New Drum & Bass Mix

Here’s a new Mixcloud mix I’ve put together, featuring all new tracks (for a change):
Star-Strafed Sounds For Darkening Days.
It’s a set of new drum & bass tracks – all released in September & October 2014 (except for a few gems from the summer, like the last two).
And for just an opportunistic touch of narrative, I spliced in some samples from the trailer for the film Interstellar.

I think I’m (finally) finding my sound, which turns out to be a very Hospitable sound. The tracks here are from labels like Medschool, Soulvent, Blu Mar Ten, and Liquicity, as well as some sterling new Metalheadz and Renegade Hardware. Drum & bass is still brilliant as it ever was: a sound with so much stamina, and such capacity for disarming contrasts of contemplation and propulsion, calm and storm, sweetness and night.

“The light which illumines the character should rather resemble the flashes of lightning in the murky sky, which make the darkness more terrible.” –Hazlitt, Essays (London: Scott, 1889)

Tempo: 166.6 bpm.
Mixed on 10 Oct. 2014, with djay2 on iPad2.

Protect #NetNeutrality — stop the #InternetSlowdown

courtesy of OpenMedia.ca

courtesy of OpenMedia.ca

Today is the #InternetSlowdown, a day of concerted action to oppose Big Telecom’s attempts to stratify Internet service into slower and faster lanes – in other words, to parcel the open Internet into a bunch of shitty cable-service packages.
Add your voice to the growing chorus of support for net neutrality and opposition to a tiered Internet, via organizations like Open Media:

Big Telecom conglomerates are about to force many of your favourite websites into an Internet slow lane, making them buffer sporadically, and return errors.
The clock is ticking: Key decision-makers are about to make a landmark ruling on this Internet slowdown3 – join the crucial day of action now. Add your voice!

To learn more about net neutrality, why it’s important, and why it’s in danger, start with this discussion by comedian John Oliver, who helpfully redefines “net neutrality” as “preventing cable company fuckery”:

New Fronts in the Copyfight: new research series in the OA journal DSCN

I’m pleased to announce the launch of New Fronts in the Copyfight: Multidisciplinary Directions in Critical Copyright Studies, a peer-reviewed series of research articles on intellectual property and the digital milieu, which I am guest-editing for Canada’s open-access, digital humanities journal, Digital Studies/Le Champ Numérique (DSCN).

The series opens with an introduction, “Copyright concerns all academics,” that argues for greater knowledge of copyright and intellectual property among Canadian academics.

The first two articles in the series are now available:

1) “Pornographers and Pirates: Intellectual Property and Netporn” by SSHRC-winning Brock MA student Sarah Mann.

“As netporn businesses struggle for control over porn distribution and consumption, they facilitate their own survival by generating new sexual, social and economic norms. These norms mediate between the “pirate” culture promised by technology and the culture industry’s interest in legitimising and entrenching intellectual property rights.”

2) “The Rise, Fall, and Rise of ACTA?” by Athabasca U political scientist Jay Smith.

“This paper argues that the spirit of ACTA may live on in a host of other trade agreements currently being negotiated. That is, ACTA, or even more restrictive versions of it, could be imposed through the back door at least upon weaker states through bilateral agreements with the United States and the European Union.”

Further articles are in the works, and will be announced as they become available. The series hopes to take advantage of DSCN’s open access digital format in order to promote greater critical awareness of copyright and IP issues among academics, students, and the public.

Frankenstein as a figure of globalization

“Frankenstein as a figure of globalization in Canada’s postcolonial popular culture,” an article I published in Continuum 25.5 (2011), is now available for Open Access, via Athabasca U’s institutional repository. The abstract and downloadable PDF (post-print full text, but not publisher’s version) are available at http://hdl.handle.net/2149/3450.

Applying the popular ‘technological’ interpretation of Frankenstein to the problematic of globalization, these Canadian films [Videodrome, Possible Worlds, The Corporation] criticize the corporate institution, borrowing from Shelley’s story and its popular progeny to comment, with self-reflexive irony, on communication media and their instrumentality to globalization, its hegemonic naturalization, and the ‘imperialist aspirations’ of transnational conglomerates.

Research presentation on the absence of unions from science fiction

My AU colleague in labour studies, Bob Barnetson, and I had the opportunity about a month ago to attend the Popular Culture Association of Canada’s conference, to present our research on the absence of unions from science fiction. Barnetson has posted a copy of that presentation at his blog, for open peer review, as we turn to developing and expanding our research for publication.

McCutcheon, Mark A. and Bob Barnetson. “No Future for Labour? On the Absence of Unions from Science Fiction.” Popular Culture Association of Canada conference, Mount Royal U, Calgary, 20 May 2014. http://albertalabour.blogspot.ca/2014/05/presentation-no-future-for-labour-on.html

Science fiction TV and partisan politics

I’ve made an accidental observation while searching for images to use in a slideshow for an upcoming conference talk.
A Google image search for “the borg” shows results that include several images of the US president Barack Obama as a member of the Borg. E.g.:

Sample remixed image of Obama as the Borg


But a Google image search for “cylons” shows results that include images of Mitt Romney and John McCain (and to a lesser extent Sarah Palin). E.g.:

Sample image of Romney that refers to Cylons


It’s a strangely consistent polarization of two major Hollywood science fiction franchises, each used as instruments of partisan political satire: for reasons that may deserve closer analysis, right-leaning audiences on the right appear to be appropriating the Borg to satirize Obama, and centre-leaning audiences appear to be appropriating the Cylons to satirize Republicans.

Link