Monday, 31 August 2009

Author alert: Sheryll Vint & the question of "animal alterity"

Derridata, I think I can start to get back to you on some ideas for a collaborative journal publication that we discussed yesterday. I notice that the above author has an upcoming book on animal alterity and science fiction, and it would be fascinating to do something with that as a way of extending the themes of this blog (I think she also edited an animal themed issue of Science Fiction Studies). Vint engages too with the Wess' Har series of novels by Karen Traviss, as you can see here (Google had to use a cached page so I hope this link works). Traviss has used her novels as a platform to explore ethical issues related to identity, including those related to clones in the Star Wars universe. This is the kind of stuff we've tried to talk about before using the umbrella term "seriality". So I can see real potential for branching out in some interesting directions. I put it here rather than email though as it may be easier to keep track of material as it comes to hand.

Moving along to a not entirely unrelated topic, I remember years ago, I think it was even in your Re/Search Industrial Culture Handbook, reading about Graeme Revell's post-SPK sound experiments with "insect musicians". Well, I've just come across the Criminal Animal website and there are some pretty interesting resources to be found there, especially under the category of "genetic music". I love the following description particularly:

Algorithmic Arts Software for Generative Music

"Interesting b/c you can hear samples of protein sequences! -nice for the ears and gives a good idea of what molecular music is all about -eerie sounding but pretty amazing".

Incidentally, the concept of molecular music reminded me too of the "Prima Belladonna" story in Ballard's Vermilion Sands, which featured singing plants. Furthermore, as much as the film Silent Running has a compelling central premise, (the pathos of a lonely astronaut tending his garden heterotopia floating in space), I felt the film failed in its choice of music. Clearly a more innovative organic ambient style score would have worked better in that context. Sadly though, there was no Linda Long or Jeff Greinke around back then when they were really needed (*sigh*), so we have to make do with the well-intentioned, but somewhat dated, Joan Baez instead:

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