple times without clearing the previous)
27/09/2011 ::: program link

::: location:

::: category:

musing ai monads

15/09/2011: this AI book (Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach) is good so far. hopefully it's all like this, not just ch1 ;) am thinking a test to help with archive project would be good. [1]

prob more of a parser than AI but maybe useful to learn some natural language processing & machine learning & automated reasoning #terms [2]

saw mention of using money as the 'reward' for the atoms/monads to learn. thinking of using music instead. like real life in that community [3]

music taste -> street cred -> popularity(?) of sorts. have to know history/share knowledge/durations of participation etc. [4]

::: location:

rearranging the patterns of the atoms / monads

reading issue #7 of Soundscape: The Journal of Acoustic Ecology & Australian forum for acoustic ecology [1] - one guy has been recording sounds of beetles & found behaviours they'd missed by studying them in labs.[2] makes me think about all the sounds that have been lost. species & places lost. but sounds too

I guess there's less protection of the sounds lost since they're not living creatures. [3]

do you ever wonder if they are? little living frequencies [4]

::: location:

::: category:

beauty in the soi

I see beauty in the soi - I went for a walk around bangrak streets this evening. it's still so hot & humid 6-7pm, but there's so many things to see. I'm not the best photographer, and my camera is not that good at colours, so they've come out more muted than they really are, and it doesn't focus well in low light - especially when zoomed - but here's a photo slideshow of some of the buildings and people in the soi. a couple of times I could hear people talking and looking - like the motor-soi drivers who sit on the corner, so I snapped a quick shot and kept walking past. there's also lots of very small and scrawny street cats. I love the colours and textures of the buildings - and the windows - I can imagine people looking out of the windows to see what's happening in their neighbourhoods - though I think they also seem to spend a lot of time outside, on the streets/soi, eating at the food stalls and talking with friends. it's nice.

beauty in the soi photos

::: location:

::: category:

charoen chan and charoen krung

tonight's taxi driver got a little lost - we ended up on the wrong side of a split one way road and he couldn't find a place to turn, so we did a loop of the back streets / soi. I can't remember the name of the street nearby - at first I thought it was charoen may but it might be (thanon) charoen chan?? not too far from (thanon) charoen krung anyway, if you take an earlier exit off the highway and end up in turning sai (left) instead of qua (right) to get to charoen krung (there was a sign but we were in totally wrong lane by then.

anyway, it was great to be lost - I just love the soi! (small streets / lanes) there's so much activity - people getting their hair done at the local hairdresser, people eating at one of the many street stalls, people waiting for the bus, people at the stores - working, visiting or shopping, people just sitting out on the street / stoops talking or watching the cars and motor-soi drive/ride past. the tuk tuks. the motor soi waiting on the corner with their coloured flouro jackets and motorbikes - they're like a single person taxi on a motorbike. people at the fruit stalls. I saw a durian store and a man about to cut a durian open.

the soi feel "very Thai" to me - at least in my limited view of Thailand & Bangkok so far. perhaps "very Bangkok" or "very Bangrak" / "very Si Phraya", though the latter two I think of the Chao Phraya River too. I've walked down to the temple in the charoen krung video & back on my first weekend here - it was so hot though. I was really dehydrated and hot & sweaty when I arrived back at the hotel. "very Thai" is a phrase I hear all the time - even the Museum of Siam posed the question "what does it mean to be Thai?" in their exhibit. and the WordPlay! Writer's Festival at Neilson Hays Library a couple of weekends ago had speakers who also spoke about this and posed the question. (even though they were mostly expats! which I thought was a little strange - why wouldn't you ask a local Thai citizen, rather than an expat - granted some had lived here for a number of years..)

I'd bought and tried a durian earlier today after we went for lunch (great pad thai too!) - it was in my bag. I could still smell it - it was intoxicating in a way - the tangyness of it is really striking, though the texture is really smooth - sort of like a hard banana texture, but the taste is sweet - I kept thinking of dragon fruit punch (though perhaps that's not the right smell / taste also - have forgotten my words again). not sure if the taxi driver liked the smell of durian - I could hear him sniffing every so often. the smell changed during the evening, I couldn't eat all of it, but I had some more after dinner. it's in the minibar fridge now so the room smells less of durian. apparently it's banned on some public transport and hotels because of the smell. I've tried many Thai fruits now - most from this Thai fruits page that one of the guys from work had sent me - they've been sooo generous at work, especially with food. once I commented to one of the guys that they had a lot of food, and chats at work with food (usually at the end of the day or lunchtime), and he replied, "yes. happiness is most important" which I thought was a fantastic attitude! work pays for the food - apparently it makes the programmers work better in the afternoons. I'd say they're probably right - maybe more places should do this - it's quite common in Asia (so I've noticed) for work to provide food at the workplace.

some photos - lots of river and food photos this time. I hope to get some more of the buildings, doors, gates and windows - they have such great textures, though I feel a little strange walking the back streets taking photos of people's houses and the soi are very narrow so it's hard to get them all in frame on my nicer camera (as opposed to phone camera)

::: location:

::: category:

tweet archives

tweet archives from the friendly Sparrw bot - nothing to see here, move along :)

2011 - may

::: location:

::: category:

Bangkok - found sounds and art

some links on Bangkok sound art and digital art and other interesting blogs / media

::: location:

Hunter (SBX) - The Words

Hunter (SBX) - The Words

reflections on Hunter’s first three albums
"Done DL" Hunter and Dazastah (2002)
"Going Back to Yokine" Hunter (solo album) (2006)
"Monster House" Hunter and DJ Vame (2010)

When Walter Benjamin said in 1936 that "the art of storytelling is coming to an end" - due to the rise of the printed novel and the lowering value of experience - it is clear to see he didn't anticipate the later rise of the hip hop emcee to partly revive this craft in our modern world. In all of his albums, Hunter shows his skills as a wonderful storyteller - in the traditional meaning of the term - sharing with the listener the stories from his life. Of course, not all the stories are happy, but all have an undercurrent of hope to them. There are tales of growing up, getting into trouble and later returning to his hometown of Yokine, Perth in the songs "Adolescence", "Going Back To Yokine" and "Yokine (Drugs + Crime)". These are stories of self-discovery, and of changing his life - giving up old ways that were not working for him and focusing on music, rapping and a hip hop infused life instead. "What I Do Best" has the feeling of "coming home" to a community of supporting people and finding your place in the world. There are stories of mateship and the value of community with his Syllabolix (SBX) family and crew. There are stories of having children and the specialness that can bring to one's life in "Ultrasound" and "Kids of the Future". Also, there are stories born from remembered advice from his father littering his rhymes - as it seems his Dad is always close to his thoughts and words - "Kids of the Future", "The Big Issue", "Me Old Man".

Hunter has great comedic sense too - with the songs about relationships bouncing along at a steady pace. The stories of lust, the virility of youth and some of his experiences with women are some of his more popular songs. In these songs, which he describes as “nothing nice”, he tells of the women’s role in the tales. Often these stories are the most explicit, in language and description, yet there’s an undercurrent of humour to them, often hinted by the light and playful melodies that waft over the beat, which leads me to think perhaps they shouldn’t be taken too seriously at their word. The stories of relationship breakdowns and coping mechanisms in “Never Trust a Woman” are as tense as the subjects, and show that we often end up hurting those we love the most. “Coming Home” is a song about making mistakes and some of the consequences, and suggests (to me) that it’s related to “Zed”.

“Zed” is the most powerful and emotive song on his albums so far. He describes the depths of despair—taking yet another fall, thoughts of suicide, and saying good-bye. Hunter’s rapping style changes during this song—to a softer tone, almost spoken word—the enthusiasm has left his voice, to match the sombre words he is sharing with us. Upon first listen I wasn’t sure if it was him rhyming—I had to check the album liner notes to confirm—he sounds very dislocated from his normal voice and self.

I’m not even sure if I was meant for this place
so after I’m gone, please let them know
that I didn’t want to feel pain
I didn’t want to cause it
so I had to go
couldn’t swim against the flow
kept getting sucked down to the depths below
where the sun don’t even show
not even a distant glow
and we all need some sunlight to grow
it’s like a chain hanging round my neck, dragging me down
after a week you probably won’t even notice I’m not around
I used to love the sound
of waves crashing down
I want to get so lost that I can never be found
under the ground
or maybe high in the sky
nobody knows where we go when we die
so I guess this is good-bye

Hunter ponders “The Big Issue”—a mixture of his own thoughts with some long-remembered advice from his father on how to live your life, and how to cope with what life brings. There are words on pain and what it means, and of course, his ideas on the meaning of “The Big Issue”. The lyrics in this song show a higher level of consciousness, connecting the soul and mind to the heart,

I want to hear the sound of people supporting
The soul is the emotional organ
your brain has got the thought in
your heart feels the distortion
where your mouth keeps talking
and your legs keep walking
pain is just a warning, a caution
and everybody gets served a portion

The powerful and moving “Say a Prayer” says thanks to the “best friends a man could have“. It also sounds like a message for his son and those close to him—it’s at once an apology, confession and explanation of his life. For me, this is one of his best songs—Hunter has summarised his life and beliefs in these few stanzas—he has distilled his life into this one song—and shows the spiritual side of his self in a subtle and beautiful way. Be prepared to shed a few tears over this song.

please, understand what I tried to do
is be strong enough to walk alongside with you
. . .
you know I made mistakes, too many to mention
now I need to be forgiven without condition or question
my confession, yes, I made a fucken mess
but I wanna get it back to become one of the best
and I’ve been blessed
with the best of friends a man could have
and I damn should have
thanked them before this time
so I’ve gotta take the time
in the middle of this rhyme
to say Thanks
. . .
I try to do the right thing
and time and again
I keep fucking it up
and I really don’t know when
I’m going to get it back
on the right track
and I’m sorry to you all
but I want you to know that
I forgive myself
‘cause I found the connection
that forgiveness and atonement leads to redemption
every second, every step and every breath
brings us one step closer to death
and what’s next
do you love the life you live
and do you live the life of love
and is that going to be enough
to get you going, through the times ahead
because it’s going to get rougher like the Good Book says
I had a revelation, that God will move Heaven and Earth
and we’ll all get exactly what we deserve
in the end,
will Kharma be a foe or friend
please Say A Prayer
as the dark descends

Hunter writes from the soul—he shares his soul with those who listen—especially with those who listen to more than just the upbeat, party songs. There have been ups and downs in his life-story, just as there have been in each of his listener’s lives. The difference is, that Hunter’s life is laid out for all to hear in his rhymes as he contemplates life, and the experiences of his life. This reminds me of the lines highlighted by David Toop, in Seamus Heaney’s poem “Personal Helicon” which are uttered as the subject looks at himself in the reflection of water at the bottom of a well: “I rhyme / To see myself, to set the darkness echoing”. (2010: 134)

weaving, sadie plant, geekgirl & cyberfeminism

last weekend I did a Spinning & Weaving class at Sydney Community College with Pat Davidson, and a yarn & fibre dyeing class in the Blue Mountains with Wooldancer. both were great - though I am now behind in answering uni philosophy class questions ;) this week I also came across Travis' actionweaver site via @spindexer. I made one of the card looms using his template on the site. I didn't use the backstrap though and because I'd folded the card - I'd only had photo paper available so it's not the most sturdy of looms - it became weaker. I've ordered one of his portable laser looms, so it should arrive over the next couple of weeks. photos of my first attempt :

::: location:

::: category:


Subscribe to RSS - blog entry