Maid in Cyberspace


Stephanie Cunningham




Stephanie Cunningham is an artist/designer currently residing in Chicago, IL. Educated in industrial design at the Kansas City Art Institute and graphic design at The University of Notre Dame she has worked as a designer since 1987. She began creating work for the Internet in 1993. Her research interests are communication and issues of identity on the Internet. Her work examines the effect of the Internet on contemporary society. It uses the interactive nature of the net to include the audience as participants. The websites are eventually realized in a physical form that become gallery installations. Other websites include "Character Sites" which was included in the 1994 Prix Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria and was also awarded a prize in MIT's 1995 Portraits in Cyberspace competition. It will again be exhibited in the fall of 1997 at the Chicago Cultural Center in conjuntion with the ISEA conference. "Voice" has been on-line since 1995 and has been exhibited at the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame and A.R.C. Gallery in Chicago, Il. She will begin teaching design at Florida Atlantic University in the Fall of 1997.

SILENCE evolved from research concerning the differing communication styles between men and women on the Intrnet. My research indicated that women were more likely to communicate while men used a confrontational style that intimidated many women. For a period of time the Internet was a bit like an old boys club that women were discouraged from joining by this type of behavior. A lot has changed in the past couple of years as more men and women have logged on. This piece is not meant to condemn men but to point out how confrontation and intimidation is used to demean and belittle others while maintaining an exclusive experience for the inflictor--a universal but not gender-specific experience. A visit to the contribution section of the SILENCE site reveals that many "bullies" still lurk on the net.