Gender and Digital Cultures Conference Report

Cardiff University, 17th November

On the 17th November 2016, Cardiff University hosted its first postgraduate conference on Gender and Digital Cultures. Conceived by members of the University’s Gender and Sexualities Research Group and Digital Cultures Network, the conference aimed to provide space for postgraduate researchers to share and debate emerging interdisciplinary scholarship on Gender and Digital Culture as well as build capacity amongst postgraduate students in digital research practice.
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Enter the Medium

In this blog piece, Joachim Buur, who has just completed his MA in English Literature at Cardiff University discusses his work on Andrew Hussie’s webcomic Homestuck and the implications it has for fans in the digital world. 

I’m honoured to be here as a rookie scholar and a fan to tell you a bit about the paper I gave at the Word. Image. Digital. Symposium, whose full title is ‘The Symbionic Cybertext Machine: Andrew Hussie’s Homestuck and its Fans as a Cyborg Collective’. Unfortunately I don’t have nearly enough room here to make the title make sense, so instead I hope to give you some idea of the general thrust of my paper. Shortly put, it’s about the webcomic Homestuck and the ways in which its author Andrew Hussie and his fans have gone through a co-evolution process, together working to create a narrative experience which could only have arisen (and only makes sense) in an online social context.
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Rough Magic

The Royal Shakespeare Company have been working with Intel and Imaginarium Studios on a new production of The Tempest that uses technology to blur the line between reality and the digital. This piece briefly explores why The Tempest has been so attractive to film-makers over the past century.

On 28th December 1895 Georges Méliès, a Parisian magician, sat in amazement at what he was witnessing.[1] He was attending a demonstration of the Lumière brother’s new invention: the cinématographe. It was a machine that allowed both the recording and the projection of moving images. In a darkened room at the Salon des Indien, the audience were transfixed, especially Méliès, who instantly saw the potential of this new machine: ‘We were positively stupefied. I immediately said “That’s the thing for me…an extraordinary trick!”’ The films that were projected onto a makeshift screen can only be described as short documentaries – workers leaving a factory, a locomotive arriving at a station – but Méliès recognised the creative and imaginative potential of this new medium.[2] He would eventually go on to use cinema he said ‘not for the servile reproduction of nature, but for its spectacular expression of artistic and creative ideas of all kinds.’[3] Soon after, Méliès built his own camera and the world’s first film studio and set about making his own idiosyncratic films which would incorporate special effects with traditional theatre techniques that evoked a ‘dreamlike atmosphere’[4] and an ‘unreal world wholly obedient to the whims of the imagination’.[5] Through cinema Méliès had, like Shakespeare’s Prospero three hundred years earlier, created and discovered his own ‘rough magic’.[6]

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The Poetry Storehouse: An Experiment in Collaboration and Ekphrasis

As part of our recent Word. Image. Digital. Symposium, Othniel Smith presented a brilliant paper on The Poetry Storehouse. You can read the full paper here and watch the videos.

The Poetry Storehouse opened its metaphorical doors in October 2013.

A website put together by a panel of poets and literary academics, mostly in the US, its twin aims were (a) to utilise online technology to attempt to find a wider audience for contemporary poetry which might otherwise remain restricted to small-press print editions and (b) to stimulate creativity in other artists – whether they be actors, photographers, painters, filmmakers or composers – who might feel inspired to respond ekphrastically to the poems which were showcased.

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