Monster Network newsletter

Missed the October Monster Network newsletter? Never fear! You can read it here – and if you want the next one in your inbox, let us know at promisesofmonsters [at] gmail [dot] com


Halloween greetings from The Monster Network!

We are happy to let you know that even though you have not heard from us via email in a while, The Monster Network has been busy.

On October 21, we held an event called Strange Blood? Nordic Belonging and Otherness in Copenhagen together with artists Trine Mee Sook and Erich Berger. The event was funded by The Nordisk Kulturfond.

We are also currently working with our special issue on monster studies for the international journal Somatechnics. The issue is scheduled for publication in fall 2018. In the meantime, an introductory to The Monster Network will soon appear in Fafnir- Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research.

Moreover, we will soon launch our improved website and have all kinds of exciting plans for monstrous podcasts and blog posts. There will also be a possibility for registering for our new and improved newsletter. We will let you know when to check out our new pages. In the meantime, keep watching for the latest blogs on our current web page.

We would also like you to remember these monstrous events:

The ‘Living with Monsters’ conference will take place in Sydney 7-8 December:

A special issue on ‘Monstrous Encounters: Nordic Perspectives on Monsters and the Monstrous’ co-edited with the Monster Network’s Line Henriksen will soon be out in Women, Gender and Research.

Stay tuned for future news, and remember to follow us on Twitter and Facebook !

The Monster Network

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Monster Network Event: Strange Blood?

Strange Blood? Nordic Debates about Belonging and Otherness

Dr. Donna McCormack, of the School of Literature and Languages, University of Surrey, tells of a weekend of monstrous activities in Copenhagen, funded by OPSTART, the Nordic Culture Fund.

The Monster Network organised an artistic performance and panel discussion which included the visual artist Trine Mee Sook and the director of the Finnish Society of Bioart and visual artist Erich Berger, as well as Ingvil Hellstrand (University of Stavanger), Line Henriksen (University of Copenhagen), Aino-Kaisa Koistinen (University of Jyväskylä) and Donna McCormack (University of Surrey).

On a cold, rainy Saturday evening in Copenhagen, the Monster Network gathered to hold an event that aimed to discuss the meaning of blood, belonging and otherness in the Nordic context. Amidst increasing tension about who has the right to belong in the Nordic context, where belonging is often defined through ideas of blood and whiteness, the Monster Network wanted to intervene and open up a dialogue on how strangeness comes into being and comes to be defined. It was an intervention designed to challenge exclusionary discourses and practices in order to explore how we may make space for difference, live with difference, and remember those histories often whitewashed or simply silenced in the Nordic context.

The event was held at the Literature House (LitteraturHaus) in Copenhagen: an old, eerie church now used for events that aim to reach beyond academia and engage with diverse publics. The chandelier flickered, the candles were lit, and the alter was set as the stage for the event that evening. The visual artist Trine Mee Sook began by putting her fangs in and then drew the audience in with her performance of one section from her trilogy which explores the personal in the context of otherness, strangeness and the politics of race, while engaging the audience in blood narratives of vampires, transnational families and colonial histories. Mee Sook wove together the histories of colonisation in Korea with practices of transnational adoption in Europe and the US, always connecting these to the politics and consequences of war. Mee Sook evoked the racism of contemporary life in Scandinavia, showing how belonging comes to be defined and felt on the body, while also reminding us how language and the body can simultaneously be the means through which such exclusions may be challenged and rethought.

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Erich Berger joins ‘Strange Blood?’

We are happy to announce that artist and director of the Finnish Society of Bioart Erich Berger will be joining us for the ‘Strange Blood? Contemporary Nordic Debate about Belonging and Otherness’ event on 21 October.

About Erich Berger:

erich_berger_field_workErich Berger is an artist, curator and cultural worker based in Helsinki/Finland. He directs the Finnish Society of Bioart creating interdisciplinary encounters between art and science. His artistic interests lie in processes and feedback structures, which he investigates through installations, situations, performances and interfaces. Throughout his artistic practice he has explored the materiality of information and information and technology as artistic material. His current interest in issues of deep time and hybrid ecology led him to work with geological processes, radiogenic phenomena and their socio-political implications in the here and now. His latest work, the INHERITANCE project (with Mari Keto), asks: What do we leave behind, what will the future inherit from us?
http://inheritance-project.net/
http://randomseed.org

 

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Trine Mee Sook’s Vampire Talk at ‘Strange Blood?’

We are happy and excited to announce that artist Trine Mee Sook will be doing the performance ‘selections from Vampire Talk I-III’ at the Monster Network event ‘Strange Blood?’ on 21 October at LitteraturHaus in Copenhagen at 8pm.

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About Trine Mee Sook’s Vampire Talk:

The text based performance trilogy, Vampire Talk, combines semi-biographical experience with notions of racial representation and otherness in relation to vampirism and trans-national adoption. Suggesting that vampires and trans-national adoptees share not only blood-related interests but also certain similarities in relation to identity building, sex, family, and colonial discourse.

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Strange Blood? is now on Facebook!

The Strange Blood? event now has its own Facebook site and, because we’re cool kids, a hashtag: #StrangeBlood

We hope to see you in Copenhagen 21 October!

To catch up on the event, here’s what it’s about:

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Increasing migration, border control and use of biotechnologies for reproductive assistance make up the structural backdrop for intense debates about personhood, citizenship and national belonging in the Nordic countries.

Strange Blood?  asks: What is at stake in these debates about personhood and subjectivity, citizenship and kinship? How are these debates surfacing in the Nordic countries, especially through narratives of blood and strangeness? Are there differences between the Nordic countries? What do artists and academics bring to these debates?

The Monster Network invites you to a roundtable conversation with scholars and artists to discuss the above questions regarding Nordic belonging and its relation to the strange and the other.


Strange Blood? New Monster Network event

Hello, lovely monsters!

We’ve been a little quiet the past few months but only because we’ve been hard at work with the upcoming Monster Network special issue of Somatechnics as well as applying for funding for all our many plans for the Monster Network. We’ve now received some money from Nordisk Kulturfond and will be spending it on a Halloween event in Copenhagen on the 21st of October, so save the date! We’ll return with more info soon, but for now, here’s a few words on the event:

Strange Blood? Contemporary Nordic Debates about Belonging and Otherness

A Monster Network event
Sat 21 October 8 pm
LiteraturHaus, Møllegade 7, 2200 Kbh N

Increasing migration, border control and use of biotechnologies [for reproductive assistance] make up the structural backdrop for intense debates about personhood, citizenship and national belonging in the Nordic countries.

Strange Blood? asks: What is at stake in these debates about personhood and subjectivity, citizenship and kinship? How are these debates surfacing in the Nordic countries, especially through narratives of blood and strangeness? Are there differences between the Nordic countries? What do artists and academics bring to these debates?

The Monster Network invites you to a roundtable conversation with scholars and artists to discuss the above questions regarding Nordic belonging and its relation to the strange and the other.

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CONVERSATIONS WITH A TRILOBITE

By Liv Bugge and Sara Orning  

PHOTO CREDITS:

Child:  Image courtesy/Photo credit: Liv Bugge

Stone in hand: Image courtesy/Photo credit: Hans Arne Nakrem, Museum of Natural History, Oslo

Man with two parts of trilobite: Image courtesy/Photo credit: The Museum of University and Science History, Oslo

The following extract is based on a series of group discussions held by the artist Liv Bugge where methods derived from animal communication is tested in a telepathic conversation with a fossil trilobite. Trilobites were in their time one of the largest groups of animals on the planet and is among the most common fossils in Norway, and it is especially common in the Oslo area.

A couple of people from the Monster Network were invited to take part in such a conversation as part of Liv Bugge’s artistic research project. The session involved a group meditation, then individual conversations between the participants and the trilobite, followed by a group discussion. The conversation is an exercise in non-linear ways of relating to historical existences and concepts of time, as well as using the body as an image producing apparatus. By engaging in conversation with a fossil that is dated several hundred million years back in time, the exercise is partly about letting the fossil stay in the now. The image of the fossil as governed resource is challenged by the image of the fossil subject, felt and experienced by the participant’s own body.

The extract is taken from the artwork Instructions to make use of an already present itch, which was on view in the exhibition What remains at Fotogalleriet, Møllergata 34, Oslo in March 2017.

If you are interested to take part in similar activities, please contact LivBugg@khio.no


Some of the questions we agreed upon asking the trilobite included:

– do you feel presence? Our presence?

– in which time do you exist?

– do you have feelings? Can you feel things?

– what about your transformation from lived life to your current form?

– EARTH

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Update: Promises of Monsters special issue

Dear monsters,

We have now responded to all who’ve sent in abstracts for the Promises of Monsters special conference issue of Somatechnics Journal. If you’ve submitted an abstract but haven’t heard from us, our response may have been swallowed by the web-void. In that case, feel free to contact us at promisesofmonsters at gmail dot com and we’ll get right back to you.

We are grateful for all the amazing submissions we received and sad that we had to reject so many for no better reason that not having space for them.

We will get back to you all with updates as the issue gets ready to face the world, fully fledged and fanged!

Best wishes,

The Monster Network

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