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Ptqk Blogzine: Maria Ptqk is writing her blogzine since 2004. In the interview with Rosa Reitsamer, Maria Ptqk talks about her way into feminism, cyberfeminism and her blogging experience.

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52° 31' 24.258" N, 13° 24' 41.04" E

Can you shortly introduce yourself?
It's difficult because I have a heterogeneous background. Sometimes I am a producer or assistant for other people, sometimes a curator, an art critic or a teacher. I have a hybrid profile in the cultural field, so I consider myself as a cultural researcher. The topics I am interested on are situated at the crossroads between technology, media, cultural and gender studies, but it changes with my obsessions. My academic background is law and economics. I don't have any formal training in art. In this field I am completely do-it-yourself.
Currently I am work on a cultural programme about biotechnology called “Soft Power” [], very much inspired by my interest on cyberfeminism. I have also collaborated recently with "GenderArtNet" [], an experimental and poetic mapping of feminist art practices in Europe.

How did you come to feminism?
Well, first of all my mother is a feminist, a do-it-yourself feminist who grew up as in the 70s in Spain, very much concerned with the rights of women and equality issues. But back then I didn't consider myself as a feminist.
I guess for me there were two ways to feminism: one was the way of theory, reading and learning things that could help me explain how I was feeling; the other way was just experience, realising that the way I was feeling about myself had to do with the fact that I was not comfortable with what I was expected to be, and then I understood this was because I was not a “normal” subject, because I was a “woman”. The two ways together made me realise that I was a feminist and that I wanted to be a feminist. Feminism has become important in the sense that it gives a structure to my life, to my understanding of the world. Not only what has to do with women but with the “being” in general... not being the hegemonic subject and not having the hegemonic position.

How did you then become involved in media production?
I just began writing a blog When I first began to use the Internet in 2000 I was completely fascinated by the medium but I was only a consumer of it. Then at some point I had the need to go to the other side and become a producer myself so I started blogging. Precisely I wanted to create bridges between the art and the activist world, and everything that was going on around new media at that time. I also became involved in a feminist net-radio station, Radio Paca in Barcelona [].

Why do you call your blog a blog-zine?
I am inspired by the culture of zines. I am myself a big consumer of media (newspapers, magazines, radio, etc). My blog is still a fanzine in the sense that it is do-it-yourself. It's cheap, I don't need precise technical knowledge, it's like cut and paste, very simple technical infrastructure. Blogging, like fanzines, gives you the freedom to talk about whatever you want and to experiment with style and narrative, something you cannot do in the academic context or a newspaper or as an art critic.

Are you involved in any other feminist media production?
As I told you, I was involved with Radio Paca for a few years. We didn't have money to produce a lot of programs, but in the best moment of it there were between five and ten different shows. My show was with a friend and it was about culture and "anculture". I don't know if "anculture" exists in German or in English, in Spanish it means “being non-educated” because in our show we would mix high and low culture, a lot of different things in a very uncomplexed way.

Which people are reading your blog?
As far as I know, a lot of women, especially – and that makes me extremely happy – young feminists, and also people from the art world. But I'm not that much interested in the art world itself because sometimes it's boring and self-referential. I'm interested in art as a cultural and social phenomenon.

Since you have started the blog, did it change somehow?
It changed a lot. At the beginning it was just plain information about texts to read, events to go, calls… Beside the blog I had also a mailing-list that I considered as an experimental viral project, because I was really spaming. I would take a lot of emails from people I knew, or not but who were interesting for me, and I spamed them once a month with my mailing-list. This was very zine-kind thing because I was experimenting with the format and the narrative: I never used the first person, I would never say who I was, I would just try to connect information and things that were going on, and create a story-telling out of it, but still giving real information. That period lasted for at least two years.
At the beginning I was using the name Ptqk and of course people thought I was a guy. First they always thought it was a collective and then when they understood that it was one person they thought it was a man, I guess because I was talking about open source, free software, radical politics.
I've been blogging now for six years and still last year someone told me: "you guys from Ptqk…". It´s like people can not put together the idea of a woman with some kind of content and with some kind of attitude. Specially at the beginning, the blog was very aggressive, choleric, very rage kind of stuff. It was always difficult to make people understand that it was just me and that I could do that.
Afterwards I started blogging like normal bloggers, and that's what I'm doing now. Now my blog is not as informative as it used to be and I am using the first person.

How does feminism come in into your blog?
Sometimes I talk about pure feminist stuff, and when I say pure I mean that it considers itself as feminist and presents itself as feminist. But now I like to think of feminism more as a tool box. So I don't need to label it "feminism". I don't mean that I'm against labelling; I still like to say I'm a feminist and I say it all the time. But now I am more into experimenting with the idea of not naming it and using it as if it was neutral. Because that's what patriarchism does, patriarchism doesn't present itself as patriarchist, it presents itself as “the way things are”. So I do the same. I am a feminist, I have a feminist way of thinking but I write about anything I like. You know what I mean?

Yes, I know what you, and I like it.
At some point I got a bit fed up with this political correctness of having always a few women in working groups or events, as if it was just “a topic”. So you go to a festival and you have different activities going on and there are one or two events about feminism, and there you have all the girls: the feminists talking about “their stuff”. And then you have the other stuff which is the important stuff, where women are not present, as usual.
It is important to have only female groups, but I don't want to be always talking about feminism with my feminist friends, I want to be with the guys talking about politics. You know? So that's what I'm trying to do now, more in this direction.

There are many feminisms e.g. Black feminism, cyber feminism, pop feminism, postcolonial feminism. Is there any feminism that is important for you?
I don't know because I guess I'm trying to find my own way of thinking about it. At the beginning, I was inspired by the traditional "feminism of difference" and later I came to queer and transgender positions and cyberfeminism, which is still a big influence for me. But now I'm more interested in post-colonialism which in a way makes me come back to a more traditional understanding of feminism, in the sense that: yeah ok we can change our gender, play with it, have no gender, but who are “we”? Very few women in the world that actually say that, most women get married and have children at young age, they don't go to school, they are the slaves of the slaves. It's important for us white, middle class, educated feminists to be very aware of that, even if this means coming back to an essentialist definition of gender. It´s less fun but now I'm more interested in the real situation of real women in the rest of the world and geopolitcs and global issues in a broad sense. Not only regarding the situation of women but also violence, the seek for progress and benefits, wars, exploitation of natural resources, militarism… and so on.

Can you describe the process of making your blog-zine? Are you writing all the texts?
I have an idea, I write a text, I add the links, some pictures and that's it. I try to have a regular rhythm of publication, but it depends on how I'm feeling and what I am doing. Normally, when I'm working a lot, I blog a lot. Maybe because when I have many things to do, my head goes quickly and I'm more active in general and blogging is like a way out. Blogging also helps me to think better, when you have to express something for someone else you have to be more precise and give everything a second thought. Writing is a good exercise for the thinking process.

How do you choose the content?
It's a lot about personal inspiration. I try not to think about what other people like, I rather think about what I need to talk about and what I consider as important but I don't have a fixed editorial criteria. It's a space of experimentation in the first place.

Do you cooperate with other feminist media? Are you involved in a kind of network?
I'm involved in a kind of informal network, in the sense of people knowing each other and collaborating without any structure, helping and supporting each other with projects, contacts or advice or just because we are friends.

How do you promote the blog?
At the beginning I had this mailing list. Now I publish the links in facebook and twitter and many people are reading it because of that. But I don't really promote it that much, it was more mouth to mouth.
I guess many people get to my blog when they are looking for something on google. One thing I try to do is to translate or express in Spanish ideas that are not expressed in Spanish yet. Many many books are not translated into Spanish… so this is something I'm trying to do.

I like this… translating ideas into Spanish.
It is the second or third most spoken language in the world but still most of the countries where Spanish is spoken are „developing countries“. Many essays are only published in English and this is a problem because, even if you speak English, maybe you don´t feel like reading an essay in English, it's not that easy whe it´s not your mother tongue.

Do you see any challenges in producing the blog?
There are many people now who start blogs and have a lot of expectations about what is going to happen to them. You know, this mythology about getting famous with a blog, this very American way of life thinking about technology. I guess I don't have any expectations because I have been blogging in the desert for a long time when nobody was reading it or very few people. I am happy just to be able do that and to have more and more people coming, reading, exchanging information with me.

Are you also using MySpace?
I never use MySpace, that‘s the only social network I never use, only to listen to music, but I never had my profile. I have my profile on twitter, facebook and other services like slideshare, youtube, or flickr. But I'm not a super producer of content there. I just use it to stock my stuff.

Thank you for the interview.

Maria Ptqk
Affiliated organisation:
Rosa Reitsamer
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