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McKenzie Wark: New issue of M/C now available

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Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 22:36:07 +1000 (EST)
From: McKenzie Wark <>
To: Nettime List <>
Subject: New issue of M/C now available (fwd)

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

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 17:07:44 +1000
From: Axel Bruns <>
To: <;>
Subject: New issue of M/C now available

G'day !

The following announcement concerns the latest issue of M/C, which has just
been released. We'd be delighted if you could spread the word about our new
issue amongst your colleagues. Please don't hesitate to contact us for
further information.

-----------------------------------  8<  ----------------------------------


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

                  M/C - A Journal of Media and Culture

           'pop' - Issue Editors: P. David Marshall & Axel Bruns

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

It would be easy to take a highbrow approach to popular culture, condemning
it outright -- many academics still do. Cultural studies, however, is
centrally concerned with pop in all its forms, be they pop music,
mainstream cinema, popular fiction, or anything else that has captured the
attention of a large slice of the public. What makes things popular? What
are the processes behind the production and worship of popular culture?
Where are the boundaries to populism? Can mainstream appeal and artistic
integrity exist in combination, or are they mutually exclusive? Does
anybody really like to listen to the Spice Girls? Our answers to
these questions mightn't always be popular, but should make for an
interesting read anyway. Have some popcorn ready, perhaps, when you read
the articles in this issue:

  "Picking through the Trash"
In his feature article, Martin Laba checks for the vital signs of pop both
within and outside environments of commercial detritus. Not unlike garbage-
picking, the project of this analysis is to work through the trash
dimensions of pop in culture, and to offer a sense of pop spaces and
moments not only in the mall, but also in creative cultural excursions.

  "Ya Bloody Cappie!"
Sean Aylward Smith identifies an emerging aesthetic practice and asks "what
is to be done?" He argues that 'the cappie' -- as in 'the consumer of
alternative pricey products' --, a creature obsessed with the conspicuous
display of an eclectic and obscure register of signifiers, is the aesthetic
manifestation -- that is, the subjective embodiment -- of changes in global
process of capitalism and production.

  "Seen But Not Heard: Pop Culture Scapegoats and the Media Discourse
In the wake of the Littleton massacre, Nick Caldwell investigates the
incredibly repetitive media patterning of establishing cause and effect
relationships between outbreaks of youth violence and the usual suspects of
cultural artefacts. He finds the discursive proliferation sadly familiar as
the media looks to popular culture to stitch together its neverending
narrative without the requisite sideways glance at the cultural context of

  "A Red Light Sabre to Go, and Other Histories of the Present"
The build-up to Star Wars: The Phantom Menace offers a potent site for an
investigation of popular memory. Tara Brabazon explores why this film has
capture such attention. Beyond the hype, beyond a marketing phenomenon, she
looks behind the Darth Vader mask and Darth Maul's makeup to reveal a
framework of meaning, memory and politics.

  "Justify My Love: Popular Culture and the Academy"
Diane Railton provides an invigilating examination of where academics have
engaged with popular culture. She notes that often pop is simply
recategorised with shifted monikers of high (legitimate) and low
(illegitimate) designations, and calls for a realisation of the political
nature of academic work on popular culture that moves beyond this new and
shifted constitution of cultural elitism.

  "Painting Out Pop: 'Andy Warhol' as a Character in 90s Films"
Julie Turnock traces portrayals of Andy Warhol in recent movies, and
uncovers how Andy Warhol's blank visage sits uncomfortably with the
narrative and content of three films that need the richness of a normative
biography. In the process, the films cannot deal with the conceptualisation
of pop that Warhol embodied as an artist, where content disappears to
surface and repetition.

  "Wayne's World: The Making of a Hockey Movie"
David Riddell discovers that sports god Wayne Gretzky's retirement
reproduces naturally and seamlessly the spectacle of ice hockey into a
movie narrative. He performs a close textual reading of Wayne Gretzky's
last game in terms of heavily pre-planned causation which transforms the
pleasures of the unexpected that are part of watching any sporting event
into the constructed celebrity spectacle.

  "What's Pop, and What's Not? Measuring Popularity in the Many-to-Many
Axel Bruns questions the meaningfulness of media popularity ratings, and
debates the significance of the ways the Internet determines popularity
(for example through the ubiquitous counters). The mythic models of
measuring the television audience prove to be inadequate to describe the
forms of interactions and sideward hypertext movements on the contemporary
Web. Nevertheless, the counting goes on....

  "Making It Unpopular: The CIA and UFOs in Popular Culture"
Adam Dodd's provocatively argued piece indicates that a fear of mass
hysteria motivated moves by the CIA and other government agencies to debunk
through apparent explanation any possibility that UFOs actually existed and
were seen. Although we may never know the truth with the amount of
propaganda and misinformation masquerading as fact, Dodd presents an
interesting case study in the government control and movement of
information about a popular cultural phenomenon.

                           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 reviews include:

Kirsty Leishman   "Politics is Elsewhere: 'Popular Culture and
                  Everyday Life'"
Nick Caldwell     "Cyber Surf's Up: 'The Matrix'"
Kirsty Leishman   "Point and Click to 'Cutnpaste'"
Shane Lewis       "Sensitive Old Age Guy: 'True Crime'"
Shane Lewis       "Must Try Harder: 'American History X'"
Sue McKell        "A Vibrant Corpus: David Williamson's 'Corporate
Sue McKell        "Familiar Yet Lacking: 'Divorcing Jack'"
Eleonora Deak     "The Truth Is in the Language: 'Language Myths'"

Issue four 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