Syster Papyri Magicae is a project that unfolds the phenomenon of gender exclusions in male-dominated tech environments, aiming to document, discuss and activate a variety of feminist practices that respond to this issue.
The Syster Papyri Magicae website enables a playful navigation to a collection of stories and practices that are gathered in a growing, editable Wiki. Aided by the early web magic of hyperlinks, one may discover documentation of sexist incidents in tech, feminist hacker projects, wiki pages to write their versions of stories, or even dead-ends. A fictional context of sorcery provides a game-like atmosphere but is also tactically used. On the one hand, the witch as an excluded figure symbolises female strength, that challenges patriarchal systems. On the other hand, witchcraft is a theme ever-present in the geek culture, proposing that technology has a source of magical power, that one can harness for their own sense of agency and empowerment.
Strolling through the website, the visitor encounters several quests, that challenge them to choose what they would do in situations of exclusion. This method helps them realise how hard it is, to take action under these circumstances. It is also a way to open discussions on diverse feminist approaches, learn about feminist hacker practices, and if interested, become a contributor.
Syster Papyri Magicae (2020) is published under the terms of the Peer Production License (PPL). The Peer Production License is an example of CopyFair licensing, in which only other commoners, collectives and nonprofits can share and re-use the material in question.
Artemis Gryllaki is a researcher and media artist, with a background in architecture and music. Her current work focuses on the urgencies and potentials of autonomous networks and feminist communities.