The Cultural Gutter

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"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

Nettrice Gaskins Explores AfroFuturism In Virtual Worlds

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At IAfroFuturism, Ytasha interviews Nettrice Gaskins about AfroFuturism, art, math, science and virtual worlds. “I had to figure out how to immerse those who weren’t familiar with Afrofuturism using the virtual space. I wanted the avatars in the space to have an experience. I put up a gallery that allowed you to manipulate objects. I […]

Interview with Nalo Hopkinson

TVOntario interviews writer Nalo Hopkinson about utopian literature,  the ancestral experience of slavery, “noticing race” and the ideals of Toronto’s Caribana festival.

“The Pagan Pilgrim”

Ronnie Pontiac writes a fascinating essay on Thomas Morton, inciter of Puritans and founder of the Enlightenment Utopian experiment Ma-re Mount, “the American melting pot boiling hot” in the New World: “In May 1627 Tom decided to celebrate May Day with the locals. There would be food, drink, a maypole, music, dancing, and hopefully wenching; […]

“Anxiety and Optimism in Frank Hampton’s Dan Dare”

“In the very first Dan Dare adventure, which began to be serialised weekly in the Christian boy’s comic Eagle in 1950, we were introduced to the ‘ … Inter Planet Space Fleet some years in the future.’ It’s an odd organisation, in that it’s clearly meant to be Earth’s ‘Space Fleet,’ but it’s clearly really […]

Discussing The Dispossessed with Ursula K. Le Guin

ReadMOre’s Mark Tiedemann has an in depth conversation with writer Ursula K. Le Guin  about The Dispossessed.

Red Skies: Soviet Science Fiction

A thorough and well-illustrated look at Soviet science fiction, from the 1920s through the 1980s. (via SF Signal)

Bioshock and Operation Atlantis

Keith from Teleport City writes about William Stiefel’s Libertarian seasteading dream, Operation Atlantis, and BioShock:  “BioShock imagines a society built on very similar principals a those of Atlantis I, II, and III, but instead of geodesic domes floating on the surface of the ocean, Ryan’s libertarian utopia is a city at the bottom of the […]

RIP, Joanna Russ

Science fiction author and feminist and queer critic, Joanna Russ has died. She was probably best know for her novel, The Female Man and her critical text, How To Suppress Women’s Writing. Feminist Science Fiction, Fantasy & Utopia has more about Russ and her work.

Cartographic Curiosities

Step right up for your glimpse of Slate Magazine’s slideshow collection of cartographic curiosities!

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Tin House has published an edition of Joseph Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness illustrated by Matt Kish, an interesting follow-up to Kish’s project, Moby-Dick In Pictures; One Drawing For Every Page. See more of Kish’s work here.

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    At Salon, Matt Ashby and Brendan Carroll write about irony and cynicism, sincerity and honesty in art: “At one time, irony served to challenge the establishment; now it is the establishment. The art of irony has turned into ironic art. Irony for irony’s sake. A smart aleck making bomb noises in front of a city in ruins. But irony without a purpose enables cynicism. It stops at disavowal and destruction, fearing strong conviction is a mark of simplicity and delusion.

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    Eastern Kicks has an interview–and a gallery of photos of–director Park Joon-hung.

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    Get ready for a new season of Mad Men with this collection of Absurdist Mad Men promotions, which the Cultural Gutter participates in and even encourages. Duck Phillips rules an undersea advertizing empire and “Pete feels slighted.”

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    Some interesting thoughts on South Korean cinema with “A Dish Best Served Bloody: Revenge In South Korean Cinema” and this Cannes program piece on Arirang (1926) and the history of Korean film.

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    Al-Jazeera America profiles John Pirozzi’s Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten, a documentary about Cambodian rock’n’roll and musicians who survived the Khmer Rouge. “Until 1975, music thrived in Phnom Penh, with clubs full night after night, crowds gathering in the streets around transistor radios to hear the latest releases, and the biggest stars being feted by the king. Enter the Khmer Rouge, communism and the war on intellectuals. Between 1975 and 1979, about 2 million Cambodians, roughly a third of the population, were rounded up and either were killed or died of starvation. Artists were particularly disliked by the Khmer Rouge, which saw creativity as decadence: Almost all of the biggest names perished during that era.”

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