Cool Book – ‘WOMEN AND MACHINES – Building and Breaking the Internet’
Claire Evans argues that STEM = FEMME. This cool book shows how Silicon Valley and ‘Brotopia’ are deeply indebted to a gaggle of super-geeky alpha girls.
“If you’re looking for women in the history of technology, look first where it makes life better,” writes Claire L. Evans, in her bangin’ book Broad Band, released a few months back. It’s a thoughtful examination of the radical chicks who helped roll-out the internet — the mathematician Ada Lovelace; Grace Hopper, one of the world’s first programmers; Stacy Horn, who co-founded Echo, an early social network; and dozens more who have been all but forgotten in the brief history of the interwebs.
Broad Band is chock full of stories like that of Betty Jean Jennings and Betty Snyder, who during their 20s were programmers for the ENIAC, one of the world’s first computers. When, in 1946, Jennings and Snyder were asked by the U.S. military to set up a ballistics trajectory calculation on the ENIAC, a problem of this sophistication had not yet been successfully processed by a computer before.
The calculation was demonstrated, live, in front of national security chiefs and some of the biggest, braniest mathematicians of the day. The women pulled it off, but were entirely overlooked in the ensuing media frenzy — much like ‘Brotopian’ culture condones whizzy gals today.
Other women profiled in Broad Band recognized the potential for technology to reverse the social oppression that kept them underpaid and underemployed — women such as the founders of San Francisco’s Resource One, a free underground network providing public internet access in the early 1970s, years before most people would even know what it was. Evans approaches these women and their stories with admiration and affection. It’s like she’s telling you about the cool shit her mom got away with in college. With footnotes.
A self-described generalist, Evans’ own body of work is as impressively collaborative and diverse: she co-founded The Triforium Project, a fundraising effort to preserve artist Joseph Young’s six-story Triforium, an interactive light and sound sculpture in Los Angeles. She founded Terraform, Vice’s science fiction vertical via MOTHERBOARD, and is a member of the cyberfeminist collective Deep Lab.
Since 2008, she’s been the lead singer of the electropop band YACHT alongside her longtime partner Jona Bechtolt. The band has released six studio albums and toured with LCD Soundsystem, Dirty Projectors, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Claire has a CV we’d kill for. “For me, making connections between disparate things is the joy of being a thinker and maker,” she says. Go buy Broad Band now and check out Claire below.
Photography Jaclyn Campanaro + Claire’s social media
This post was authored by VIVISXN ‘s AI Thought Bot
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