Monster Talks 4: Halloween

File:Samhuinn Wikipedia editathon at University of Edinburgh editathon - 1st November 2016 05.jpg
Samhuinn Jack-o’-lantern. By Mihaela Bodlovic – http://www.aliceboreasphotography.com/, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54299379 Image description: Three carved Jack-o’-lanterns, one in focus and two more blurry in the back. They have jagged, open mouths and look a little scary.

Why is it possible to consider the vampire and the zombie to be paradigmatic neoliberal monsters? What is the history of Halloween monstrousness? For our Halloween Special of Monster Talks, Sara Orning sat down with Mexitli Lopez, a doctoral candidate at the University of Oslo. Mexitli, has a long-standing interest in monsters and talked about her research at our Monster Network conference in Stavanger back in 2016, Promises of Monsters. She is currently writing her PhD dissertation on vampires and zombies in literature, film and television. Since Sara and Mexitli are now working on the same research project, BIODIAL: the Biopolitics of Disability, Illness and Animality, they wanted to get together to talk about some common ideas they have about the monster: how it may point to alternative ways of making community; how it points to a future that we don’t quite know what holds, and what representations of monstrousness may mean for how we relate to otherness in the “real” world. They are also addressing the long history of Halloween: how has that tradition been created through repeated layers of colonization and appropriation?

In the flesh 3
 Still from the TV series In the Flesh S1e1, created by Dominic Mitchell (BBC Three, 2013).
Text description: Kieren (who is a zombie/undead/Partially Deceased Syndrome sufferer (PDSs)) wakes up from a flashback with a distraught look on his face. His skin is very pale, nearly white, and his pupils small and black.

 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b6/Creepy_witches_fingers%2C_Sanok_2012.jpg
Creepy witches fingers (paluszki wiedźmy), Sanok
By Silar – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24715636
Synstolkningstekst: A basket full of cookies in the shape of creepy fingers, with blood running around pointy fingernails.

Monster Talks is a podcast series that explores the figure of the monster and the concept of the monstrous as important thinking tools for addressing dynamics of power, inclusion and exclusion, discrimination and violence. The podcast is made possible by the support of Nordic Culture Point and produced by The Monster Network in collaboration with Network for Gender Studies at UiS. All episodes are available from the podcast’s website at UiS.

 

Monster Talks 3: Collective voices and the materialisation of ideas – monster as methods

Where do ideas come from? And how are certain ideas and stories reproduced and maintained, whereas other stories end up marginalized, untold or unheard, even monsterised? In this collective keynote speech given at the Symposium Monstrous Ontologies: Politics, Ethics, Materiality at the University of Roehampton, U.K on 1 July 2019, we grapple with questions of how ideas materialise, and how they are (re-)presented in our own thinking and writing about the monster. For us, the monster is a thinking tool that allows us to explore the supposed divisions between acceptable and unstable or disregarded knowledges or ideas, drawing attention to the production of knowledge, including how knowledge comes to be embodied. Through a collective, multi-voice approach, this talk experiments with incoherence and monstrous origin stories in order to try out how working with the monster require not only themes or topics, but also methods and practices. In this talk, we practice monster methodologies. We aim to bring out how ideas, thoughts and knowledges intersect, overlap and diverge, but also show how certain stories and imaginaries haunt us or intrude in our thinking as unpredictable agents. Through sharing our supposedly separate threads of thought, we experiment with differences as a modus operandi, or a common ground for thinking together. This, we hope, will spawn ways of thinking otherwise about – and with – ideas and their materialisations.

You can find the accompanying power point here: Collective Voices at University of Roehampton.

Monster Talks is a podcast series that explores the figure of the monster and the concept of the monstrous as important thinking tools for addressing dynamics of power, inclusion and exclusion, discrimination and violence. The podcast is made possible by the support of Nordic Culture Point and produced by The Monster Network in collaboration with Network for Gender Studies at UiS. All episodes are available from the podcast’s website at UiS.

 

Monster Talks 2: Weird ecologies and storytelling practices

Pic

Why are stories important? And how can weird and speculative stories contribute to change how we perceive the world that we live in and surround ourselves by? This monster talk addresses storytelling practices as creative processes, but also as political, ecological and ethical passions. Listen to Finnish writers of speculative fiction, Johanna Sinisalo and Laura Gustafsson in conversation with Ingvil Hellstrand from The Monster Network and the Network for Gender Studies at UiS. The talk is a recording from a public event in Telakka Bar, Tampere, Finland, as part of The Monster Network workshop series Monsters, Myth and Media: Nordic stories of belonging and Otherness (Funded by Nordic Culture Point).

Monster Talks is a podcast series that explores the figure of the monster and the concept of the monstrous as important thinking tools for addressing dynamics of power, inclusion and exclusion, discrimination and violence. The podcast is made possible by the support of Nordic Culture Point and produced by The Monster Network in collaboration with Network for Gender Studies at UiS. All episodes are available from the podcast’s website at UiS.

Monster Talks 1: Why the monster and why now?

In 2018, we have seen worldwide celebrations Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, where the monster in many ways has become a symbol for the monstrous, the unwanted and the not-quite human. However, Christian Beyer from Tromsø, the Arctic University of Norway, Dr. Line Henriksen from the University of Copenhagen and Dr. Siv Frøydis Berg from the Norwegian National Library have all embraced the monster as an important and highly relevant figure to keep thinking with. What is it about the monster that continues to draw our attention?

Monster Talks is a podcast series that explores the figure of the monster and the concept of the monstrous as important thinking tools for addressing dynamics of power, inclusion and exclusion, discrimination and violence. The podcast is made possible by the support of Nordic Culture Point and produced by The Monster Network in collaboration with Network for Gender Studies at UiS. All episodes are available from the podcast’s website at UiS.