Oxford Arkansan

Feministe is concerned about the future of Oxford American. Apparently, there is good news (not listed yet on their web site). From the Arkansas Times (May 14), but not on their web site either:

More details on the nearly inked sponsorship deal between the currently dormant Oxford American magazine and the University of Central Arkansas: According to OA editor Marc Smirnoff and UCA’s VP for university relations, Jack Gillean, Smirnoff and the University are “very close” to signing a contract, one that would guarantee a three-year infusion of cash to help the magazine fend off any shortfall in advertising revenue.

Although it is a torturously written one-sentence paragraph of sixty-six words, at least the content seems promising. The article reports that Smirnoff has regained control of the magazine, and the deal with UCA seems encouraging:

A veteran of three shutdowns over OA’s 12-year history, Smirnoff is hedging his bets against failure this time. In planning for the new magazine with UCA officials, he said, he is purposely “low balling our goals” so he is sure that they can be met (Smirnoff promises the low-balling concerns advertising sales and subscription projections, not editorial content or quality). Also, the magazine will drop back to quarterly publication and a “bare bones” staff with possibly as few as three full-time editors—including Smirnoff—and four other employees working in advertising sales. Offices will be in UCA’s Old Main building on Alumni Circle.

Smirnoff said the magazine’s reorganization as a non-profit may help its notoriously lax ad sales along.

Besides demonstrating the usual perverse character of journalistic attribution, he said, the article makes me wonder about the viability of literature as a “non-profit” enterprise. I suppose it makes a certain amount of sense for social-activist type magazines, but literature? That seems a little odd.

Ponderous Googlings

Ponderous Googlings

Added to the sidebar from hell: DeepSouth an interesting journal from New Zealand. Found by one of those research googlings which lead to A Comparison between the Theories of Marshall McLuhan and two films by
David Cronenberg
by Rowan Laing.

The substantial translation of human experience into media forms in Videodrome and eXistenZ results in life being lived more vicariously, as human experience is extended far beyond the body into mediated space. The television screen is the arena of performance in which the spectator assumes a contemplative role, and receives experience through representations. Gas’ game-world leads him to contemplate his own life as being a curiosity: “God the artist: the mechanic; funny!” In Videodrome and eXistenZ experience is fulfilled through interacting with media technology, creating the sense that simulation has become real, and reality has become contemplative.

Hey, at least it wasn’t one of those tiresome Matrix expostulations.

Art and Mass Media

Media Articles

Throughout the history of modern art, whether demarcated from the onset of Romanticism, Impressionism, or early twentieth-century movements, the identity of art practice has been intimately bound up with that of mass culture. Keepers of the flame of critical modernism cast this relation as one in which fine art is the privileged term in any opposition–high/low, elite/popular, authorial/industrial, and they carefully guard the distinctions between them. [4] But the complex nature of the relation of fine art to mass-media imagery requires a more subtle characterization of the interlinked identity of the two domains. Fine art has become increasingly dependent on media culture, and on the forms of visuality generated within mass media, for its vocabulary of images. The tail of flue art no longer wags the monster dog of commercial production, and thus it seems urgent to expand our historical understanding of this relationship by looking more carefully at those manifestations of modern visual culture that can help lay the critical groundwork for a nuanced discussion of this relationship in terms not circumscribed by a disdainful dismissal of the early twentieth-century dialogue of modern art and mass media.

“Who’s Afraid of Visual Culture” by Johanna Drucker

I love the phrase “the tail of flue art no longer wags the monster dog of commercial production.”

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