Væsner. Episode 1: Void + Episode 2: Copenhagen Gate Services



Hehe … Nothingness has been found, right here on this very blog.

Nothing found


Copenhagen Gate Services

I received a letter from Copenhagen Gate Services today.

“Must be a mistake,” Lakse said, turning the envelope between his fingers. “Sure it’s not a typo and it’s really from the postal services?” This is not as strange as it might sound; in Danish the words for ‘gate’ and ‘post’ are quite alike. But that was not it. I pulled out the letter and placed it on the table between us. “Doesn’t look like their logo, though, does it?” The Danish postal services, Post Danmark, has this red bar with a golden bugle on it and a crown. This letter was completely black with a white bar in the top right corner in which a black circle was drawn. Instead of the word ‘post’ – which is what Post Danmark’s logo says – it read ‘gate’. The envelope was white with black writing: ‘To Gatekeeper 75803002’, it said, and then my address. ‘From Copenhagen Gate Services’, it continued, but without an address.

“There’s no such thing as Copenhagen Gate Services,” Lakse stated, folding the letter back into the envelope. And that was that. For the rest of this blog I’ll mostly be writing about:

  • Being unemployed
  • Living in Copenhagen
  • The weather. I like writing about the weather.

I’ve never had a blog before. I’ve heard it’s therapeutic.



By Anne Nielsen.

You can follow Anne on her blog ‘Væsner‘ and on Twitter.


We bring new episodes of Væsner every week. Join the Monster Network on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for updates.



New blog-series: Væsner


Anne Nielsen is unemployed and after having worked some years abroad, the Danish unemployment system primarily sees her as an alien. However, Anne is not the only alien in a country that is increasingly closing itself off from the rest of the world, and in a series of letters from the non-existing Copenhagen Gate Services, she is eventually called upon to help uphold the borders of Copenhagen itself. Soon her street is filled with noisy shadows, her oven spews soot-creatures, and the Danish Postal Service has gotten itself lost in the 17th century.

Protecting oneself from outsiders is a monstrous business indeed.

Anne Nielsen blogs about her experiences – and tweets about them, too – and from tomorrow you can follow the events once a week right here on Promises of Monsters.


A note on the author:

Anne Nielsen lives and doesn’t work in Copenhagen. She rents a flat in X__ Street, which is not its real name, and her best friend is Lakse, which is also not his real name. Anne Nielsen is Anne Nielsen’s real name, though she herself might not be real.

But then again, she might be.


A note on reality:

It is strange.



The Monster Studies Symposium is on Facebook

As you perhaps already know, The Monster Network and STK (Centre for Gender Research) are organizing the Monster Studies Symposium ‘Why Monster Studies’ on the 31st of October at Oslo University. The event is now on Facebook. Take a look!

You can also follow us on Twitter for more information or join the Monster Network on Facebook.


Image: Hieronymus Bosch. Detail from The Garden of Earthly Delights. Image from Wikimedia Commons.



The (Care) Robot in Science Fiction – A Monster or a Tool for the Future?

By Aino-Kaisa Koistinen

Quite recently, care robots have begun an invasion into our lives and have given rebirth to the hopes and concerns considering both utopian and dystopian technological futures. When introducing a new generation of service robots in our daily lives, it is therefore interesting and important to consider how they have already been imagined in science fiction, as these imaginations can be used to make visible the problems as well as promises inherent in close relationships between humans and machines. The main motivation of this short introduction to science fiction is to enhance dialogue on the human and non-human dimensions of robots.

 Technological Imaginations in Our Lives

According to Kai Mikkonen, Frans Mäyrä and Jukka Siivonen, as our lives are so pervaded with technology, it is important to ask questions considering human relations to technology and the boundaries between us and the various technological appliances that we interact with on a daily basis: Continue reading

Symposium: Why Monster Studies Now?

Monday 31 October 12:00-15:00 PM at the Centre for Gender Research (STK)

University of Oslo


In connection with Halloween, the Monster Network and STK (Centre for Gender Research) invite you to a Monster Studies Symposium!

Monsters and monstrousness have long gone claw in hand with femininity as markers of difference and otherness. The strangeness of the monster, as well as its promises of different futures, has made it a popular figure within much critical theory, not least amongst feminists. Studies and writings on the monster have a long historical trajectory, but currently we are witnessing an unprecedented resurgence of interest in the figure of the monster. Not only has popular culture given rise to ever-increasing representations of monstrosity, but also media and politicians are repeatedly evoking the dreaded monster through descriptions of fearful ‘foreigners’ and ‘terrorists’ who endanger our daily lives. Rapid technological and scientific developments make the monster rear its head: within biotechnology bodies are explored and modified to an extent that challenges our understandings of what is human, what is animal and what is something completely different.

The backdrop for the symposium is the growing, highly interdisciplinary field of Monster Studies. This Halloween symposium will engage with the critical potentials of monsters, develop theories for thinking the monster in our contemporary times, and introduce monster studies to new audiences.

Room: Abels Utsikt (room 1259), 12th floor in Niels Henrik Abels hus

Image: Hieronymus Bosch. Detail from The Garden of Earthly Delights. Image from Wikimedia Commons.



Watch this website for updates. You can also follow the Monster Network on Twitter or Facebook.
Questions? Comments? Contact us at promisesofmonsters [at] gmail [dot] com


Ask the Editors! (about the special issue:’Monstrous Encounters: Nordic Perspectives on Monsters and the Monstrous’)

Are you considering submitting an abstract for the upcoming special issue of Women, Gender & Research on the subject of Monstrous Encounters: Nordic Perspectives on Monsters and the Monstrous? Would you like to know more about what the editors are looking for, and how they imagine the special issue to turn out? Are you concerned that they might secretly be lizard people?

The editors of the special issue have asked themselves some important, existential questions in order to dispel your worries and make you want to join the dark side. Read on as they grapple with the important philosophical questions of our time, such as: Why monsters? Why now? And which one is the coolest?

Have no idea what we’re talking about but would like to learn more? Read the call for articles here.

Ask the Editors

 Erika Kvistad:

Why monster studies?

I’ve always thought that the most interesting parts of any subject are its unsettling edges: the things we catch sight of out of the corner of our eye; the things we prefer not to think about; the things that, if we could really see them clearly, might change everything. Monster studies is a way of exploring those edges. But it can also be a way of working differently — a way to actually acknowledge and use the sticky weirdness (obsession? delight? uncertainty? terror?) that’s always present in academic work, rather than trying to sweep it under the carpet. Which makes it both fun and scary. Continue reading

Call for Articles: Promises of Monsters Conference Publication – Important update

We are proud to announce that Somatechnics – an Edinburgh University Press journal – has agreed to publish the special conference issue of Promises of Monsters.

Somatechnics publishes creative and exciting new research on issues concerning bodies and technology. The monsters that may arise in the interconnections between technology and embodiment will therefore be the entry-point for the Promises of Monsters special issue. However, the definitions of both technology and embodiment are broad, and we invite contributors to engage creatively and critically with both concepts.

Not sure if your submission fits the theme? Or do you have other questions regarding the special issue? Please do not hesitate to contact us at promisesofmonsters [at] gmail [dot] com.

The special issue will be published in 2019, which means that we have pushed the deadlines a bit. The new deadline for abstracts is 17th of October 2016 and the deadline for articles is 1st of June 2017.

For a pdf-version of the call for articles, click Promises of Monsters and Somatechnics_CALL FOR ARTICLES



CFA picture

Monsters are back, or perhaps they never went away. They haunt popular culture and social media. They lurk as images of dread and terror in politics, and figures of thought within academia. As shadows of the past they reappear as the potential biotechnological realities of today. They roam the in-between, making borders and boundaries tremble and shatter; whether these be borders of nation states or bodies, or categories of race, gender, sexuality, ability, class, self and other. In this sense, the monster embodies a promise of disturbances and change, as Donna Haraway argued in her 1992 text “The Promises of Monsters”.

Haraway’s text heralds the 1990s rapid increase in academic engagement with figures of ghosts and monsters, the spectral and the monstrous, encompassing publications such as Derrida’s Spectres of Marx (1994) and Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s anthology Monster Theory (1996). Now, on the other side of the millennium-threshold, the popularity of monsters has flared up again, inspiring publications such as for example Ashgate’s Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous (Mittman and Dendle 2012). 20 years after Haraway’s essay, “The Promise of Monsters” (2012) is evoked yet again, this time by Cohen, to point to the strange temporalities and disturbing messages of the figure of the monster as it haunts the margins of reality and human subjecthood. Messages that may well be promises, but of what? Continue reading