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The Cultural Amalgamation Which Produced Mare Tralla’s Protected

The Cultural Amalgamation Which Produced Mare Tralla’s Protected

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Published by Z Amber Richter
This was my final essay for the Creative Digital Technology class for my Cultural and Critical Studies MA at the University of Westminster. The subject is Mare Tralla's Protected series because it's down with the sickness... and this essay earned me one serious A, lovers.
This was my final essay for the Creative Digital Technology class for my Cultural and Critical Studies MA at the University of Westminster. The subject is Mare Tralla's Protected series because it's down with the sickness... and this essay earned me one serious A, lovers.

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Published by: Z Amber Richter on May 09, 2012
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Z Amber Richter, ID: 13585181Final EssayMODULE: 1VIS7A9.1 - Creative Digital TechnologyCourse Leader, Alison CraigheadJanuary 19, 2012
The Cultural Amalgamation W
hich Produced Mare Tralla’s
 
Protected 
 
The first GPS satellite was launched by the US government in 1978, completed in 1995, and by theyear 2000 there was a large civilian demand for the use of GPS technology
1
. CCTV was first used inGermany in 1942 to observe a V-2 rocket launch, then again in the UK at Trafalgar square during 1960with the visit of the Thai royal family, and to surveille Guy Fawkes activities later that year
2
.In a similar vein of military orientated workings rather than peaceful creative inspiration, U.S.president 
Dwight Eisenhower’s desperation to stay technologically
on par with the Soviet 
Sputnik I 
 satellite in 1957 spawned the establishment of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network andgovernmental research commissions therein, leading to the merging of private commercial entities withthose research projects during the 1960s. During the
1980s the National Science Foundation’s funding of a
 backbone network lead to the standardization of Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) in 1982, which in turnled to further commercial expansion spawning Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and other worldwidenetworking technologies. Ultimately the web was commercialized by the1990s
3
, allowing Lefebvre's
‘leisure machines’
4
part of traditional media, to rise up and join with new media
5
technologymetamorphosing into a cultural deluge of state, utilitarian, social and artistic applications of new media.To contextualize, by various estimates it took radio somewhere between thirty five and thirty eight years
1
Randy James,
‘A Brief History of GPS’,
Time Magazine
(online edition), 2009:<http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1901500,00.html>.
2
Wikipedia.org, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closed-circuit_television>.
3
Bill Stewart, et al. contributors
 , LivingInternet.com
(date unlisted): <http://www.livinginternet.com/i/ii.htm, InternetHistory>, Wikipedia.org: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Internet>.
4
Henri Lefebvre,
Critique of Everyday Life, Volume One
, translated by John Moore (London & New York: Verso, 1991), p.33.
5
 
See ‘new media’ as defined by
Martin Lister, Jon Dovey, Seth Giddings, Iain Grant and Kieran Kelly,
 New Media, ACritical Introduction
, Second Edition (Oxon, New York: Routledge 2009), p. 9-99.
 
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to capture an audience of fifty million, thirteen years for TV to reach an audience of the same amount, but only four to five years to reach fifty million users via the internet 
6
.It is against the backdrop of this technological boom of the 1990s when we find Estonian artist,Mare Tralla, whose roots lie in establishing a feminist art scene in Estonia with several of hercontemporaries. Tralla, born in 1967 in Tallinn, was working to establish herself as an artist as Estoniawas gaining its independence, and at a time when it seemed to these artists that gender issues wereculturally ignored by a society which had considered itself to be
genderless
in a communist 'comrade'context 
7
. If the field of cultural studies affirms that cultural myths
8
abound and reflect popular ideology,then the cultural myths of Estonia were no exception, and some were particularly problematic for women.In
Private Views
, Barbi Pilvre writes of the problematic of myth in Estonian culture as far as women wereconcerned:At times when their whole life is upturned, people hang on to the grand narratives of theirculture. The myth of the powerful Estonian woman constitutes such a narrative incontemporary Estonia... To shake the foundation myths of a culture is an unappreciatedand rank exercise.
9
 Pilvre goes on to specifically address the myth of this so-called
genderless
society:During the Soviet period, as is well-known, class provided the exclusive focus of state andacademic discourse. Consequently, gender never rose to be a significant category for theanalysis of social relations. There were neither women nor men; just comrades, theworking class and its historical opponents. Gender was practically eliminated in theorywhile it also fell outside the parameters of political discourse... Gender was mainly
understood as a personal ‘trait’ akin to other personality attributes and was not thereforeconsidered constitutive of one’s identit 
y.
10
 But the absence of gender identity threatens to foster a certain level of social denial leading to the neglect in the unique needs of women, and Pilvre goes on to suggest as much, broaching the social problems of poor reproductive healthcare and workplace biases against those women who might elude or defy theestablished
‘working mother’
archetype.
6
United Nations, Global Teaching and Learning Project,
UN Cyberschoolbus
(dateunlisted):<www.un.org/cyberschoolbus>, also
Ondi Timoner’s
 
“We Live in Public”, (2009).
 
7
Angela Dimitrakaki, Pam Skelton, Mare Tralla,
Private Views: Spaces and Gender in Contemporary Art from Britain and  Estonia
, (London: Women's Art Library, 2000), p. 60-61.
8
Roland Barthes,
 Mythologies
, Translated by Annette Lavers (New York: Noonday; Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1972).
9
Dimitrakaki, Skelton,Tralla,
Private Views,
p. 60.
10
Dimitrakaki, Skelton,Tralla,
Private Views
, p. 61, 62-63.
 
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Tralla, in writing about the motives of 
fellow artist, Eha Komissarov, with respect to Estonia’s first 
feminist art exhibition,
Est.Fem,
which took place at three different Tallinn galleries: Vaal, City Gallery, andMustpeade Maja in 1995, underscores their urgency to establish a feminist art scene during a given socio-political climate void of representation for women, let alone LGBT people:[Eha Komissarov] became convinced of the need for feminist art in Estonia regardless of 
what others thought.’ She wrote about that time in the exhibition catalogue: ‘
My first experiences with feminism became soon a conviction, that the questions of gender and identity are completely alienated in Estonia and dealing with feminism would mean tovoluntary banish oneself from society 
.’
11
 
Mare Tralla,
 A Toy 
(1995), video installation still and Toomas Volkmann,
David and Warren
(1994) photography print,
Est.Fem
source: www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/european/Estonian-Artists.html
A socio-political climate poised to ignore the spectre of an unacknowledged phantom under thecloak of accepted ideology is difficult for invested parties to defeat. Potential opponents to popularideology would be pressed to find novel ways to transform their resistance and gain support. The newfrontier of cyberspace essentially transformed the ways in which politically active artists might expresstheir agendas and communicate with a far broader artistic community through this novel medium.
11
Mare Tralla,
‘Disgusting Girl’,
 Moscow Art Magazine
, No 22, 1998:<http://www.guelman.ru/xz/english/XX22/X2221.HTM>.

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