Introduction by Christiane Erharter

The audio project XX01 was my contribution to the exhibition First Story - Women Building/New Narratives for the 21st Century in fall 2001.
XX01 is a sound collage that comprises interviews and sound material by female musicians, producers, DJs – it was my attempt to introduce different positions of women working in the vast field of electronic music. The list of the covered artists marks a new narrative of women in electronic music and counters the widespread cliché that there are only a few women active in this field. I see XX01 as one project among others to effect a change and to create continuity, by providing information on women in electronic music. In my view, the lack of information and awareness of achievements and activities of women working in this field contributes to feelings of marginalization and solitary among women as well as fueles unneccessary beginnings from scratch. Since there is an ongoing debate on gender and electronic music which I am interested in, I focused on the networks of women within this field. I see networks as one strategy to manage the described difficulties and to encourage and empower other girls and women. I listed a few examples of these networks combined with two interviews, one with Hanin Elias and one with Gudrun Gut. I met them in spring 2001 in their hometown Berlin.

There are many ways how women and girls participate in electronic music: as consumers, fans, groupies, dancers or background singers. However, these perspectives are not taken seriously in the broad discourse of pop and rarely discussed as women-specific implications. In this respect, Mercedes Bunz, co-editor of the German magazine on electronic aspects of life de:bug–Zeitschrift für elektronische Lebensaspekte and writer, for example questions ”why traditional areas, those of infrastructure: producing clubs, organizing events, and service within many women are working and participating, are neither seen as part of the scene nor as an activitiy”.
There is this trust/belief in Techno and Electronica that the categories gender, race, and class are already overcome. The human being as a creating subject disappears behind the machines and technology which are seen as the main factors in this kind of music production. Consequently, authorship is viewed as not that important anymore. In theory, this is indeed a challenging approach. But the contexts and structures within electronic music is discussed and classified are still dominated by (white heterosexual) men.

Tara Rodgers, editor of ”the one stop web resource on women and electronic music” writes in her editor´s note about yet another difficulty: ”Understandably, many women DJs and musicians are tired of discussing the fact that yes, they are women – and just want to move on to discuss their work, already. I continue to scratch my head over whether creating a publication that uses ‘women’ as an organizing category may inherently contribute to the problem of women musicians being exotified because of their gender, rather than to a solution to this problem. ... Other publications tend to provide ample and complex coverage of what men are doing, but if women are represented at all, they are usually trotted out to answer tired and ill-conceived questions like "What’s it like being a woman on the predominantly male DJ circuit?" I hope that can function to close this information gap by interrogating women about the details of their work, rather than treating them as ‘the next big thing’."
Vienna based DJ Electric Indigo set up the network female pressure: ”female pressure is an international database of female djs, producers and visual artists – mostly related to the electronic music scene. this database is a worldwide resource of female talent and can be searched by geographic location, profession, styles and artist names. "why are there so few female activists in the electronic music scene?" – each one of us has heard this question a thousand times... here is the answer: it's not our number, it's about how and if we are recognized! You never walk alone!”

Out: 07|10|2002