dislocation

The Tamil-movie ↵Endhiran (Shankar 2010) is testimony of the cyberpunk discourse having reached Indian cinema. Nigeria’s Yoruba-language ‘Kajola’ (Akinmolayan 2010) shows the ↵same for Africa‘s largest movie industry.     ‘Science-fiction film, like the science-fiction story, is an underdeveloped genre in China,’ writes Yingjin Zhang (1998: 297) in the ‘Encyclopedia of Chinese Film’ (Zhang & Xiao 1998). Nevertheless, already during the heyday of canonical [US-] cyberpunk there was a chinese cyberpunk movie—‘Dislocation’ directed by Huang Jianxin (1986). As with Huang’s first film, Black Cannon Incident [1985], Dislocation uses the science-fiction genre to satirize the workings of bureaucracy. The protagonist, Zhao … Continue reading

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relocating science and technology

Global Knowledge, Traveling Technologies and Postcolonialism. Perspectives on Science and Technology Studies in the Global South ↓Call for papers for a workshop at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle/Saale, Germany, from 18 through 20 July 2012. Here’s a snippet: As an interdisciplinary endeavour to study knowledge systems and technologies, Science and Technology Studies (STS) have become popular within the humanities and social sciences over the last three decades. However, most of the canon as well as recent scholarly work concentrate on Euro-American techno-science. Social scientists involved in STS focused mainly on the centres of western scientific knowledge … Continue reading

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afrocyberpunk

Finally Africa! In 2005 I learned that cyberpunk literature offers a platform for the issues of Latin America (Toledano Redondo 2005), and five years later the existence of a ↵literary steampunk scene in Brazil (Lori-Ribeiro & Silva 2010) came to my knowledge. What’s apt for the Latin American World seems to be apt for Africa, too. Jonathan Dotse, an IT student and science-fiction writer living in Accra, Ghana, runs the blog ↑AfroCyberPunk, ↑which is here to explore the possibilities of African science fiction and to expose it’s immense creative potential to the world. For too long, science fiction has failed … Continue reading

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mad mex

In India and Pakistan trucks get decorated until they are gaudy pieces of art on wheels:  In Japan the same is done, but there, hardly surprising, the dekotora [decorated trucks] follow the neon æsthetics:  In Sudan trucks are completely deconstructed and then reconstructed—the results are visually not as spectacular as their Asian kin, but are masterpieces of a comparatively young engineering culture (↓Beck 2009):  In Mexico, and within a totally different context, the not so conspicuous Sudanese trucks seem to have cousins: ‘Rhino trucks, narco tanks, Mad Mex-inismos? No one can agree on what to call the armored monster vehicles … Continue reading

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e-lectricity

In a small township on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa, paraffin has become the currency for trade. However, a rising paraffin shortage is threatening to plummet the township into complete darkness. Walter Hlase, a shy and introverted inventor decides that if he can create a new renewable energy source, he will gain the respect and friendship of the townsfolk. But is this easier said than done? MANNEKE, MIKLAS. ↑E-lectricity. [short film]. Johannesburg: AFDA. via GK at Facebook—tnx! … Continue reading

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sphere from above

what goes up must come down Do you remember ‘↑The Gods Must Be Crazy‘ (Uys 1980)? That old comedy movie telling the story of Xi, a Kalahari bushman, who undertakes an epic journey to bring an artefact which fell from the skies back to the gods? Well, in the midst of November this year it wasn’t a Coca-Cola bottle, but a metal sphere that fell from the skies over Namibia. On its impact the sphere, 35cm in diameter and about 6kg heavy, dug a crater about 30cm deep and 4m in diameter. Local authorities contacted NASA and ESA, asking for … Continue reading

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a murder of quality

The cold was crisp and sharp like flint. (Le Carré 1962: chpt. 1)     For a moment Fielding thought of Hecht pasturing in that thick body: it was a scene redolent of Lautrec. Yes, that was it! (Le Carré 1962: chpt. 1)     It was from us they learnt the secret of life: that we grow old without growing wise. (Le Carré 1962: chpt. 1)     I used to think it was clever to confuse comedy with tragedy. Now I wish I could distinguish them. (Le Carré 1962: chpt. 1)     Being alone was like being … Continue reading

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paris calling

The ↑12th EASA Biennial Conference will take place in Nanterre, France (near Paris) from 10th through 13th July 2012. The overall theme is “↑Uncertainty and disquiet.” The ↑list of workshops is set and the ↑call for papers open—the latter will be closed on 28th November 2011. You can only give one presentation, so you have to skim through the vast list and make up your mind to which workshop you want to submit a paper. If this one submission is rejected, you save a lot of money, ’cause it’s of no use to journey to a conference without presenting something … Continue reading

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far village

  Over at the ↑Ethno::log the issue of the ↑Dogon in particular and Africa in general—respectively how they are represented by the traditional mass media—recently has crept up three times in short sequence. First the entry ↑Afrika by mawingu triggered some discussion. Three days later an ↑entry on ↑an article in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung again triggered a discussion, mainly circling around the topic of stereotypes used in representing Africa, the Dogon in particular here. Finally yesterday ↑the Dogon returned because of ↑an article on them in Die Zeit.     To the wider public the Dogon mainly are renowned … Continue reading

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