Cardiff BookTalk: Her Body and Other Parties (online, 15 November 2022)

Want to geek out about Carmen Maria Machado? Want to see four literary professionals geek out about Carmen Maria Machado? Or are you just in the mood for a good book or for some good old fashioned spooky stories? Whatever the reason, join us at Cardiff BookTalk on 15 November, 19:00 – 20:30 GMT, for an online talk about Her Body and Other Parties, Machado’s debut short story collection. The event is free and open to all. Book your place via Eventbrite.

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Retracing the Library (in-person workshop 16 November 2022)

Photo by Megen de Bruin-Molé

Join us for a free creative workshop where you will become part of the strange ebb and flow of Winchester School of Art Library! This session is part of both the Creative Posthumanism series and the UK’s Being Human Festival. It will take place in person on 16th November, 2022 (2-4pm UK time) and will start at Winchester School of Art library, West Side Building, Park Avenue, Winchester.

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Gothic Remixed: The Playlist

Happy spooky month! To celebrate the season and the paperback edition of Gothic Remixed, I’ve made a playlist of 21 songs that mash up or remix Gothic literature in different ways, available on Spotify and Apple Music. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed making it—and let me know if you have any recommendations to add to the list.

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Monstrous Words: Writing and Incoherence (27 July 2022)

If you enjoyed the last two workshops from the Creative Posthumanism project, or if you wanted to attend but couldn’t make it, we’d like to welcome you to our third and final event of the summer, ‘Monstrous Words: Writing and Incoherence’ (Wednesday 27 July 2022, 2-4pm BST)

Join artist Rebecca Jagoe in a play with language and writing incoherence. Incoherence can be expressed in writing on many levels, for instance in terms of narrative, in the sense of neologisms (for instance in the different spellings of Middle English), or in the transcription of nonverbal sound into roman or other characters. We will think together about how a language deficit or specific forms of speech have been used to deny access to the category of the human. This means we will also be writing in defiance of the idea of rationality and knowability—not only of subjects, but of the ability of language to catalogue and define them. We will work towards what Erin Manning (2020) calls a pragmatics of the useless; ‘the way the work’s work eludes us, escapes us, the way it delays the affirmation of its tenuous apparition, the way it touches us, in the lag’ (p. 15).

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WAKE ISLAND podcast on Monster Mashups and Frankenfictions

Looking for a listen that’s spooky but casual, a slow burn for your morning commute? Then you might be interested in the newest episode from WAKE ISLAND, a bi-weekly podcast hosted by Paul K and David Leo Rice. In it, we have a lovely and wide-ranging chat about the public domain as both an unmarked grave and as a place of rebirth, the tentacular, mashups/remix studies, Twilight, and our current undead state.

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Materials from the ‘Scrapbooking the Wasteland’ workshop

The second workshop in this year’s Creative Posthumanism series took place on June 1st, 2022. Workshop coordinators Angela YT Chan and Cristina Diamant invited participants to ‘scrapbook the wasteland’. We did so by looking at the mix of extractive practices that (re)produce wastelands, drawing together a variety of materials and theories to “reconfigure the relationship between our own situated embodiments and technological developments from a more-than-human ethical perspective, acknowledging the affect behind our response and confronting the biases that hold us back”.

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Scrapbooking the Wasteland—A Posthumanist Terror Management Theory Toolkit

Are you interested in critical posthumanism and the creative arts? Did you see images from our zine-making workshop and wish you’d been able to join us? Now is your chance! Our next Creative Posthumanism workshop will be on Wednesday, 1st June 2022, from 2-4pm at Winchester School of Art. This week, our theme (and the focus of our collaborative making project) is ‘Scrapbooking the Wasteland—A Posthumanist Terror Management Theory Toolkit’.

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Zine Workshop: Being Human under Technocapitalism

Last week we ran a pilot event in the Creative Posthumanism project, specially for the postgraduate research (PhD) community at Winchester School of Art (WSA). The event was facilitated by me and Noriko Suzuki-Bosco, an artist, artist’s book-maker, and fellow bibliophile who has also worked with me on several previous zine workshops. The theme? ‘Being Human under Technocapitalism’.

The plan was to create something collaboratively, using the creative process to think differently about topics we might historically have only considered academically or through critical writing. The exact format of the zine was decided on the day, once we could see how many participants we had and could discuss what everyone felt comfortable with. In the end we had a nice small group of around six people, which meant we could all speak to each other and work together around the same table.

In the first part of the session we introduced participants to the process of making an individual zine, including the work of folding and cutting the paper and the types of things you might have as topics or content. We also introduced them to the materials we had assembled: magazines, patches, bits of washi tape, stickers, and other decorations.

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Creative Posthumanism

IMAGE BY 愚木混株

This summer I’ll be launching a series of pilot workshops as part of the Creative Posthumanism project, including sessions on zine-making, scrapbooking, and performance art. More news on these sessions will follow soon, but in the meantime I wanted to share a little bit about the rationale behind the project. Humanistic principles underpin key discourses in biology (we are individual entities), psychology (we are individual actors), economics (we are rational actors), law (we are responsible for our actions), art (we are individual authors of human stories), AI research (the goal is to produce computers which “think like us”), medicine (there is a clear idea of a healthy human which we should aim to remain in line with), and ecology (the earth should be optimised for human habitation). In many of these areas, however, the centrality of such thought is being questioned. Critical posthumanism is an academic field of inquiry that deconstructs the human (and humanitarian) impacts of these liberal humanist systems and institutions, particularly in the ways that they have been accelerated and exacerbated by advancing technologies.

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