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Ruskin discussed on BBC Radio Scotland

Dr Rachel Dickinson, from the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at MMU, can be heard on BBC Radio Scotland tomorrow (Tuesday 15th April) at 13.32, discussing John Ruskin’s failed marriage to Effie Gray in a programme entitled Women with a Past: Effie Gray.

This is an example of unexpected impact: in researching the programme, the producer, Dr Louise Yeoman, read one of Dickinson’s submissions for REF2014, a book chapter entitled ‘Of Ruskin, Women and Power’,  and thought the MMU academic might offer an interesting angle for the programme.  Following an initial phone conversation, Dickinson was invited to join Yeoman and the host, Susan Morrison, for two days of taping on location in Scotland on 9th and 10th February.

More details can be found here http://www.bbc-now.co.uk/programmes/b0403swf.  The photo at this link is of Dickinson (L) and Morrison looking at Effie Gray’s family plot in a Perth cemetery.

April 14th, 2014 - 11:22am

A Clockwork Orange: Restored Edition released on 5 December

A Clockwork Orange: Restored Edition released on 5 December alongside a new online resource featuring rare material from the Anthony Burgess archives.

Penguin’s A Clockwork Orange: Restored Edition – complete with a striking cover design from Barnbrook studio – hits the shelves on 5 December. To mark the paperback release of Burgess’s original text The International Anthony Burgess Foundation will launch an online resource of articles, images and podcasts covering everything you need to know about the novel and the film, and next year will host Day of the Droogs, an event offering new perspectives on cinema, gang culture and young masculinity.

A ‘terrifying and marvellous book’ (Roald Dahl), this fully restored edition reinstates the author’s original text, and includes a Nadsat glossary, explanatory notes, extracts from Anthony Burgess’s illustrated manuscript, author interviews and a foreword by Martin Amis.

The authentic, back-to-basics attitude of the publication is also reflected in the cover design from Barnbrook. Jonathan Barnbrook, the designer of David Bowie’s recent albums and the acclaimed Penguin Modern Classics cover for George Orwell’s 1984, describes his cover creation as ‘bold and uncompromising’ with Penguin’s Art Director, Jim Stoddart, stating Barnbrook’s design makes this latest edition ‘a book you just have to own’.

A Clockwork Orange Online Resource (5 December 2013)

In addition to the Penguin paperback release, the International Anthony Burgess Foundation will be unveiling a new online resource for A Clockwork Orange.

Visit www.anthonyburgess.org on 5 December and you’ll be able to access everything you ever needed to know about the book and the film: myth-busting facts, full bibliographies, informative articles about the evolution of the novel and the film, a gallery of book covers, podcasts and much more.

Day of the Droogs (29 January 2014)

To mark the publication of A Clockwork Orange Restored Edition the International Anthony Burgess Foundation and Manchester Metropolitan University’s Institute of Humanities and Social Science Research presents Day of the Droogs, a free day-long event focussing on the critical views surrounding a A Clockwork Orange and its legacies, including new perspectives on cinema, gang culture and young masculinity.

Full details here: http://www.hssr.mmu.ac.uk/hip/day-of-the-droogs/

 

About Anthony Burgess and the International Anthony Burgess Foundation

Born in Manchester in 1917, Burgess grew up in Harpurhey and Moss Side, went to school in Rusholme and studied at The University of Manchester. A prolific novelist, poet, playwright, composer and critic, he wrote thirty-three novels, twenty-five works of non-fiction, hundreds of musical works and vast quantities of journalism.

Based in Manchester, the Burgess Foundation has an extensive library, archive and study centre containing Burgess’s books, music and papers. It also has a performance venue where we present new work by writers, artists and musicians. The Burgess Foundation is an entirely independent charity that welcomes all individuals and institutions interested in Burgess’s work. Visit www.anthonyburgess.org for more information.

For further information, images and interviews, please contact

Clare Preston-Pollitt

Events and Marketing Officer

International Anthony Burgess Foundation

0161 235 0776

events@anthonyburgess.org

December 9th, 2013 - 18:00pm

Remembering Sister Ruth

Dr Andrew Moor, MMU English Department’s Reader in Cinema History, recently took part in a Tribute Evening to the actress Kathleen Byron in the glorious setting of London’s Cinema Museum in darkest Kennington.

Kathleen Byron died in 2009, and so it was great that many members of her family were able to participate too. Her son, the actor Jasper Jacob, said how touched his mother would have been by the whole event, and how amazed that her work on film is now so highly regarded.

Byron is particularly associated with the filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. She makes an impression as an efficient Heavenly Angel in their 1946 fantasy A Matter of Life and Death. She will, though, forever be associated with one role: ‘mad’ Sister Ruth, casting off her nun’s habit, lasciviously applying red lipstick and throwing herself at louche Mr Dean in Powell and Pressburger’s Technicolor masterpiece Black Narcissus (1947). It was a supporting role, and she is the most memorable thing in an astonishing film. Unfortunately, nothing she did since matched that part – as Powell predicted – though she starred in a later film for them, The Small Back Room (1949), and alongside bringing up her family she continued to work in film, television and on stage. You may remember brief appearances in David Lynch’s Elephant Man and Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan.

The event’s host, Steve Chibnall of De Montford University, introduced a packed audience to Kathleen’s work, before Sarah Street (Bristol University) spoke about ‘that role’ as the wayward Nun. It made her career, but in many ways it also hampered it. Hollywood associated her with ‘neurotics’ and unlike her contemporary Deborah Kerr the higher echelons of stardom didn’t beckon. She just seemed too intelligent, strong and confrontational a woman for the sober 1950s.

Andrew Moor spoke about her role in The Small Back Room – a tense thriller about German booby-trapped explosives set in 1943. Here Byron is in a supporting lead role as Susan, girlfriend to the central character, bomb-disposal expert Sammy. The film has traces of noir, of romance and of ‘Boy’s Own’ wartime thriller, though Andrew’s talked suggested that Bryon’s muted, intelligent and mature performance provides a stable centre of strong, feminine realism to what is otherwise a deeply neurotic film about a male character who is falling apart at the seams.

After a break, there was a lively discussion with members of Kathleen’s family. Her daughter Harriet spoke about her mother’s affair with Michael Powell, and recalled how surprised Kathleen had been when her old films with Powell rocketed in reputation in the 1970s. Her son Jasper reminded the audience that his mother was as proud of some of her television work in literary adaptations.

The event, which was on 21st November, was put on to raise funds for the astonishing Cinema Museum in South London. Occupying the old Lambeth workhouse, where the young Charlie Chaplin lived and toiled as a young boy with his mother, the Museum is a ramshackle temple to film-buffery and slim-funded enthusiasm. Details of the Museum and of other events taking place there can be found at http://www.cinemamuseum.org.uk

– Dr Andrew Moor

 

 

December 9th, 2013 - 17:26pm

Social Movements Conference – Call for Papers


From 1995 to 2013, Manchester Metropolitan University hosted a series of very successful annual international conferences on ‘ALTERNATIVE FUTURES and POPULAR PROTEST’.

We’re very happy to announce that the Nineteenth AF&PP Conference will be held, between Monday 14th April and Wednesday 16th April 2014.

The Conference rubric remains as in previous years. The aim is to explore the dynamics of popular movements, along with the ideas which animate their activists and supporters and which contribute to shaping their fate. Given the significance of the mass movements in numbers of countries during the early years of this decade, we especially welcome papers discussing these – while no less welcoming suggestions on other topics.

Reflecting the inherent cross-disciplinary nature of the issues, previous participants (from over 60 countries) have come from such specialisms as sociology, politics, cultural studies, social psychology, economics,  history and geography.  The Manchester conferences have also been notable for discovering a fruitful and friendly meeting ground between activism and academia.

CALL FOR PAPERS

We invite offers of papers relevant to the conference themes.  Papers should address such matters as:

* contemporary and historical social movements and popular protests

* social movement theory

* utopias and experiments

* ideologies of collective action

* etc.

To offer a paper, please contact either of the conference convenors with a brief abstract:

EITHER Colin Barker, Dept. of Sociology

OR Mike Tyldesley, Dept. of Politics and Philosophy

Manchester Metropolitan University

Geoffrey Manton Building, Rosamond Street West

Manchester M15 6LL, England

email: c.barker@mmu.ac.uk

Tel: M. Tyldesley  0161 247 3460

email: m.tyldesley@mmu.ac.uk

Fax: 0161 247 6769 (+44 161 247 6769)

(Wherever possible, please use email, especially as Colin Barker is a retired gent. Surface mail and faxes should only be addressed to Mike Tyldesley)

 

November 21st, 2013 - 21:13pm

Knowledge is Power: new seminar series launches from Space/Place/Culture Cluster

Space/Place/Culture Public Seminar Programme

The Space/Place/Culture RKE Cluster at MMU announce the first of a series of public seminars. All welcome.

Thursday 21st November, 5.15pm-7.00pm (approx end time)
Room 315, MMU Business School

Dr Jess Edwards (Head of the Department of English, MMU)

‘Thomas Hobbes, Charles Cotton and the Wonders of the Derbyshire Peak’

I’ll be talking about two seventeenth-century writers who describe, from personal experience, the ‘wonders’ of the Derbyshire Peak district, one of the first destinations for English domestic tourism. I will argue that Hobbes’s ‘De Mirabilibus Pecci’ (1636) finds in the Peak a space on which to project that triangulation of reason, fear and power for which Hobbes would later become notorious, and that Charles Cotton’s ‘Wonders of the Peake’ (1681), makes explicit the science and the politics in Hobbes’s poetic topography, confronting and revising them. Each topographic poem is a self-conscious intervention in heated contemporary debates about science, government and their relation to various conceptions of the state of nature. I came to Hobbes and Cotton via subsequent generations of domestic tourists writing about the Peak, and I’m interested in travel and landscape writing in all its manifestations, so will welcome a discussion that views these poems in a much broader context than that of the English seventeenth century.

About the Space/Place/Culture Public Seminar Programme:

The ‘spatial turn’ has opened up dynamic synergies – and occasional tensions – between the work of cultural geographers and researchers working in a range of fields across the humanities. As Douglas Richardson explains, ‘ideas, terminology, and concepts such as space, place, scale, landscape, geography, and mapping’ now permeate interdisciplinary academic research as ‘conceptual frameworks, methodologies, and core metaphors’. Saliently, Richardson – Executive Director of the Association of American Geographers – also points out that such tropes have become increasingly prominent within public life as evidenced, in this country, by a collective preoccupation with edgelands, psychogeography, liminal spaces, cultural cartography and so on. Moreover, the proliferation of digital geographical technologies – including Sat Navs and Google Earth – has revolutionised the practice of everyday life. Researchers at MMU have recognised the shared emphasis on geographic themes as a focus for both internal cross-disciplinary collaboration and as a means to engage wider publics with academic research; the Space/Place/Culture Public Seminar Programme is a forum where such research can be discussed, and is open to anyone.

Forthcoming seminars:
Thursday 12th December – Tracey Potts (Culture, Film & Media, Nottingham)
The Matter Work Of The Heidelberg Project

Thursday 16th  January – Simon Faulkner (Art History, MMU)
The politics of here and there: Visual representations of spatial difference in Israel/Palestine

For further enquiries: g.macdonald@mmu.ac.uk

 

November 17th, 2013 - 16:14pm

Launch of International ‘Literary Geographies’ Journal

David Cooper (English, MMU Cheshire) has been working with colleagues from the University of Tokyo, University College London, the University of Nottingham and the University of Oulu (Finland), on the launch of a new international online journal dedicated to the ever-expanding field of literary geographies.

Literary Geographies is a new interdisciplinary open-access e-journal that provides a forum for new research and collaboration in the field of literary/geographical studies. The journal features work combining topics and methods from literary studies, cultural geography, cartography, and spatial theory. Recognising that the term ‘literary geography’ itself (along with its variants in other languages) has multiple meanings and is practised in a variety of ways within different academic traditions, the journal takes a broad view of its subject matter. The journal is fully refereed, and welcomes submissions (in English) from scholars at all career stages, and from all parts of the world. The Literary Geographies website went live in November 2013 and the journal is now accepting submissions for the first issue of the journal in 2014. Please follow the link for further information on the submission process and for full details of the journal’s international editorial board.

 

November 15th, 2013 - 10:58am

New PhD Studentships in Arts and Humanities at MMU

New studentships now available under the AHRC North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership (NWC DTP)

The MIRIAD/School of Art Research /Degrees Programme and the Faculty of Humanities Languages and Social Science, Manchester Metropolitan University will welcome applications through the AHRC North West Consortium Doctoral Training Programme from potential PhD students interested in research in the listed areas. The scheme will be launched on 1st December and the application deadline is 21st February. For further details about the particulars of the AHRC scheme at MMU and informal enquiries, please email Professor Jim Aulich (J.Aulich@mmu.ac.uk). For subject specific information see the named contacts below.

Funding for these studentships is conditional on attaining a place in the MMU Graduate School and successful application to the AHRC North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership. The Consortium will be awarding 200 PhD studentships over a five year period to excellent research students in the arts and humanities. It will provide research candidates with the potential for cross-institutional mentoring, expert supervision including cross-institutional supervision where appropriate, subject-specific and generic training, and professional support in preparing for and developing a career. Full details will be available from the NWCDTP website from 1st December through the link found on the Graduate School website

 

November 15th, 2013 - 10:15am

Gothic Music in Three Tracks

Prof Isabella van Elferen shares some of her thoughts on three key tracks that exemplify the various aspects of Gothic Music. Here is her selection:

1. Nine Inch Nails, ‘Closer’

The band that has perhaps been most important for the musical link between industrial and Goth is Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails. The lyrics of ‘Closer’ (The Downward Spiral, 1994) play out on the boundaries between emotional and libidinal desire as well as those between the carnal and the divine, leading to a poignant search for the place where inside and outside collapse. Coming ‘closer’ must, it seems, involve a crossing of all borders:

The only thing that works for me

Help me get away from myself,

I want to f*ck you like an animal

I want to feel you from the inside

My whole existence is flawed

You get me closer to God

The theme of transgression is musically expressed in the constant conjunction of human and machinic voices, and of music and noise. Guitars, piano and Reznor’s voice represent the natural voices in this track’s overfilled musical texture, while a drum computer and machinic samples overlay these with emphatically industrial connotations. Reznor’s voice is distorted in different ways throughout the song, showing more and less human versions of the singer as well as of the feelings he expresses. The desire to rise up to a divine level (‘you get me closer to God’) is depicted musically by rising motifs in all instruments. The fact that these motifs are repeated over and over again but do not cadence suggests that ‘getting closer’ does not lead to closure, and that the transgression is not – or perhaps cannot be – completed. Repetition here, as in other Gothic music, leads to a loss of chronological anchoring, so that song, singer and listener remain trapped in the timelessness of desire.

The music video to ‘Closer’ adds further layers to Nine Inch Nails’s industrial exploration of boundaries. The video was recorded on a canister of unused old film, and shows crackled, sepia images of Victorian machines while Reznor wears leather aviator goggles and is shown floating. The imagery is that of steampunk, which signifies not only the collaboration between man and machine but also a nostalgia for the futurism of the past, so that the lyrical and musical boundary-crossings of the track are met by a visual conflation of temporalities. A further visualisation of the industrial crossover between nature and technology occurs in the use of biological and animal imagery. A human heart is connected to a machine, and beats exactly in time with the percussion, evoking in the viewer an indexical relation between sound and image: the human heart makes a machinic noise. Similarly pig heads and crawling beetles are inserted in the steampunk setup of the video. These ‘beastly’ pictures also serve to underline the song’s evaluation of the libidinal drive: ‘I want to f*ck you like an animal.’ Besides an abundance of BDSM references, the parts of the video that were deemed most controversial were the images of a naked woman wearing a satin mask with a crucifix and that of living monkey tied to a crucifix. These images sum up the transgressions that dominate the text: the animal-sexual, which is expressed in human-technological voices, aspires to come closer to the divine. Nine Inch Nails’s steampunk exploration of Gothic liminality got the video censored by MTV.

2. Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio, ‘Hell is my refuge – A golden dawn for a Judas kiss’

The ‘apocalyptic folk’ of Swedish neofolk band Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio (ORE) emphasises the transgressive potential of pagan ritual. ORE’s texts explore the boundaries between the secular and the sacred, and between normative and deviant sexuality. ORE’s concerts are designed like secular rituals led by band founder and lead singer’s Tomas Pettersson, whose solemn voice searches for the musically transcendental while on-stage BDSM performances move on the blurry lines between lust and pain, art and torture. The band’s musical sound is determined by the ominous spoken declamation of song lyrics, the use of martial rhythms and heavy timpani rolls, and extensive reverb on all parts. ‘Hell is my refuge – A golden dawn for a Judas kiss’ appeared on ORE’s 2006 album Apocalips. Like other Goth bands ORE explores the Gothic transgression of boundaries by bringing together the seeming opposites of sacred and secular, norm and deviation, past and present through an evocation and rewriting of existing literary – in this case biblical – tropes:

See not my soul, it is feared and despised

Be seduced by my words and deceived by the light

I am raped by my sister, she’s my brother disguised

Let hell be my refuge, I am Jesus defiled

Pettersson and female lead singer Rose-Marie Larssen slowly recite these lyrics in solemn voices evoking pagan rituals that are distorted by vocoders and reverb effects. High-pitched female voices singing the same words overlay their voices, but as these descants move at a much slower pace the listener’s sense of time gets stretched and distorted, torn between two simultaneous musical timespaces. This effect is increased by the seemingly endless echoes on the one hand and faster rhythmical samples of the same female voices on the other, which each introduce yet different temporalities. All of these musical reflections on chronology are played against the extremely slow basic tempo of the song, whose timelessness prevents any hierarchy between the free-floating tempos of the other parts. The track is instrumentally bleak, consisting only of a low keyboard octave in C, rolling timpani, the occasional sound of a wood rasp, and fragments of a hurdy-gurdy melody. As every single part is produced with maximum reverb, a tremendously wide sense of space is created. ‘Hell is my Refuge’ is thus shaped as a musical impression of the apocalyptical apprehension by which genre is identified. The concept of the apocalypse signifies the end of time, but this ending is, in and of itself, eternally locked in the future: it discloses the never-ending now of the simultaneity of fear of and nostalgia for the future. This fundamental hauntology and out-of-joint temporality of the apocalypse is expressed by ORE’s ‘fantastic vision’ by the clashing temporalities of the simultaneous parts of this track against the musical emptiness that is its basis.

3. Siouxsie and the Banshees, ‘Premature Burial’

Even though punk singer Siouxsie Sioux claimed she wanted nothing to do with it, she has become a key figure in old school Goth. Her expressive hair style, black make-up and elaborate outfits surely have played a role in this, but Siouxsie and the Banshees music, too, has been crucial in the development of the Goth sound. An often-quoted interview with the Banshees’ guitarist Steven Severin relates the genesis of the band’s sound as well as the way in which it became closely entangled with the early sound of Goth. It shows how deeply the band was embedded in musical idioms that have for different reasons been associated with Gothic and Goth subcultural capital:

We didn’t tell John [McKay] ‘Oh, you have to play an A-sharp minor there, and it’ll be really spooky.’ We’d say, ‘Make it a cross between the Velvet Underground and the scene from Psycho.’

‘Premature Burial’ from the LP Join Hands (1979) definitely belongs among the songs that influenced later Goth music. The theme of premature burial, which is taken from Edgar Allen Poe’s story of the same name, is used for the exploration of self-entrapment, the singer questioning her own being if being relies solely on her own perception. As with Joy Division, even if the similarity is unintentional the theme and tropes used by the Banshees here do not get much more Gothic than that even in the Poe’s own stories. Interestingly, a musical metaphor is used to create a sense of religious destabilisation also. A reference to Gregorian chant rings spooky and transgressive, shifting the mood of the song to a metaphysical level:

This catacomb compels me

Corroding and inert

It weights and tries to pull me

Must I resist or re-assert?

The song is set in E minor and has a moderate tempo. It opens with a slow alternation of subdominant and tonic chords (Am and Em) on synthesizers which, through the insertion of a high dissonant noise, set the mood before the track commences. The eerie atmosphere created by the opening chords changes into a threatening chill as the reverbed guitar sets in a pounding, on-beat riff restating the two basic chords of the song. The bass guitar meanwhile plays what in classical music is called a lamento bass, an ostinato (repeated) theme consisting of a chromatically descending line. This technique is often used in funerary music; among the most famous lamento basses is that composed by Henry Purcell for ‘Dido’s Lament’, the tragic musical suicide letter in Dido and Aeneas. The appeal of this musical device in a song about premature burial is evident, and it serves to strengthen the gloomy mood of the piece. Differently than most classical lamento basses, Steven Severin’s Gothic update of the technique moves in eighth rather than quarter or half notes.

With the musical parameters thus set for funerary gloom, the verses begin. They consist of only two, repeated descending melodies sung by Sioux’s low alto. With the repeated chords in the instruments, lingering around tonic Em, this leads to a harmonic stasis that the track’s lyrical theme audible, tangible. Sioux’s voice, as always, has a deep and bleak sound. This almost unmusical vocal timbre is created through the employment of the speaking voice for singing, using hardly any resonance but strong breath support. The timbre makes her sound empty, void, out of place – like a ghost. It has a particularly dramatic effect in the chorus sections that have only a wordless ‘Lalala lala lalala’ as text, the melody doubling the chromatic line of the bass; the paradox between the unmusical vocal timbre and the clearly music-oriented text it sings underlines the undead motion of the ‘zombierama’ in the lyrics, while the chromatic shifts suggest the destabilisation of the known world outlined in the song. In these sections as well as in the many upward glissando ‘Oo-oooohhh’-motifs in the backing vocals, Sioux’s voice is dubbed, effecting a choir of ghosts or zombies, the voices of the dead in the catacomb that the lyrics paint. The motifs interrupt the flow of the song at various points, and here, too, the gliding movement of the motif has a highly disorienting effect: not only are they sung by ghostly voices, the musical glide away from pitch and key increases their otherworldliness as it slowly tears the listener away from origin and being. Towards the end of the track, when the text ‘we’re all brothers and sisters’ universalises the theme of self-doubt, male backing voices are added an octave below Sioux. The ‘Lalala lala lalala’ motif is now sung in canon – the utmost musical form of haunting – by a crowd of zombies as the guitars postpone an ending cadence in endlessly repeated syncopations. While all instruments and vocals in the song are built upon repetition and thus already emphasize the timelessness of the grave, these syncopations also dislocate it, dislodging it from any previous belonging.

These extracts appear in Gothic Music: The Sounds of the Uncanny (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2012), pp. 142-144, 157-158, 161-163.

Post organised by Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes

 

November 11th, 2013 - 22:56pm

Gothic TV / TV gothic

A Short Interview with Dr Stacey Abbott, Dr Linnie Blake and Dr Catherine Spooner

Why do you think the label ‘gothic’ might be useful when discussing TV programmes such as Supernatural or Dexter?

Catherine Spooner: ‘Gothic’ is a very flexible term with a great deal of critical purchase. It brings with it over two hundred and fifty years of literary, cinematic and cultural history that can be brought to bear on televisual texts in fascinating and productive ways. While shows like Supernatural draw on Gothic tradition in fairly obvious ways, albeit updating it for new audiences, I’m also interested when Gothic appears in single episodes of shows that might not otherwise be called Gothic. Many American comedy and drama series have special Hallowe’en episodes, for example, while makeover and lifestyle shows often take on Gothic – or ‘Goth’ subjects. To me, these one-off episodes can often tell us fascinating things about the relationship between Gothic and so-called ‘mainstream’ culture. What is Gothic? How is it defined and used by broadcasters and what does that tell us about contemporary culture – or contemporary television?

What do you think has led to such an explosion of TV programmes with gothic themes, motifs and characters?

Linnie Blake: Emerging, as it did, in an age of revolutionary change to everyday life and flourishing in periods of maximum social and economic turmoil, the Gothic has always enabled artists and audiences to negotiate the perils of their own particular age.  It seems no coincidence to me that the TV Gothic box set has flourished in the past twenty years, as our own world has been  transformed by the political philosophy of neo-liberalism: ushered in by Thatcher in the UK and Reagan in the US and spread across the world by the international corporation.  For me, series like Supernatural enable us to explore the transformations to our own world wrought by the end of heavy industry in the West, the coming of international satellite technologies, the global domination of the so-called Free Market and the increasing tendency to corporate-sponsored war.  The Gothic, with its cast of heroes and villains,  its thematics of painful transformation, horrific landscapes and ethical transgression is ideally situated to explore the changes that such phenomena have wrought to the ways we live, how we interact with each other and how we think of ourselves. Accordingly, my own work on the Gothic tends to focus on these political and socio-psychological themes.  The box set interests me as a neo-liberal cultural phenomenon and it’s for this reason that I’m both writing a book on it and editing a collection of essays.  As they won’t be out for a couple of years I’ll have to keep up with my TV viewing as I write.  It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it …

Would it be fair to say that Gothic TV is finally getting the critical attention it deserves?

Stacey Abbott: When Lorna and I began to work out on our book, it was because there was virtually now work done in this area except for Helen Wheatley’s outstanding book Gothic Television.  We wanted to push the debates further and to open up the discussion to a wider range of programming, much of which had never been discussed as horror or Gothic – like children’s programming or comedy.  Since working on the book, we have seen a great deal more work taking place, with outstanding essays and publications on shows like Dexter, Supernatural, Doctor Who and True Blood. But there is so much more to do. I think that the subject is getting the attention it deserves finally but we’ve just started to scratch the surface. I’m hoping we will continue to see more work done in this area. There is so much to talk about.

Questions by Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes

 

November 11th, 2013 - 22:45pm

Space/Place/Culture Research Seminar

IHSSR Space/Place/Culture Research Cluster present:

12 December, Room 315 in the Business School, at 5pm

THE MATTER WORK OF THE HEIDELBERG PROJECT

Taking a lead from Alan Liu’s exploration of the status of critical creativity in the post-industrial, information age, this paper will comprise a tour of Tyree Guyson’s Heidelberg Project in Detroit. With its particular treatment of materials, artefacts, space and place not to mention its sustained engagement with the materiality of redundancy, Heidelberg offers, I will argue, a compelling example of what Liu determines as ‘strong art’, i.e. art that is capable of presenting steadfast resistance in the era of ‘advanced creative destruction’. Above all, by making an explicit connection between people and things, the various assemblages of the Project can be seen to stand as material witnesses to the enforced obsolescence that forms the wake of capitalist dreams of progress and innovation.

Tracey Potts is lecturer in Critical Theory and Cultural Studies at the University of Nottingham. Her research interests revolve around questions of taste, aesthetics and material culture. She is co-author of Kitsch! Cultural Politics and Taste (2012, Manchester University Press). She is currently investigating landscapes of vernacular memory, links between creativity and waste disposal and popular strategies to minimise clutter , and is a Visiting Scholar, Wolfson College, Oxford University.

For further enquiries: t.edensor@mmu.ac.uk

All welcome!

October 31st, 2013 - 12:35pm