Tag Archives: geeks

Geeky. Black. Female. Android.

This is cross-posted at Restructure!

In the futuristic city of Metropolis, Cindi Mayweather, a.k.a. Android # 57821, falls in love with a human named Anthony Greendown. As a result, the Star Commission schedules for her immediate disassembly. Cindi Mayweather hides in the Neon Valley Street District, while card-carrying android bounty hunters are urged to capture her for a reward. The Droid Control Marshalls forbid the bounty hunters from using phasers that day; they can only use chainsaws and electro-daggers.

Janelle Monáe, Metropolis. Suite I, The Chase. XOOO The ArchAndroid, Janelle Monae. Suites II and III. XXXO

Cindi Mayweather is actually the alter-ego of Janelle Monáe, an underrated, multi-talented American recording artist, and apparent science fiction geek. Jason Heller of sci-fl/fantasy site Tor writes of Monáe:

Monáe herself has said how indebted to the SF canon she is: In interviews she’s gushed about Philip K. Dick, The Matrix, Metropolis (a film she pays visual tribute to on the cover of The ArchAndroid), and most often Octavia E. Butler, a visionary writer whose ethnocentric SF clearly marks her as Monáe’s aesthetic godmother. […] Monáe isn’t dabbling in SF. She takes the stuff passionately and seriously.

In her lyrics, Monáe alludes to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, kryptonite, and thinks of herself as “something like a Terminator“. (On the other hand, her lyrics also include some ableist (and nonsensical) phrases like, “shake it like schizo”.)

From her first album, Metropolis, the music video for “Many Moons” is about an Annual Android Auction featuring a performance by Cindi Mayweather, in which Monáe dances erratically and does the moonwalk:

If you liked that video and want more highly-polished videos by Monáe, check out “Tightrope”, which is not sci-fi-themed but has fantasy elements and gender-liberating dancing, as well as the trailer for The ArchAndroid, in which the camera pans around a futuristic city-scape that turns out to be Monáe’s hat.


Related links (thanks, yatima):

Picspam from linux.conf.au

The narratives will come. Tomorrow, gentle readers. Till then, a picspam:

Angie Byron playing with Sridhar’s OLPC at the networking event at the Opera House.

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Angela’s picture!

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New Zealand Wool, maybe with some possum in it:

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Jamie’s “Friends Help Friends With Linux” shirt:
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My Mac talks to an Aiko/Arduino/Pebble thing:

aiko says hi!

Nic’s beer cozy mod, for a camera holder on wheelchair:

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Nancy who gave the genderchanger/etc talk:

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Girl Geek Dinner:

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Miskatonic U. Alumn, with small Ada:

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We have the same hackerspace tshirt so we must be almost related:

noisebridge tshirts

Susanne Ruthven and Andrew Ruthven and kids, conference organizers:

Linux.conf.au organizers

We are invited to do the Ka Mate Haka:

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Last but not least, the Linuxchix Gentlemen’s Auxiliary:

Linuxchix Gentlemen's Auxiliary

The Happiness Hat

Behold Lauren McCarthy’s amazing Happiness Hat. It’s knitted hat that digs a spike into the back of your head when it senses that you’re not smiling.

happiness hat from Lauren McCarthy on Vimeo.

It’s amazingly creepy and perturbing. I was reminded of how women in particular are often expected to smile or look actively happy. But further than that, a sort of relentless pressure for self-improvement. McCarthy’s video of the Happiness Hat didn’t make me think, “Oh, if I smile more I might be happier”. Instead it reminded me of the concept of hegemony as “the gun inside your head”. Police your thoughts… or else your conscience will prick you – along with the scary hat spike!

Lauren McCarthy has made a lot of other cool stuff. Take a look. From her bio: “Her work explores the structures and systems of social interactions, identity, and self-representation. She is interested in the slightly uncomfortable moments when patterns are shifted, expectations are broken, and participants become aware of the system. Her work takes any form necessary: video, performance, software, internet art, interactive objects and environments, and media installations.”