McKenzie Wark on Thu, 29 Jul 1999 12:35:01 +1000 (EST)

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Syndicate: New issue of M/C now available (fwd)

"We no longer have roots, we have aerials."
 -- McKenzie Wark 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 1999 12:02:16 +1000
From: Axel Bruns <>

  The Media and Cultural Studies Centre at the University of Queensland
   is proud to present issue five in volume two of the award-winning

                  M/C - A Journal of Media and Culture

         'desire' - Issue Editors: Laurie Johnson & Marc Richards

M/C is an award-winning journal that crosses over between the popular and
the academic. It is attempting to engage with the 'popular', and integrate
the work of 'scholarship' in media and cultural studies into our critical
work. We take seriously the need to move ideas outward, so that our
cultural debates may have some resonance with wider political and cultural

For the tenth issue of M/C, and as close to our anniversary as it gets,
perhaps it's appropriate that our attention should turn to one of the most
basic, most powerful driving forces in anything humans do. M/C itself,
admittedly, was begun partly out of a desire for recognition -- but we're
not alone in this. People desire anything, from a cool glass of water to
peace on earth, and how they go about fulfilling their desires can be as
fascinating (or as frightening) as the desires themselves. Our desire in
this issue is to publish a number of thought-provoking articles -- judge
for yourselves whether we achieve this goal.

  "From the Fetish to the Factish and Back Again"
John Banks gives us an insight into the manifold perspectives from which
desire works (or plays), in theory and practice, in his studies of
computer gaming. As an ethnographer, a gamer, and a theorist, he
strategically grounds these shifting perspectives in an attempt to define
the notion of "gameplay", yet he finds that gameplay itself is a decidedly
unstable object for interpretation.

  "Can't We Talk It Over in Bed?: Desiring Reconciliation in Recent
  Australian Theatre Productions of As You Like It and Romeo and Juliet"
Melissa Western investigates the operation of desires in contemporary
theatre practice and the political ramifications of this. Specifically she
interrogates the practice of cross-cultural casting decisions, both in
terms of post-colonial theory and political imperative, and uses two
examples of recent Australian theatrical productions to illustrate her

  "Don't Lean on the Window: Desire's Presence and Representations in
  Political Drama"
Marcel Dorney's article is full of questions, both answered and open-
ended, mostly centering on the theatrical staging of desire, and questions
of exploitation. The thrust of this article sees 'desire' being
constructed and examined both from an actor's, and an audience's point of
view, and focusses on how questions of representation and perspective
affect readings (exploitative or otherwise) of staged intimacy.

  "Grande, Decaf, Low Fat, Extra Dry Cappuccino: Postmodern Desire"
Postmodern interrogations of consumer society make us increasingly
suspicious of the objects of our desire --we are perhaps never less
ourselves than when we desire or choose in the domain of simulacra:
Patricia Leavy investigates at a theoretical level the question, "what
happens to the individual when he/she discovers that the most intimate of
desires is shared by countless others?"

  "The Evolution of Desire in Advertising: From Object-Obsession to
Using advertising in Japan as a case in point, Todd Holden points out the
degree to which advertisements construct and produce desire, to the point
that desire itself becomes the goal of advertising (the desire to be
desiring and/or desired).  He argues that because desire is constructed
differently in relation to each product, the result is not a "desire" that
can be grounded conceptually in the language of polysemy.

  "What's the Story: The Unfulfilled Desire for Closure on the Web"
Exploring the deeply unsettling tension between the desire for closure (a
function of the way we have habitually engaged with texts of all kinds)
and the information explosion on the WWW, Axel Bruns eyes the desire for
closure as confounded not simply by hypertextuality but by the sheer and
continual expansiveness of the WWW -- it is impossible for anyone anymore
to say that they "know" all that there is to know on-line.

  "Newly Desiring and Desired: Queer Man-Fisting Women"
Simon Scholfield's essay identifies the 'penetratrix' as a figure that
embodies the shifting terrain of sexual politics at the end of the
twentieth-century. In cultural texts and sexual practices, the hegemony of
the heterocentric paradigm is under threat from a figure that embodies the
shift from the penetrated to the penetrating.

  "Three Poems Touching on Desire"
These three poems by Bronwen Lea explore desire from a personal (and
personalised) perspective, where the body of the text merges imperceptibly
with the bodies it describes: if desire is lack, or has no object (as
psychoanalysis suggests), these poems "embody" desire--that is to say,
they return the desire of the theorists back to its proper domain: the

  "[ t o   b e   a n d   t o   h a v e ]"
Inspired by sitting at bus-stop across from churchgoers at mass, Sean
Smith has hit upon a notion of desire at which he can only hint in this
essay, and which he does here through an engagement with some pervasive
theories of desire. By positing desire as a recognition of the necessary
and perpetual circulation across the threshold of the self, this essay
opens out a field of possibility for reviving "desire" as a key to
understanding ourselves.

                           And in other news...

               M/C Reviews - An ongoing series of reviews
                   of events in culture and the media.

M/C Reviews is a companion piece to the M/C journal itself. Publication on
the Internet gives us the freedom to keep its link to M/C proper ambiguous:
M/C Reviews is neither simply a sub-section of M/C, nor completely
independent of it; you, the reader, decide how you want to see it. The
reviews are informed by the culture-critical perspective of M/C, but you
don't need to take notice of this fact; if you do, however, you'll find
that they tie in to some of the debates represented in greater length in
M/C. New articles are continually added to M/C Reviews.

Recent additions include:

          "The 'Phantom' Phenomenon: Some Star Wars Reflections"
                          An M/C Reviews Feature


"Knotty Progressives: 'Gordian Knot'"
  by Axel Bruns                                                    [sounds]
"Governing the Ungovernable: 'The Governance of Cyberspace'"
  by Sherman Young                                                  [words]
"Psychedelic Smorgasbord: 'Eat Your Mash!'"
  by Axel Bruns                                                    [sounds]
"To Risk Risque: Extra-Vulgar 'Lysistrata' at Ultra-Conservative Arts
  by Melissa Western                                               [events]
"Monsters from the Past: 'The Mummy'/'Gods and Monsters'"
  by Shane Lewis                                                   [screen]
"Running away to the Circus: 'Saltimbanco'"
  by Felicity Meakins                                              [events]
"When Nature Forgets: 'My Favourite Martian'/'Austin Powers'"
  by Shane Lewis                                                   [screen]

Issue five in volume two of M/C is now online: <>.
Previous issues of M/C on various topics are also still available online.
M/C Reviews is now available at <>.
All M/C contributors are available for media contacts:


                                                     Axel Bruns

 M/C - A Journal of Media and Culture     
 The University of Queensland         

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