Writing allows to redefine identities and to point how professional and social surroundings got influenced by gender identities that make people visibly distinct from the dominant group made of white males and the way it confronts us with the women inventors’ absence of representation.
This led me to reflect further about the many ways innovation can occur as sexist bias tend to dismiss women innovators and scientists’ roles. As a female scientist, rewriting your own story allows you to be more empowered with the definition of your own identity and with your social role among the community.
This research work led me to consider how innovation can be achieved by importing new types of knowledge into other fields of knowledge, and by creating value from the process of hybridation : moving from arts to academia, from academia to industry, liberal arts to technology and technology to computering, from consulting to entrepreneurship.
I have been traveling, studying, living and working in 5 different countries and I got to learn to speak fluently 4 different languages and to know a bit of 2 other languages. Being able to communicate almost anywhere and meeting with many diverse people who enjoys experiencing openly new playgrounds with cultural and social backgrounds help to enrich intuitive visioning and to foster new types of emerging knowledges.
Then you have to develop your knowledge into a more stable form that would be recognized by peers. I have been recognized in every of the field with my accomplishments and I came to cross paths, to panel and to network with influential leaders and outstandings personnalities from academia, politics and media, mostly in the US, Canada and the UK, which count amoung the best universities in the world. In a period of years, I have learnt at epidemic speed.
Writing allows to redefine definitions and to empower through knowledge by reaching an audience and dealing with the unexpected reactions of people who lack scientific or cultural literacy to understand what is at stake. No matter how unpleasing, it is a way to explore the duality of the thinking process and to see how to integrate the scientific practice with the common knowledge.
I found fascinating the resilience of the self of the human being and thus I started to pay attention to the fact that all the shit I had been through in my life was actually not impacting my ability at doing science but rather tend to improve my skills and proficiencies.
Through several ordeals I faced in my life linked to sexual violence, I also developped new abilities as logical reasoning and deep intuition. I even got to experience some forms of deep clairvoyance at some times in my life. This ability was a bit scaring to be honest – sometimes I made fun of it like I had been taken away by extraterrestrial – but I’ve then learnt how to manage it in a way that is making me better at perceiving things and relations within a specific context.
Every change confront with tremendous change resistance because many people don’t like changes that much and are rather confortable with the well-known and the security of staying in the well-known even if we know that this way is empoverishing innovation and change. In some more confined areas, I observed jerk attitudes of rejection even from persons with high level education because they have spent too much time within close social relationships and are not able to welcome the otherness.
Rejections were draining and even discapacitating but also a cause for apathy. However, all these moves despite of being painful allowed me to improve my practice and to acquire a composite knowledge at the interplay between multiple worlds that later evolved towards higher maturity when I got to grew my projects into more structured and organically based forms.
The IT community is still dominated by men’s codes, values and norms and this is going to persist in time as younger generations and new comers are reinforcing older stereotypes because their fear for rejection lead them to fit the dominant culture, so scientists have to foster new types of scientific practices for social change and equity :
My researches have been successfully replicated, I have been teaching at university for years, I hold more than 10 years experience in technology and media in public and private sector, and I created my own company and job position. Still I am facing blatent sexism and sexist attacks from both male and female practicioners as a female scientist. Society is still due to consider and better evaluate women’s contributions in science and women expertise.
The persistence of well-documented social logics of exclusion (racism, sexism and agism) and a political climate exacerbating cultural divisions (Brexit alike) are creating cultures for abuse and coercion.
I have been given many opportunities to learn and grow so this contribution is not to deny the experiences I had but to provide an account on the reality of exclusion surrounding women CEO that might seem divergent but is grounded in reality. I might say that most I have learnt by myself and the resources allowed were rather commonly insufficient to sustain the necessary developments required with my professional fulfillments.
Sorting things out from messy texts
The only thing needed for the triumph of Evil is for good men to do nothing.
Nevertheless, the call for new journeys is inextinguishable in me. Thus, on a morning of March, I decided to relocate my solo venture to enrich my database with professional contacts and to train my expertise with new types of knowledge and how-to in different countries.
My project is to reveal the creative process that allow to an idea or a concept to come to creative fruition from real-time data. Technology – as science – is a place where it is easy to relate with others around shared interests, without the need to be introduced, by showing up to events and meetings but this model for learning needs improvments as it shows some limits that have been discussed in my introduction and also further along.
During my journeys, I recorded my experiences by writing it down to give it meaning as some others might have the same issues, concerns or quests. I used the methods of qualitative observations, community experiences and logical reasoning to give my personal and local contribution as a woman in an international context dominated with protectionism, war and competition a more generic overview.
Most critics made to positivism made apparent the lack of empiricity and the problem of forcing data into pre-established models. In some hypothetico-deductive models created by positivist schools, data are forced into theories and concepts before their emergence, causing the reproduction of mistakes and bias. Excessive rationalization and theorization are processes at stake that prevent the emergence of the newness.
To avoid these pitfalls, I worked with a mixed method nomad research framework that I have assembled to fit the constraints of the daily life while producing a scientific account. It surely doesn’t allow for much access to external sources and the comfort of theorical references, which is a good thing, to avoid excessive preestablished hypothesis and theorical coding.
This model is rather transformative, combining multiple data sources and using pre-determined and emergent models, to advocate for marginalized groups as women and kids and transient populations confronted with sexual violence.
The point here is not to go into deep reflections by the fact you write while moving away or in places with disconnecting wifi, trains, cyber, hostel room…etc., so you’re not being tempted to add artificial value by convoking some disembodied set of theories that can bias your thinking and false your data interpretation. This project is to provide an image of what is going on at the moment it happens without the filters of the rational thinking that is known to bias data.
This is why the material shown on Twitter is composed of raw, rough, unfiltered and messy data shaped with the circumstances and the various contexts of the production at the interface of arts, writings and science. It is aspected by the very nature of the interactions I encounter in my immediate surroundings thus, if it’s positive or negative, that will impact the perceptions and views presented. In a second tine, these material is being processed to analysis and interpretation.
I am not interested into transforming it in formal publications for the limits I mentioned earlier but to consider blogging and micro-blogging as valuable technologies for the understanding of the limits women experts face when entering new fields in technology and entrepreneurship and as a practice of intervention leading to change.
The artistic practice allows for the expression of hidden emotions and regressive feelings that can have a positive driving role into shaping representations and writing down realities. It might help to break some patterns of defensive behavior caused by external agressions and based on over intellectualization and distanciation to the research object that creates a too rigid shape for the emergence of the newness. Thus the material is being transformed through the practice of blogging and networking.
Curated research is a process that is time consuming and minutious so it is not applicable to real life constraints. Academic writings are confronted with the problem of publishing anterior states of the problem which produces a gap between the time situations occur and the time it is being processed through the writing and publishing.As I experienced it in academia, research process is sometimes taking several years of research and it doesn’t make any sense with consequent research fundings, and even this way it rarely gives birth to applicable models for society. I thus eventually abandonned my academics activities to refine over time as research is a never ending process.
In spite of being informed about the difficulties of such in the wild research, and of being aware of the risks, I got inspiration from Kerouac’s works (unless he actually wrote most of his consistent works from his mother’s house) and other researches produced in the field of feminism and research action.
Auto-ethnography is a way of collecting information that is based on the reflections and responses to the local environment and the interactions of the researcher (as it is quite obvious that it’s impossible to detach a person’s thought from the world at the surroundings).
I concomittently made use of my Twitter account as a result of an embedded diary practice of research on Twitter with emerging patterns of new types of informations and sources and news sharing production by users in new media. I like to use Twitter to store my things like a usb key but it is also a place I let open for interactions.
It is asked from readers to understand that vulnerability via the publication of unfinished texts is supposed to be given people an opportunity for constructive interactions not an entry point for abuses. I don’t allow any type of interaction that is motivated with the desire to hurt or to damage my personal integrity, work in progress and learning practice. I authorize myself to withdraw and to stop the research process in cases where it is becoming damaging for my health or safety. A researcher never have to be exposed to abrasion or coercion of any kind in the fieldwork.
As shown with my research, expertise grows through practices of interactions and mediations shared among a given social group via texts and images that circulate through social networks and media around common issues and goals (Debaveye, 2012b). That dynamic is fostered with the pratices of relinking together sets of knowledges, people and places at the interface of small and large scales (Debaveye, 2012a).
In my day-to-day life, I am seeing intercultural interactions as a way of improving existent knowing and dominion of languages and am an advocate for the remix culture and I advocate for the preservation of safe environments where hybridation can give birth to enriching variations and profitable transformations for the people.
Some places are enablers for transformation and social change while others are creating toxic cultures preventing some innovation and social change to happen.
My serendipitous approach led me to Berlin that is both not too far from where I lived and known for its startup culture. So here I was, in the plane embarking in a journey that will last several months. I always had wonderful and tremendous experiences while traveling and I remember being very excited by this trip as Berlin is known to be a startup place and is also a place that I like (I have been there several times in the past for friends meetings and holidays).
As I said in my introduction, traveling around has become quite difficult with the rise of dreams of imperialism and national domination that give birth to the well-known cohort of xenofobia, racism and violence against strangers. In my previous trips in emerging economies I didn’t have to deal with the colonialist dynamics and the spread of imperialistic codes from the western culture. I made huge friendships that persisted over time as we shared a common experience of trust and love. But there it was different. I was going as a worker in the perspective of settling down.
In Berlin, my excitement about the trip didn’t last for long as I faced first aggression in a tech meeting as soon as on day 1 when a group of native women ignored the contribution I was making as an entrepreneur about choosing an expensive place to start a business in Canada because it was not fitting their views to promote their local culture. A german woman was coming back from Vancouver and she made critics about Canada for its fares. But Vancouver is not the most enabling city for new comers as it is among the most expensive regions and was probably a bit excentered place for starting business as a foreigner at the time she went. I then talked about Montreal and she answered despectatively : « Who would like to live in Montreal? »
I am not a Canadian and God knows how many reasons I have today to share her view as I am just coming back from 10 months in there as an immigrant. But to be honest, I felt pain for Montreal because it was an unfair abrasive comment and despite my deception as a foreign worker in Canada, I will never say that it is a place of no interests (edit january 2018). The second part of discussion had them talking in between themselves with no way to interact like if they were ressenting me. Her comment opened paths to dismiss my legitimacy as a participant and the group kept ignoring me the whole time. It was clear that my agenda was not fitting the main culture and social norms that tend to exclude the alien narratives I have produced.
I finally got bored and went away. It is quite a narrow vision of innovation based on proctectionist measures and rising of far-right politics into the face of change. Tribalism is based on distorted perceptions taking on the idea that your views are better informed, more acceptable than the ones of the others. This postulate prevents fruitful hybridations and combinations to happen to create innovative ways of doing and learning. Somes places for entrepreneurship are blocking change by using spaces designed for collaboration as places for international competition between cities/countries, without showing any substantial interests for the culture of open education and collective knowledge.
It remembered me the words of a german friend who used to date an eastern guy who said to me that fascism is still well alive in Berlin and perpetuated. Human beings tend to reproduce what they already know. And the case is that fascist parties and ultra-right groups are becoming quite popular in Germany.
This political context gives rise to predispositions for some people to adopt discriminative attitudes and toxic behaviors towards women.
I categorized these behaviors as, 1. abrasive remarks (lack of skills, justification), 2. diverse acts ranging from minor micro-aggressions to higher aggressions (abrasivity, voice intonation, defamation), 3. calling and false representation (uncompetent, dangerous, frivolous, tourist). 4. mockeries (I truly observed how a group of young boys was making fun of me, my style in a coworking place in Montreal), 5. dismissing someone’s expertise or knowledge, 6. Attributing the credit of her work to others or 7. plagiarizing 9. intimidating and interacting physically 10. physically harassing, attacking (I once got my bag lacerated in Paris and got shot in shoulders in Montreal) or sexually/physically assaulting ( rape attempt, rape, physical violence).
By listing some attitudes I had faced in my career and personal life to give an overview of the forms it might take, the point in my work is to avoid rigid typologies and artificial taxonomies as situations differ following the contexts of production but to address the concepts of richness and fairness with the writing of local informations, supported by exemplifications and real case situations based on interactions truly experienced (I could make the ethnographic data available on requests in the respect of net neutrality principles).
Cyber-harassment through social networks (criticising when there’s nothing to criticize for), revenge porn, hacking or doxxing are subcategories of aggressions. There not different but less damaging physically.
This ranking is useful to show the diverse range of exposures. I put mockeries in 4 as I consider it a practise highly prejudicial to the community. Mockery is a sign that something has broken in the social sphere and that social violence is being authorized as a legitimate public expression without any sanction to happen. It is the sign that a deep social acceptation of sexism, racism or agism already occured. Also the fact it comes from young people is questionning as they’re supposed to be the more open minded spirits and to vigilate us.
Leader women commonly faces intimation at work places. I have been a teacher for years and never been mocked by the hundreds of students I taught to (contrary to what I though would happen in my first year teaching when crossing the mall full of them watching me) because they validated my knowledge and contribution. I wouldn’t say it was always perfect but I had a good relationship with them. I also used to teach at engineering schools and I think the engineering culture has an obsession for domination and a low disposition to practise reflexivity due to the field.
I experienced pressure by intimidation with groups of people physically interposing (in a startup meeting they put a demonstration table right in the path of my office door) from groups with engineering backgrounds.
I experienced physical oppositions and systematic calling for undue explanations or justifications that frequently made me want to leave. I meet persons who are considering that women expertise is of lower value because it comes from a woman or are denying of women expertise considering it is easy because it is provided by a female scientist.
While traveling and working abroad, transient women can also encounter all situations described above.
These attitudes aim at belittling certain persons versus other types of person in order to make them look or feel like inferior (edit nov 17), provoking even more discapacitation. Some people instrumentalized the vulnerability of the damage of identities.
Sexual harassment is commonly accepted among VCs’ culture. In the time I was trying to raise funds in an incubator, a period of weeks, I have been sexually harassed several times, through different forms. One VCs isolated me from the group and « called me to his desk » to have a private echange with me and provoke an argument that was deeply unneccessary and artificial. He raised voice on me when I tried to talk to him about what I thought to be a misunderstanding. I perceived his attitude as a way to induce a relation of subjugation that I felt as being sexual, motivated by my gender.
On a weekly basis people can be constantly requesting you for extra hours or extra duties and making you feel inappropriate when you’re not fitting their every expectations and needs like asking you to be the one volunteering nightshift or week-end, or being constantly reachable in your office or phone, which is also the production of a misrepresentation.
I also have been proposed late interviews and phone calls at night or during week-end or meetings that were not meant apaprently to be for professionnal development. What I thought to be professionnal and social networking with VCs ceased as soon as they understood I wasn’t the kind of lady doing it and offers stopped when I left the city. I cannot help thinking that the fact I wasn’t being more accessible physically by flying away to France played a part…
Flirting and seduction are part of the job as for any person who wants to draw the attention of influential people, even men do it, but it is unacceptable that a job position or access to funding be subordinate to the obtention of sexual favors. And the case is that it is often expected to be working that way. This said, it’s not specific to VCs, I experienced it in academia while being a young researcher with both men and women of power.
If you refuse, they sanction you or call to make you withdraw writings, to try to influence or vigilate.
An enabler of this abrasive and toxic culture is denial – an absence of consciousness about discrimination – and tolerance to gendered violence that create serious levels of threats for women in tech. The absence of work ethics or conscientization about human identity encourage systematic attempts to damage women scientists’ identities. I observed it for other women leaders. Low levels of interactions are besides preventing from observable progress. Actually it even seems like it’s getting worse.
Rising some legitimacy from the appealing fictions of terrorism, or fantasmagoric images of women kamikazes or women immigrants/strangers/new comers causing troubles, these toxic places have enabled the spreading of authoritarian politics and false representations defining foreigners and women as suspects in order to restrict them access to public voice and recognition.
Toxic places never gives place for any discussion, negociation or conversation around identities or for practice of self-determination.
Exclusion is often taking insiduous and subtle forms so you cannot denounce them like emails not getting responses or unjustified abrasive attitudes (abrasive commentor depreciative remarks or comments) but also more open attacks as defamation or rumors.
Finally I observed that NGO’s and groups who pretend to advocate for women in senior roles are more of resinforcing patriarchal rhetorics (coding, positivism, etc) preventing change.
Coding or not coding
I have been said to go to a digital training « for non tekkie » (I have published accessible works attesting for my expertise) or that I couldn’t adapt because I refused to learn code when I am an analyst and researcher who noticed that coding isn’t that necessary as softwares have evolved with non coding design. More commonly, it just a rhetoric used to exclude new comers and groups and keep the priviledge of areas of knowledge. Board members don’t want you to get a too accurate insight about what is going on so they’re being fine with developpers with low knowledge of critical thinking and politics.
It is just a matter of personal tastes based on men’s codes. It is abusive to expect from women to adopt the views of the dominant culture if they are wrong.
And why would their viewpoint be of less value than the viewpoint of them? Many people today are calling for more inclusion and diversity in tech, some people are boycotting… Practicioners lacking of social and human basic interpretative skills can reinforce bias and misrepresentations. It’s important to create today the proper structures of tomorrow to free us from these logics for domination and subjugation, both women and men.
I happen to have a point of view based on what I observe and hear and incidently some years of research. And this point of view is that technologies need as much developpers and coders than it needs researchers because in the end it is people using them. Anecdotally, I have basic coding skills and knowledge of coding practices but I rathered to focus on research and methodology as its clear that there is a crucial need for criticizing old paradigms and communicating science better today.
I felt that I couldn’t openly share my views and opinions without facing retaliation everytime I voiced my concerns. Some toxic places separate and create mental walls making people blind to social realities to prejudice the authorship and legitimacy of some groups of persons instead of enabling shared learning dynamics. It is important to build these spaces for interactions amd hybridizations.
Actually there are quite a few places that enable real social change and creative innovation today. A lack of cultural blending and the rejection of divergent thinking are common feature of the change resistance. A systematic disinformation or information retention pattern reveal an absence of cooperation that further undermine the opportunity for learning in international or diverse contexts.
By connecting people and knowledges together or making the resources of a specific location accessible (Debaveye, 2012a, 2012b), we can make science and technology more profitable to all.
Instead ultra-competitive models leading to intolerance and violence with the mix of boys’ club culture, tribalism and neo-nationalism are preferred. This model that became viral and popular among younger and hipster cultures, cannot be fight on an individual basis as it is linked with broader social logics for social, political and cultural exclusion (nov 17).
If it’s our responsability to create resilient spaces, society has to provide enabling and safe places. Ultimately, the issue is not about learning code but about accepting to learn from cultural and social exhanges for scientific improvments.
Vulnerability of a woman leader
Being a project director encourages mean acts of aggressions. Its is still expected in technology the company being led by men. Even women having a leadership position (10 to 15%), it is rare that they decide of the direction of the projects and strategies. They often play roles as representatives for male’s voices and claims. Many male co-associates take the credits for their works. My ambition in technology is well defined to provoke a change in cultures and modes and a social turn in the way technologies are designed and adressed to fit society’s needs (and not expected to be adopted by society).
Women are still being discouraged of taking males’ roles in any field historically dominated with men. For example, in a train between Copenhagen and Sweden, once I was travelling alone with my bike, people seated in the bike compartment refused to let me sit and lock my bike after I have asked politely when there were plenty of free seats in the wagon (really had to call the ticket agent!). This happening in a bike friendly culture in Sweden. The next time, same situation happened except I was travelling with a Swedish male friend, and people spontaneously left their seats to let us park the bikes, no need to ask.
Anonymity also is a component at play with the perpetuation of conservative politics. I presumed it was considered as acceptable by the local population. Where society don’t say anything about violence on minorities is when it collectively enables violence.
In the past, I have been backpacking Brazil during months at the time it just emerged from a military government and never was confronting to that kind of behaviours and attitudes. Poor people happen to steal or kill for money but they won’t see the point in mistreating you intentionnally or objectifying foreigners.
I traveled 50 countries these last 15 years including arab countries and never faced such a climate of hostility towards women that I faced in the western societies, even if their way to act is rather subtle. I think Canada or US for example are a place with quite conservative and religious social norms that can block social change.
While the time I travelled into western countries, I found myself repeatedly caught into the stigma of the stupid, bad intentionned, ignorant, mean, time and energy consuming, crazy immigrant, contrary to my travels in the non western world.
I escaped these repressive misrepresentations after trying to face them, which exposed me to further acts of violence, and awful days of insomnia, muscular cramps, emotional stress, gingivitis and headaches caused by stress. I have been dealing with severe anxiety and social phobia following these acts of aggressions and I am still recovering.
I finally realized these toxic places were preventing the expression of my creative self and at some point, impacting my ability to perform and to reach my physical and mental balance. I am quite a joyful and easy-going person in life except when I am angry and frustrated. In toxic places, I was constantly looking for peace of mind and felt deprived from the basic social needs in such toxic environments.
As it seems that the drifts of fascism have impregnated politics and economics for long, with episodes of xenofobia and sexual violence’s allowing the resurgence of a medievalism that considers transient and knowledgeable women as witches deserving persecution and correction, I feel that writing on the matter is a way to raise awareness about issues than can go unseen without that.
Many big cities planners pretending to build an idea of modernity are using knowledge and wealthy networks to exclude what is different from what they know.
She’s been experiencing sexism. He’s been experiencing racism. She’s been experiencing immigrant loneliness. But none of them actually really did consider my personal experience for its uniqueness neither the fact I faced two or three times more harassment acts as they did being at the intersection of sexism, racism, agism and expatriation (this is been studied within intersectional gender studies). Denial just made it impossible for me to simply express my concerns because people there have never been through. Writing is a process for agency and self-determination.
Toxic places have some nevrotic personnalities that is hard to deal with either by escaping or confronting violence as it doesn’t really seem like a safe option. They identify vulnerability as a weakness relying on the fake rhetorics of evolution.
The point is that the « natural » process of selection is nothing natural but cultural and technology reproduces this ideology. As a result, the impacts of capitalism are much more damaging on disempowered people.
Market places and information consumption
What makes a city not evolve and remain still is again really mysterious to me. Is it the activation of antic tokens without integration of the otherness – the woman, the Alien – and a sort of stiffness opposed to movement?
Resistant dynamics to change and archaic mindsets prevent transformation. Remains of activities are stucked into stones and still. Streets have become more concentrative hubs for markets through mass tourism, partisan media and unhealthy urban environment than civic agora, streets have emptied from the humanness that has been replaced with constant consumption. Selfies. Malls. Dollars. Numbness. This is not compensing the loss.
Technologies are not meant to be mere replicants and the echo chamber of the dead old world passing along inappropriate rhetorics based on violence with some tricky machine learning techniques. Technologies are meant to allow the integration of life and movement, society should become enabled by technology as more people will be using technology for change to raise awareness and gather for educative projects and artistic works.
Technologies should not be used to control or to design the oppressive city of the ubiquitous technocrates to enable a reflection of the insiders on their living system. City are not objects or chiffers. They’re populated with real selves looking for authentical and meaningful connections.
Maths and profitability ideology deeply encouraged the marketization of our living creating places that are war zones with people making use of war strategies to acquire more power. It normalizes a permanent culture for threat of the precarious, poors, women, immigrants or foreigners by objectifying them for the sake of the others.
Sometimes we are surviving while being there whislt silentful when confronted with too high states of abuse and misfits. We have thus reached this point where it feels useless to keep interacting because of constant attitudes of abuse from the diverse groups involved.
When empathy, respect for the others, needed for a living together are long gone. When society enclose us into systems that comfort other people into fake beliefs, distorted views, shared rhetorics among groups that have produced disembodied cities. When people link into abuse against certain categories of persons systematically…
When the most repelling thing is that you cannot escape the world made at the image of them, the city you live in, the media you read, the politics you choose, the social interactions you’re forced to accept in a world that you have never contributed to raise, this same world loose all savour, taste and interest.
The remembrance of my stay with German attackers vanished on the cruise (bus-boat) that was leading me to the city if Copenhagen. After Berlin, I was about to fly back home but I didn’t want to leave without seeing it. Many people have said to me it was a huge place to go but I was fearing the disappointment, hostility or rejection. I was wrong.
Everything’s been perfect since my first seconds in there and I finally came to define what makes a culture smoothly integrative. Only a look at the city suffishes to make you feel serene. If you look at Montreal or New York for example, big trucks, high buildings, cult of gigantism and invasive screens have made an image of men filled with excitation and thrill. And we might wonder until what point screens are used as barriers.
Danish helped me spontaneously in casual situations as going out of the bus with my luggages and finding my way to the hotel. I had the right connections with the metro and bus. I was wonderfully hosted by the right people with good talks, drinks and foods, some comfort and heat. They have that degree of empathy and tolerance than enable the necessary spaces for a foreign woman to express her personal views, to create meaningful social connections and to find the courage to innovate. They’re just clever enough to get that it benefits the whole society to help you in a way that is not only material but symbolical.
My short experience has been like a physical combustion of synchronicity. I was impressed with the smiles and the good intentions of the people around. I wondered if it was because I was a woman by my own. Maybe it’s part of the Danish culture to support women traveling by their own as a kind of cultural norm.
People were celebrating the return of the Spring and I was celebrating new beginnings. They willingly invited me into their talks, showing high interests and sharing intimacy with trust and confidence. I remember they tried to understand my accent with no sign of irritation which is quite unusual while traveling.
We are made of atoms and pieces of information that connect, interact and intertwine permanently like a plasma. I felt the attention the connected, gender blurred city suddenly was paying at me with the cooperation of the infrastructures designed by the Danish school : good commuters, mixed urbanism, streets adapted to peatons, shime lights, connective zones, autonomous bike paths, smart traffic and housing areas.
The magical is hard to define: is it linked with the intrinsic nature of the city to welcome hosts, its capacity to surround you with the proper energy because you are person of culture? Sharing cultural interactions is a way to overpass cultural differences. I wondered at some point if my flamish roots have played a role on that feeling of belonging giving the many similarities between the scandinavian and northern cultures or if it was just the feminine shape of the city.
I am a bit tanned and my eyes are brown but curiously never felt different from all these tall and blond persons contrary to what happened with my family (I happen to have lots of tall blond blue eyes siblings). Apart of being quite sure I did mistakes with behaviors and attitudes not fitting the Danish culture, I never felt I was under extreme pressure.
Biking the city with its smart networks free of any cars was a tremendous experience I will always be grateful for. Danish people – as Flamish people – are really refined persons who like to make things easy for the others and expect the same in return. They openly engage in conversations and good talks. I think it was the first time in my life that people talk to me more than I do.
People showed curiosity with my otherness and uniqueness. I think cultural difference is perceived as something positive in Copenhagen. I rode my bike all day long until 10pm, talking with strangers to figure out who they were and what motivate them in life. Danish culture is quite exotic to me as it was my first time in Scandinavia. It is really easy there to have a living in the outside while being in the city so it allows more connections. Feeling accepted is in the end the step that lead to further exploration, commitment and improvement.
I liked what I was seeing and I liked the way people interacted with me, directly and without violence. It is a really specific feeling to feel home while not being home. Quite delicious feeling actually. It inspired me creative works.
I visited Denmark and Sweden once again before living for Canada, I cycled the northern sea coast of Denmark and the way up to Helsinborg and once again it was an enchantment.
It’s not a hazard if our virtual civilization started with the Fée Electricité, The Fairy Electricity, the first flux of information commonly shared among human. Information flows connect in the antic canals remixed by the newness of the other’s irruption and conveyed by the mix of media and technology interrelated within networks of texts, subjects and interfaces. In a civilisation integrating fully the human subjectivity and considering cultural divergence as an asset, we could be happier.
The Fairy Electricty as described by Apollinaire as a Fairy for party and fun. And fun for all.
Some advanced states of conscious find innovative ways to change and innovate while others stable dead forms are derailing into contempt and self-complacency. After the war, Denmark had to rebuilt and to recover from bombing and occupation by successively the Swedish and the German, just as France with war II, they knew what fascism is. They learnt from that terrible experience how to transform their social forms of communication. This is the resilient city my resilient soul and body were calling for : the informational city made as fluid as we dreamed it.
Notes : giving the abuses and negatively motivated contributions I faced through my Twitter account, mostly due to a gap in scientific literacy with the audience and a blatent sexism, while producing this research, I am decided to put an end to further explorations of the subject in my social networks and come back to white papers instead.
Ce(tte) œuvre est mise à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution – Pas d’Utilisation Commerciale – Partage dans les Mêmes Conditions 4.0 International.