Digital artist Ann Hirsch on why her ‘singing vagina’ empowers women – and terrifies men

Since discovering chatrooms at age 12, she has made subversive appearances on reality TV as well as her own YouTube channel. She explains why ‘in five years, everyone will be showing their vagina on the internet’

I’ve seen more of Ann Hirsch than I have of possibly anybody else on the planet. To be specific, I watched her one-minute film of her vagina “singing” I Feel Pretty, which is brilliant and hilarious and joyful, and makes you feel sad and angry about all the other vaginas on the internet which are shaved, penetrated and exploited. But we’ll get to Hirsch and her vagina later.

We meet at the Zabludowicz Collection gallery in north London, where Hirsch, a digital and online artist, is creating a new installation of Playground, her 2013 play, as part of a group show. There are no vagina videos here. Playground is far less playful but touches on the same issues: how to be female and in an online space, and how and when women can express their sexuality, and at what cost. It is a biographical work – as a pre-teen in the 90s, Hirsch discovered AOL chatrooms which were, at first, a way to talk to new friends. When she was 12, she started an online relationship with a man in his late 20s, which quickly became sexual (although they never actually met).

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