Praxes of popular culture

No. 1 - Year 9 - 12/2018

Editorial

Years after the Frankfurt School, Roland Barthes’s work, Laura Mulvey’s film analysis, The Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, various essential books and readers on popular culture, countless conferences and gatherings on popular culture that have taken place all over the world, it may seem that trying to point out the importance of popular culture in yet another scholarly journal is mundane. However, certain phenomena prove that this kind of topic is a necessity: the omnipresence of comic-book adaptations – such as the recent Black Panther phenomenon that has many global and local social, cultural, political, and economic implications, not least through the money-making promotions of certain kinds of active citizenship (NGOs’ promoted voter registration in theaters) – or videogame adaptations and rampant sexism and racism in one of the most successful industries of the day, or constant claims about the connection between mental health issues and video games, as well as the ongoing on- and offline struggle to give the neglected, minor voices their representation in popular products, or the timely #MeToo movement that called out Hollywood first and then almost entire creative industries on violence, coercion, and taking advantage over women. Popular culture is an industry as well as a community; it is profitable and it is marginal; it is equally monumental and trivial. The truth behind one of the most analyzed aspects of human culture today shows that it is ever-changing, transformative, that it is one of the most productive praxes for creators and audience alike, and, in the end, that it has important social, cultural, political, and economic effects, simultaneously producing affects and emotionality. ..

Continue reading →
Featuring

In Our Vampires, Ourselves (1995), Nina Auerbach argues that “[t]here is no such creature as ‘The Vampire,’ there are only vampires” (5). The newest addition to vampire studies, Dracula: An International Perspective (2018), aims at emphasizing the transformative nature of the all-pervading symbol by tracing its evolution from Stoker’s 19th century novel to its present-day (re)presentations. Having, once again, crept from its grave, the vampire reveals itself as the most enduring of all monsters, mutating with each generation of writers. The vampires that populate the papers of the volume illustrate the different ways in which historical and cultural contexts have reimagined Stoker’s archetype. Due to their protean nature, they have managed to escape the confines of literature and infiltrate all media.The volume comprises fifteen papers written by international scholars, along with a framing introduction by Marius-Mircea Cri?an. The volume begins with William Hughes’s discussion on the ongoing controversy concerning the definition of “Irish Gothic.” By emphasizing the mutual exclusivity of the two concepts that constitute the definition, Hughes argues that the triadic canon of the 19th century Irish Gothic (Charles Maturin, Bram Stoker, and Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu) can only be unified by its consistency of professional sophistication. Accordingly, the stylized employment of rhetoric which characterizes the triad points towards the presence of an exceptionally educated and professional authorship (34), which Hughes illustrates by comparing the medical investigation in Le Fanu’s A Glass Darkly (1872) and Stoker’s Dracula (1897). In the following paper, Donatella Abbate Badin analyzes Romances set in Italy (a subgenre of the Irish Gothic) by focusing on Charles Maturin’s novel The Fatal Revenge; or, The Family of Montorio (1807), anonymous novelette The Castle of Savina, or the Irishman in Italy. A Tale (1807), and two short stories written by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. Badin argues that the demonization of Italy in Irish Gothic mirrors the demonization of the Anglo-Irish by the English. Much like the description of Ireland by English writers and of Transylvania by Bram Stoker, the imaginatively constructed spaces of Italy reveal, in Badin’s words, “the inner conflicts of a troubled collective psyche” (48) of the Anglo-Irish. Through focusing on the imagological construction of East-Central Europe in Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories, the next paper continues the discussion of imaginary spaces. Lucian-Vasile Szabo and Marius-Mircea Cri?an argue that both Le Fanu and Poe constructed East-Central Europe as haunted, anticipating Stoker’s Dracula. The authors conclude that the two most important aspects of Dracula – a mysterious land which still haunts the collective memory of its readers and the attention to technological innovations – epitomize Poe’s representation of East-Central Europe in his short story “Metzengerstein” (1832). Sam George’s paper, on the other hand, draws a parallel between the two most powerful archetypes of the 19th century – Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula and the Pied Piper, originally published as Die Kinder zu Hameln (1816-1818) by the Brothers Grimm. What ultimately connects the two archetypes is their association with Transylvania and, therefore, their identification as the Other, which is best visible in Robert Browning’s relocation of the Grimms’ myth. Comparing Stoker’s Dracula with F.M. Murnau’s movie Nosferatu (1922), the paper examines the ways in which the Dracula myth has traveled to Germany by revealing the figure of the colonizing Other, present in all of the aforementioned narratives. Through the analysis of Stoker’s notes and sources, Hans Corneel de Roos’ paper aims at dispersing some of ...

Continue reading →

Krajem 2017. godine u biblioteci Mansioni, u izdanju hrvatskog centra ITI objavljena je knjiga teatrologinje Višnje Kačić Rogošić pod naslovom Skupno osmišljeno kazalište. Opće značajke i hrvatski primjeri. Navedena monografija prerađena je doktorska disertacija, obranjena 2013. godine na Filozofskom fakultetu Sveučilišta u Zagrebu. Pojam skupno osmišljenog kazališta, prema autorici monografije (8), odnosi se na kazališne predstave koje ne nastaju uprizorenjem nekog postojećeg predloška (dramskog teksta, libreta, scenarija, koreografskog zapisa) već se njihov ukupni izvedbeni materijal u potpunosti proizvodi, pronalazi djelomično proizveden, razvija, organizira i povezuje zajednički, tijekom radioničke faze otkrivanja novoga, a ponekad i tijekom same izvedbe. Navedena izvedbena vrsta je, prije svega, određena odbacivanjem neupitnog autoriteta dramskog pisca, redatelja i unaprijed napisanog teksta. U svojim početcima pozicionirala se na alternativnoj i društveno-angažiranoj sceni. Odstupa od stvaralačke hijerarhije, razvija kreativni egalitarizam i skupni kreativni identitet, uvodi novi način odnošenja kako prema publici tako i prema izvedbenim prostorima te istražuje različite načine tjelesne i neverbalne ekspresije. Ta se izvedbena vrsta pojavila šezdesetih godina 20. stoljeća, nadahnuta idealima kontrakulture, u Sjevernoj Americi, gdje je fenomen i prvi put imenovan, a potom i u Europi. U Hrvatskoj se izvedbena vrsta razvila tijekom sedamdesetih godina prošlog stoljeća, zahvaljujući, poglavito, IFSK-u, Danima mladog kazališta i djelovanju SEK-a. Najpoznatije kazališne skupine, u svjetskim okvirima, čiji se rad temeljio na principima skupnog osmišljavanja su Living Theatre, Open Theatre, San Francisco Mime Troupe, The Wooster Group, The Performance Group, Le Théâtre du Soleil, Gob Squad, Forced Entertainment, Goat Island itd....

Continue reading →

Contrary to common understanding that an objective is a distinctive feature of every game, the success of process-oriented games (Nielson et al.) shows that linear narratives are not the only way to tell game stories. The Last of Us, despite being a goal-oriented video game, undermines the focus on its objective of “saving humanity” by refusing to let the player fulfil that goal. Saving humanity is a “noble” sentiment that is not only a “universal” moral value but one of import from a biological standpoint. This paper argues that the game’s insistence on making “questionable” choices on behalf of the player and its depiction of a selection of contrasting social structures are a narrative ruse to unsettle ethical complacencies of the generic player, who brings to the game such moral systems to analyze the game as are incompatible with its temporal and spatial specificity. The question of the admissibility of textual analyses based on external moral parameters is of relevance not exclusively to literary studies but to narratives in new audio-visual media as well. This paper attempts to place player reactions to the questionable character choices at the heart of the game story in a continuum between absolute player identification with narrative elements and complete detachment from the game narrative which facilitates play in an objective manner. This study employs a close analysis of the game text and player vis-a-vis critic responses to the narrative peculiarities of this game. ...

Continue reading →

Paralaksa Ivane Čagalj postmoderni je pjesnički opus koji je osvojio Nagradu Anđelko Novaković za 2016. godinu. Sadržajno je podijeljen u četiri cjeline: Osnovni pojmovi, Razgovarajmo o tekstu, Za one koji žele znati više te Zadatci za samostalan rad. Pjesnička je zbirka zanimljiva zbog ustroja koji oslikava nastavnu jedinicu, a njezin sadržaj zrcali određene elemente popularne kulture.Prva cjelina donosi tumačenje pojma paralaksa. Pružena je njegova definicija, ali i odraz paralakse u životu lirskog subjekta koji će očuditi godišnja doba, dijelove dana, odnos grad--selo, kontrast crno-bijele boje, dopunjen šarenilom. Bit će očuđen i doživljaj ispijanja kave, čija je toplina povezana s onom božanskom. Navedene teme sadržaji su pjesama Paralaksa I.-V.U skladu s naslovom prve cjeline, zbirka donosi pjesnički odraz važnih pojmova za razumijevanje principa paralakse. Pjesme su kako u čitavoj zbirci tako i u ovoj cjelini, popraćene tumačenjem naslova. U cjelini je predstavljena svakodnevica subjekta kroz stihove o sobi, bratu, ljudima. Pri tome je važno istaknuti komentar Dobrile Zvonarek kako biografizam nije kontekst za čitanje ove pjesničke zbirke već je tek usputna paralela (Čagalj 70), a iščitavanje te paralele bit će moguće i u preostalim cjelinama. ...

Continue reading →