Glitch Feminism: A Manifesto (Paperback)
A new manifesto for cyberfeminism
The divide between the digital and the real world no longer exists: we are connected all the time. How do we find out who we are within this digital era? Where do we create the space to explore our identity? How can we come together and create solidarity?
The glitch is often dismissed as an error, a faulty overlaying, but, as Legacy Russell shows, liberation can be found within the fissures between gender, technology and the body that it creates. The glitch offers the opportunity for us to perform and transform ourselves in an infinite variety of identities. In Glitch Feminism, Russell makes a series of radical demands through memoir, art and critical theory, and the work of contemporary artists who have travelled through the glitch in their work.
Timely and provocative, Glitch Feminism shows how the error can be a revolution.
About the Author
Legacy Russell is a writer and curator. Born and raised in New York City, she is the Associate Curator of Exhibitions at The Studio Museum in Harlem. Her written work, interviews, and essays have been published internationally. She is the recipient of the Thoma Foundation 2019 Arts Writing Award in Digital Art and a 2020 Rauschenberg Residency Fellow.
“Our software and our wetware are constantly glitching. How could it be otherwise? Rather than try for perfect order, let’s embrace the glitch and find out how else it all could play out. Let’s just admit we’re done with the old empire of imperatives about both flesh and tech and tune in to those who are playing in the ruins, hacking their way through to another life. This book takes you there.”
—McKenzie Wark, author of Capital Is Dead
“Glitch Feminism offers wry insights into the opportunities inherent in the implications of formerly discarded traces of both ourselves and our culture. This fascinating, profound and engrossing book places Legacy Russell as one of the more provocative, radical and original thinkers of her generation.”
—Lynn Hershman Leeson, artist and filmmaker
“Russell helps us understand that the components of our identity are in fact technologies. Glitch Feminism offers a powerful shift in mindset that empowers a generation of activist remixers.”
“‘A glitch is an error, a mistake and a failure to function,’ and with this warning, Legacy Russell takes us on a lightening tour through the terminologies and theories of AFK, IRL, Glitch Ghosts, Digital Dualism, Binary Bodies, and other markers in the current lingo of on-line criticism. She translates the Internet world as she lives it right now. Russell is an important writer to follow as she points out shifting viewpoints of Internet politics in real time.”
—RoseLee Goldberg, Director of Performa
“A timely rethinking of cyberfeminism from an intersectional perspective—a deeply personal investigation of blackness and queerness in and through technology. This erudite, vividly-rendered text weaves astute discussions of contemporary artistic practices with personal narrative, capital-T Theory, and virtuosic riffs on twenty-first-century slanguage.”
—Mark Tribe, founder of Rhizome
“Glitch Feminism offers technological failure, machinic anxiety, and seams in the interface as the very platforms from which we may begin to rework singular identities into inventive networks, proposing a reboot of feminist discourse. While channeling the boldness of the manifesto form, Legacy Russell offers a nuanced look at inspiring artists whose works reprogram systems of race, gender, and sexuality in the virtual places between living bodies and data bodies. Here, the paradox is the opportunity: the glitch shows you how things work, just as they don’t.”
“Russell’s book is as expansive and plural as the identities it explores, considering art, aesthetic theory, queerness, Blackness and anti-Blackness and, necessarily, the modalities and futures of activist practice.”
“Combining art, tech, feminism, Blackness, queerness and critical theory, Russell offers an alternative to error and encourages us to embrace the glitch.”
—Karla Strand, Ms. Magazine
“Luminous … [Glitch Feminism is] a gorgeous document of a number of mostly Black trans, queer, and gender-nonconforming artists working today, from E. Jane and Juliana Huxtable to Shawné Michaelain Holloway, and American Artist.”
—Rahel Aima, Bookforum
“Glitch Feminism is a vital new manifesto and Russell’s research as a curator breaks new ground on themes of gender, performance, digital selfdom, internet idolatry, and new-media ritual.”
“A pocketbook, guide, and beautiful envisioning of a radical art history … Glitch Feminism upends the notion of ‘glitch-as-error,’ reapplying the term in a cyberfeminist context to explore how the glitch disrupts the governance of race, gender, and sexuality.”
“Glitch Feminism portrays the online avatar as a laboratory where black, queer, and gender non-conforming artists have explored, experimented, and ultimately expanded notions of the self.”
—Mikkel Rosengaard, Bookforum
“The feminism we need to break and remake the systematic regimes of power, not just in the digital world (and where is that line anyway?) but from the bottom up.”
“Compelling … Russell is concerned with how race, gender and sexuality influence and affect the way that our identities are performed, but she’s not in search of a simple answer or an easy way out. She asks whether we can free ourselves from our bodies, not just on the Internet, in a forum or on our phones, but all the time … What is radical and genuinely exciting is the conviction that [Russell] has in glitch feminism as a political project outside of the mainstream, as a form of collective joy and identity-making.”
—Sanjana Varghese, Hyperallergic
“Glitch Feminism is a rallying cry, a recapturing of cyberfeminism oriented to include and spotlight the many queer and non-white voices who in their practice live out the awesome potential of an enmeshed digital feminism: the glitch … The deftness with which Russell wields language is artwork in itself. Like the vibrant contrast of the book’s cover, Glitch Feminism is a bright declaration, an ecstatic embrace of the new futures that lurk just behind hegemonic defaults.”
—Jesse Damiani, Forbes