Tag: feminism

Penetrating the black box, hacking as an emancipatory strategy in Art, Science & Technology – Workshop with Patrícia J. Reis

This workshop targets female* and trans* artists, scientists, hackers and those curious in art and/or tech, interested in learning and sharing what they know about technology by demythifying and demystifying the so-called “black box”. By means of a fearless environment we invite participants to open electronic devices, break them apart, recycle components, play around with circuit-bending, questioning functionality, or simply hang out for a little chat and a cup of tea. Additionally, the workshop aims to be a meeting point for all female* and trans* hackers and/or artists interested in networking regardless of their background, experience, and level of knowledge. Mz* Baltazar’s is interested in getting to know and listen to its peers, connecting and bringing together female* and trans* people who share post-internet, hacktivist, queerfeminist, and DIY/DIT, open source political views.


Hacking is nowadays a common practice and creative strategy employed among post-internet artists. By subverting the system, reverse engineering, hacking creative processes, defending access and openismus, they instrument a bottom-up methodology using deconstruction as a method to “make” art. Acknowledging Vilém Flusser’s (1986) challenge of opening the “black box” they question what is behind commercial apparatuses, defying their potential with the awareness of the impact of technology in the current neo-liberal market. Built upon the belief that art practice can be a critical impetus for social change, hacking practices and methods might be constituted as a potential tool for activating the spectator, emancipating and leading them into the process of questioning consumer capitalism.

Yet, those important tools of critical thought are still not completely accessible to all genders, since in the current time we still face the problem that women* and trans* people are a minority in both the creative and technical design of new technologies. The scenario is particular worrying in the context of hackerspaces, makerspaces, media art festivals, media art exhibitions and media art university degrees. This problem stems from the fact that electronic and programming are very often connoted as white normative male tools, and likewise the way technology is introduced to women and trans* people in their social and creative environment.

As an alternative, several initiatives such as Mz* Baltazar’s Lab based in Vienna, aim to contribute for merging the gender gap of female* and trans* people in the art, scientific and technology realm/ market by offering them tech/ art workshops, exhibition space and a supportive active community in a discrimination and sexual harassment free environment. By creating a space that fosters creativity, activism and provocative thinking MzB aims to empower women* and trans* people and support them in the development of their projects. Conscious that the intertwining of diversified knowledge and experience is primary for a community-building process, MzB invites women* and trans* people from different mindsets and backgrounds to share and collaborate without restrictions. Penetrating the black box is an invitation for those that are interested in intersecting their view points with other politics of perception contributing for a critical thought towards the necessity of demythifying and demystifying the ‘black box’.

Glaubst du Rania Mleihi Luftsteuer – OPENING Samstag, 13.4. Performance at 18:00










In einer interaktiven Schaufenster Show reflektiert Rania Mleihi ihre private Situation in Bezug auf den derzeitigen Krieg in Syrien. Ausgehend von ihrer persönlichen Erfahrung beschreibt sie einen sehr spezifischen mentalen Zustand. Sie fragt, wie stark die Intensität des Erlebens und die persönliche Involviertheit vom INNEN oder AUSSEN abhängt. Wie funktioniert der menschliche Geist in Phasen der Isolation und im Ausnahmezustand? Wenn wir nur noch Eindrücke und Bilder aus der Vergangenheit zur Verfügung haben?

Die Schnittstelle zwischen ZuschauerIn und Performerin wird durch Rania Mleihis partizipative Taktik zur eigentlichen Plattform des gemeinsamen Erlebens.

Sie spielt bewusst mit der Reduktion der Mittel bei gleichzeitig starkem Fokus auf minimalste Handlungen, um eine intensive kollaborative Performance zu generieren.


Die Künstlerin hat das Projekt speziell für diesen Raum entwickelt. Die reaktive Installation thematisiert Angst und Otherness, um mit den anwesenden ZuschauerInnen eine Geschichte zu erzählen, die sich aus den Erlebnissen aller zusammensetzt.

“Glaubst du” handelt von uns allen an unterschiedlichen Standpunkten


Über die Künstlerin

Rania Mleihi wurde 1983 in Damaskus (Syrien) geboren, wo sie Theaterwissenschaft studierte. Ab 2003 war sie als Dramaturgin, Regiesseurin und Produzentin am syrischen National Theater tätig. 2008 gründete sie ihre Performing Arts Company, mit der sie an zahlreichen Festivals teilnahm, nicht nur im Nahen Osten, sondern weltweit, unter anderem dem OutGame Festival in Dänemark, dem Edinburgh Festival in Schottland und dem Luminato Festival in Canada.


In ihrem jüngsten Projekt InSight Syria, in dem Rania Mleihi selbst als Schauspielerin auftritt, thematisiert sie die syrische Revolution. 2012 wurde dieses dokumentarisches Theaterstück in München (Deutschland) uraufgeführt.

Ihrer Überzeugung nach birgt der menschlichen Körper und dessen Bewegung die Möglichkeit, Themen zu behandeln, denen Worte nicht gerecht werden können. Daher spielen verborgene menschliche Gefühle eine wichtige Rolle in ihren Arbeiten. Dabei vermeidet sie jedoch verallgemeinbare Aussagen. Indem sie dem Publikum ein Puzzle von Bildern anbietet, kann der/die ZuseherIn diese individuell in unterschiedlichen Formen  zusammenfügen.

The Syrian artist Rania Mleihi will be opening her first solo exhibition on the 13th April in Vienna at the new Viennese exhibition hall, Luftsteuer – showwindow project at Sechshauserstraße, 28 . 1150 Wien.

First show in Vienna by Syrian artist Rania Mleihi in  “Luftsteuer . show window project by Mz Baltazar’s Laboratory, titled “Glaubst du?”


Rania Mleihi proposes an interactive performance in the window shop room reflecting a very personal situation focusing on a specific emotional state.

Based on her personal experience of the ongoing conflict in Syria, she is asking the question of how much being “IN or OUT” affects the quality of personal involvement.

How does the mind function when we feel isolated and disabled? When all we have got are impressions and images from the past?

Through its participatory approach the show turns into a shared experience between performer and audience.

By reducing the amount of materials and prolonging her actions, Rania Mleihi consciously makes use of restricted resources to create an intense collaborative performance.

The artist`s piece is a site-specific and reactive installation dealing with issues of anxiety and otherness. Together with the audience she will create a story that touches upon everyone’s experiences.

“Glaubst du”.. is about all of us in different layers.


About the artist:

Rania Mleihi was born in Damascus, 1983.

She studied theater studies in Damascus/ Syria. She started presenting her work with the National Theater in Syria since 2003. She worked as a dramaturge/ director/ and as a producer.

In 2008 she established her performing arts company in Damascus and she performed and took a part in different festivals in the Middle East and worldwide such as OutGame festival in Denmark, Edinburgh festival in Scotland and Luminato festival in Canada.

Her latest project was “InSight Syria” a documentary theater play about the Syrian revolution which was performed in Munich/Germany 2012 where she participated as an actress.

She believes that body and motion express what words can’t tell. In her works she focuses on the inner feelings of the human being. She creates her work in the form of a puzzle giving the audience images to put together the way they want, avoiding pre-made conclusions.

About Windowshop project & Mz Baltazar’s Laboratory

The mission of the Luftsteuer Exhibition Project (2013) is to encourage and support solo exhibition projects by artists who call themselves women or trans. The exhibition program is a Mz. Baltazar’s Laboratory project, currently based in a ground-floor atelier at Sechshauserstraße 28, in 15th district, Vienna. Mz. Baltazar’s Laboratory is non-profit organization that playfully demystifies technology by opening up a world where learning new technological tools is fearless, interesting and clear for creative women of all ages. Mz. Baltazar’s participants and organizers come from different backgrounds and mindsets to exchange equipment, knowledge, build circuits, play with DIY electronics and interactive art. We encourage each other to learn new tools and collaborate in theory and art groups, workshops and meetings, therefore creating a tech women community.


Notes for editors:

Exhibition dates 23th March – 7th April

Exhibition (inside) space, open during the exhibition and other days by appointment to mbl-orga@lists.metalab.at.

High resolution images and logos are available on request.


Contact detail/ enquires:

Lale Rodgarkia Dara, Mz Baltazar’s Laboratory. Tel: 06505425253 Email: lale@speis.net

Web: www.mzbaltazarslaboratory.org/








Miss Baltazar's Lab workshops in Christiania – Copenhagen April 2013 – only women and trans


In a three-day workshop we will hack hardware, make noise and produce stencils with open-source software. We will ask a lot of “dumb” questions and also develop technology together to accomplish an artistic project. No expert is required for participants. We want to share our knowledge and equipment and use the opensource tools of technology to express ouservelves in a new way. Mz Baltazar’s Laboratory offers to women and trans the opportunity to acquire skills in electronics and programing to realize interactive projects. The workshops will be held on Fridays at 15h in Maelkeboetten/ Christiania.

Please sign in or ask questions in on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/536755569708933/

Price per workshop: material costs

Artists & Workshops

Maria Hera “Ma soer cent têtes” Stencil workshop

12.04.2013 at 15h


Ma soeur cent têtes is a gender-feminist street-art project. Maria Hera collected biographies of women who did interesting things in the past/future, made stencils out of their portraits and sprayed it in public space. Every stencil is basically provided with a bar- or QR-code witch leads to the wiki- or website of the shown woman.

The workshop is structured in the following way: depending to possibilities a viewing of the stencils on location or online is intended. Hereby the intention and concept are presented. In the second part the participants can learn the technic, according to individual interests, by creating self-chosen females or by cutting all ready existing stencils and spray them. The workshop empowers the participants to realize individual ideas or participate as a multiplicator in the process of publishing the women heroes.

Patrícia J. Reis – Electronics & Arduino Introduction Workshop

19.04.2013 at 15h


This workshop aims to introduce the basics of electronics, focusing on what is essential for exploiting the open source Arduino platform and therefore to build things using different kinds of in and out-puts. We propose a relaxed approach and we aim to provide a pleasant environment for exploring, playing with the tools and above all having fun!

Christine Schörkhuber – The beauty of distorsion visual generation without laptop

26.04.2013 at 15h


This workshop provides features to create visuals without the use of a laptop. In a playful way the powerful technical “magic box” is demystified and hacked.

Electric disturbance signals generated by Audio Signals are used to create abstract video landscapes. To open up cables and learn how to modify the signals is a first insight into the operating mode of signal transmission and basic electronics.

“Beauty of distorsion” is a glitch art project on the intersection of Video Art, Sound Art and Literature.


With thanks to our Founding Partners: Statens Kunstrad Danish Arts Council & Osterreichische Botschaft in Copenhagen who have made this workshop series possible.


Bildschirmfoto 2013-03-27 um 23.38.04Logo Botschaft












During the Biennale in Sinop, Turkey, we held a Miss Baltazar s Laboratory workshop. I was surprised over the number of participants in all ages. There instantly started a vivid and intense conversation on women and technology as well as the every day use of technology and development of tech solutions. An elderly lady was angry about the way the male Turkish part of the society in her eyes excluded women from some professions. She told us about lamps and chandelier she had already designed and made herself without the help of others. Some said that although university allowed girls into tech degrees, there was just less interest. Another participant claimed it was capitalism that caused this development. Quickly the discussion became political and we compared ex-soviet countries and capitalist countries when it comes to equality and access to tech and open source tech. In the end we started working with arduino and talked about the fact that some languages use male and female terms, like e.g. german, while in other languages all terms are neutral. I told them that most electric parts and tech tools in german had male names and we discussed the impact on our perception. It was all in all an extremely thought provoking workshop and I had to re-think a lot of stereotypes I had on women living in small cities in rural areas of turkey. We had the loudest and most polarizing discussions and lots of fun.




SLUT WALK in Vienna

Today at 3pm we met at our new space to make banners for the Slut Walk Vienna.


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