Discussing Deviance at Winchester School of Art

Photos from the Winchester School of Art launch of Gothic Remixed are now available in this event report on the MA Global Media Management blog. Thank you to everyone who could join us! It was wonderful to celebrate with you, and to hear more about the other book presented at the launch, Fashion Crimes: Dressing for Deviance (ed. Jo Turney)

Image © Dr Estrella Sendra

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Gothic Remixed Publicity and Joint Book Launch (London, 14 November 2019)

Since the publication of Gothic Remixed on 31 October, I have been doing some local publicity. You can read an interview I did with the University of Southampton’s media team at this link. A brief excerpt from the interview is below:

“We have this idea of monsters as ‘others’ and as objects of cult fandom but actually in the last 10-20 years they’re not cult anymore but more mainstream,” Dr de Bruin-Molé explains. “I want people to think about what it means that monsters are now mainstream – is it even possible for a monster, which is inherently peripheral, to be mainstream? What do we do with that? What does that say about our contemporary culture?” [read more here]

On 14 November, The Second Shelf feminist bookshop will also welcome myself and Dr Liz Gloyn to talk about monsters, metamorphoses, and modernity (and for a small launch party). In Gothic Remixed: Monster Mashups and Frankenfictions in 21st-Century Culture, I look at what the current popularity of the ‘monster mash’ can reveal about our assumptions regarding originality, monstrosity, authorship, and historiography; Tracking Classical Monsters in Popular Culture takes Liz on a journey around the contemporary world to explore why the monsters of ancient myth continue to survive in our world. Liz and I will read extracts from our books before a short discussion around the continuing power and meaning of monsters.

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‘Technologies of Gender’ Symposium (5 June 2019)

Are you interested in gender and/or technology? I am co-organising an interdisciplinary symposium next week at Winchester School of Art called ‘Technologies of Gender’. It aims to explore the ways in which technology shapes (and is shaped by) our constructions of gender identity, and also to offer a space in which scholars from different fields and faculties can share their perspectives on this topic. Speakers will include artists and industry professionals, as well as academics from the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

The event is open to all, and lunch will be provided, so please do come along! Registration is free, but you are strongly advised to book ahead, so we can ensure there is enough food for everyone. Click here to access the registration portal.

You will find a brief description of the event and programme below. More information is available at the symposium website.

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Bioethics and the Posthumanities

In UK academia, opportunities for discussion with people working outside your discipline have become increasingly rare. Even rarer is the chance to speak about your research with people from other industries. This is why I was especially eager to attend the ‘Bioethics and the Posthumanities’ workshop on 28th March 2019, which included presentations from researchers in … Read more

GMM Study Visit to the V&A (18 February 2019)

As part of this year’s programme of events under the theme ‘Gendering Technology’, my students on the MA in Global Media Management took a study visit to London’s Victoria & Albert museum. In the morning we visited the special exhibition ‘Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt’, which was prefaced by an introduction from exhibition curator Marie Foulston. In the afternoon we were introduced to the V&A’s brand new Photography Centre by Dr Mihaela Brebenel.

Introduction by Marie Foulston

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Art vs Craft: Zine-Making as Feminist Practice

At the beginning of December, students and staff at Winchester School of Art (where I work) took part in a series of Critical Media Practice workshops, focused around the theme of ‘Gendering Technology’. The workshops developed practical skills, but also explored the gendered dimensions of technology’s access and use, and the framing of debates around gender identities and technology. Together with digital media scholar Mihaela Brebenel, I ran one of these workshops, and the topic of our session was ‘Zine-Making as Feminist Practice’. You can find the session slides here. The workshop was inspired by my previous experiences with zine-making at Feminist Archive South, by the fabulous work done by Anti-Precarity Cymru to raise awareness about casualisation and neoliberalisation in academia (including a 2019 calendar!), and by an article by Carly and Jennifer Jean Bagelman.

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CfP: ‘Neo-Victorianism and the Senses: Sensing the Past’

The University of Surrey (UK) is hosting a one-day conference on Friday 22nd March 2019. Their call for papers closes on 16th December 2018. Keynote Speaker: Professor Rosario Arias, University of Málaga ‘Every sensorial perception is at the same time past and present’ (Hamilakis, 2013). Since the publication of William A. Cohen’s seminal text Embodied: Victorian Literature and … Read more

CfP: (Neo-)Victorian ‘Orientations’ in the Twenty-First Century

University of Málaga (Spain) May 15-17, 2019 Under the auspices of the Research Project “Orientation: Towards a Dynamic Understanding of Contemporary Fiction and Culture (1990s-2000s)” (ref. FFI2017-86417-P), funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, this conference addresses past, present and future orientations of (neo-)Victorian literature and culture. Ann Heilmann and Mark Llewellyn’s … Read more

What is Frankenfiction?

Image via Editorial Planeta

The remix, the mashup, and the reboot have come to dominate Western popular culture. These texts are the ‘monsters’ of our age—hybrid creations that lurk at the limits of responsible consumption and acceptable appropriation. Like monsters, mashups offer audiences the thrill of transgression in a safe and familiar format. And like other popular texts before them, they are often read by critics as a sign of the artistic and moral degeneration of contemporary culture.

With this context in mind, my research explores the boundaries and connections between contemporary remix culture and its Others (adaptation, parody, the Gothic, Romanticism, postmodernism). It often does so by examining remix culture’s most ‘monstrous’ and liminal texts: Frankenfictions, or commercial narratives that insert fantastical monsters into classic literature and popular historical contexts. In this definition, Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein serves as a touchstone, offering an ideal metaphor for appropriative creativity in the twenty-first century.

Frankenfiction includes direct appropriations of classic literature, like the bestselling Quirk Classics novels, but also literary-historical dramas like the Sky/Showtime TV series Penny Dreadful (2014–2016), the depiction of monsters through an historical aesthetic in Travis Louie’s photorealistic paintings, and much, much more. It is monstrous not only because of the fantastical monsters it contains, but because of its position on the boundary between remix and more established modes of appropriation. Too engaged with tradition for some, and not traditional enough for others, Frankenfiction is a bestselling genre that nevertheless remains peripheral to critical discussions of remix. 

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