Special Issue 02: Play Conference2008
"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."
"Play is the exultation of the possible."
On 23 and 24 May, 2008, FORUM hosted an international and interdisciplinary conference on the topic of "Play" at the University of Edinburgh's School of Literatures, Languages, and Cultures (made possible through funding from the Art and Humanities Research Council). Engaging with a myriad of perspectives and interests – from digital media to theology, literature to film studies, psychology to performance art – the conference explored the social and cultural functions of play, and attempted to determine its significance in the arts and humanities. This special issue of FORUM offers a selection of papers presented at the conference, a compilation of works that reflect the spectrum of questions considered throughout the two-day event.
DesireNo 06 (2008)
The spring 2008 issue of FORUM explores the concept of desire as a force inspiring works of art within a variety of cinematic and literary genres.
The issue opens with a guest article by Homay King examining the intersection between the “desire to know” and Orientalist elements of mise en scène within the genre of film noir. The discussion of cinematic representations of desire continues with articles on murder and the gaze in 1960s British film and female effigies in contemporary film Lars and the Real Girl. Turning to literature, an analysis of Angela Carter’s novel The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman looks at the function of desire within identity formation; while an essay on Gerard Manley Hopkins’s confessional notes presents a new take on a popular topic: forbidden longing.
In moving between the personal and the universal, the forbidden and the permissible, the articles in this issue present a spectrum of approaches to and understandings of desire and its aesthetic incarnations.
Editors: Kim Richmond & Ana Salzberg
Apocalypse NowNo 05 (2007)
Since the beginning the end has always been with us.
Mushroom cloud from the Fat Man bomb over Nagasaki, 9th August 1945
As the 5th issue of FORUM, the University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Journal for Culture and the Arts demonstrates the apocalypse has proved to be a resilient cultural trope throughout human history. Dr Darryl Jones' wide-ranging guest article provides historical context for the treatment of the apocalyptic tone in literature, setting the scene for the literary discussions of the 19th century short stories of Wilkie Collins and George Eliot, the Science Fiction novels of George Turner and the more contemporary concerns of Don Delillo's work. The flexible nature of the apocalyptic theme is reflected in two papers investigating the use of apocalyptic tone in two non-literary media forms, namely the eco-concerns of the films of Rolf de Heers and the sonic experience of the apocalypse in Tom Waits' Bone Machine, while a more philosophical approach is adopted in the discussions of our ability to linguistically comprehend the "end" post-Trinity, and the radical eco-activism of the Earth First! movement.
As this selection of essays proves, attempting to study human conceptions of apocalypse provides a colourfully broad canvas of topics and approaches which, like the literal meaning of the word itself, constantly hint at the "unveiling" of a coherent truth while simultaneously remaining tantalisingly out of reach.
Editors: Jack Burton & Hanna Sommerseth
Camp!No 04 (2007)
From ballet dancers to toilet humour, Pink Flamingos to Douglas Sirk, summer camp to Mick Jagger...
The spring 2007 issue of FORUM engages with the topic of Camp!
Divine in John Waters's Pink Flamingos, 1972
Covering a wide variety of media, the articles consider representations of camp, as well as exploring the potential of camp as a critical interpretative strategy. The edition opens with the classic camp of Carry On films, before moving on to an analysis of the politics of straight camp in hard rock. Personal anecdote is interwoven with a re-examination of Susan Sontag's "Notes on 'Camp'" in our third article, followed by a consideration of the restorative potential of camp in a short story about a man living with HIV. The issue closes with a look at the classic melodrama of Douglas Sirk, interpreting his use of colour within a camp register.
Editors: Clare Bielby & Sally Henderson
Chance and ControlNo 03 (2006)
The autumn 2006 issue of FORUM addresses the interrelated concepts of chance and control within the arts and culture through a diverse selection of papers examining William Blake's reading of the Bible; the subversive potential of the anecdote in Soviet-era Russia; Kundera's reading of Nietzsche's concept of eternal recurrence in his novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and William Burrough's notion of the Controller's Dilemma as an alternative to the Prisoner's Dilemma.
Jackson Pollock - Full Fathom Five, 1947
Whatever your interest in the arts and culture, we are confident you will find something of interest herein.
Editors: Claire Altree & Keith Brown
Special Issue 01: Evolutions2006
"We are causing the reversal of evolution."
- James Hart, Eugenic Manifesto
"Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes open
The chance won't come again."
- Bob Dylan, "The Times They Are A-Changin"
On 22–23 September 2006, the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh hosted an international, interdisciplinary conference on the themes of "evolutions," opening discussion to topics as diverse as Mao, the Bible, eugenics, rock music, animal rights, genre, and many others. For these two days, scholars (both students and staff) from across four continents working in the fields of theory, literature, linguistics, music, film, culture, and history came together to talk and share ideas. Below are a natural selection of the papers, expanded and evolved into new and exciting fauna.
Fear & TerrorNo 02 (2006)
The spring edition of FORUM addresses the interrelated concepts of terror and fear and aims to explore the various ways in which these ideas are addressed within philosophy, art, music, literature and film. Within our contemporary society terror and fear have adopted a new relevancy and, as the arts are direct commentators on the prevalent attitudes of the era, FORUM’s objective is to discover the way in which the arts have confronted terror and fear both within our time and in previous ages.
Editors: Joe Hughes & Beth Schroeder
Origins & OriginalityNo 01 (2005)
The inaugural issue of FORUM, on the theme of "Origins and Originality".
Editors: Lisa Otty & Matt McGuire