straight up

Elvis Presley and Lynn Hershman



I divide my work into two categories: B.C. and A.D. Before Computers and After Digital. The first coincidently began in Berkeley, California. In the 1960's, I could hear amplified speeches of hero/radicals, such as Malcolm X and Huey Newton through my open windows. Ideals of community, alternatives, reprocessed media, free speech and civil rights were constantly in the air. In those next volatile years, art and life fused as I watched political performances take place in the streets, on marches and in buses and witnessed lifestyles emancipate formerly voiceless individuals into communal empowerment. I hoped for an eventual media through which small voices could be reborn into alternative identities that could reflect into the culture.

A.D. works also used ideas of reflection, often incorporating surveillance and voyeurism. A requirement of cyberspace, like that of many primitive tribes, is to create a personal mask. Masks camouflage the body and in doing so liberate and give voice to virtual selves. While disguised, personal truth can be released yet the fragile and tenuous face of vulnerability remains protected. Masks are part of the grammer of cyberspace. It is the syntax of the culture of computer mediated identity, a culture that can also include simultaneous multiple identities that abridge or dislocate real time gender and age.

Texts by Lynn Hershman
Edited by Randall Packer

Culled from the following sources:

• Website of Lynn Hershman

• The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction; lecture by Lynn Hershman at the University of California, Davis