Arachne

Hello World

The central question the Arachne webzine takes up is the relationship of mythology to the internet.

Despite the running joke what to call it; sometimes called, ‘cyberspace’, ‘online’, ‘the web,’ ‘the net,’ etc., the internet was originally called the ‘World Wide Web’ (www) by one of its creators, Tim Berners-Lee. Berners-Lee defines the concept in his book, Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web (1999) as: “The set of all information accessible using computers and networking, each unit of information identified by a URI.” Metaphors of linking as weaving, the ‘web’ are pervasive in both the original language used to define the internet, and its evolving use.

The zine’s theme comes from myth of Arachne, an origin story for the spider described in Ovid’s The Metamorphoses (Latin: Metamorphoseon libri, “Books of Transformations,” 8 AD). Arachne (Greek: ἀράχνη) was a weaver who was challenged by the goddess Pallas Minerva (Greek: Athena, Ἀθηνᾶ) to a weaving contest. Her story represents the theme of humans holding contests with the gods. Although there are other accounts, in Ovid’s story, Arachne fatally lost, despite the goodness of her craft and the beauty of the garment she produced. As a sort of lenient curse for thinking she could beat Pallas Minerva, Arachne and all of her offspring were transformed into spiders, allowing them to keep weaving while no longer enjoying human pleasures.

From Ovid’s The Metamorphoses:

The symbolic relationship of a spider to the internet could be interpreted in many ways.

The zine’s thematics of gender, labor, and technology focus this project on explorations of the landscape upon which ideas of self, society, public, community, and craft, are constructed online today, using the myth of the spider as a starting point. Contributions reflect writer’s interpretations of the theme.

Contact: arachnezine at gmail dot com for content inquiries.

Arachne #02—on gender, labour and technology

Contributors