Culture Jam (special issue of Textshop Experiments)

deadline for submissions: 
February 1, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Brian Gaines, Virginia Tech
contact email: 

Issue 8: Culture Jam

Guest Editor: Brian Gaines (Virginia Tech)

Due: February 1, 2021

The editor of Culture Jam, special issue of Textshop Experiments, is looking for cultural and media saboteurs for the expressed purpose of protesting, resisting, and disrupting how cultural narratives are being constructed and disseminated. As Black Lives Matter protests, COVID-19, presidential scandals, and other happenings are leaving indelible marks on the annals of history, fundamental questions concerning the formation of the dominant narratives must be asked. Who is writing these cultural narratives? Who decides who creates these narratives? How will they be remembered? Are these constructed narratives accurate portrayals of how these events transpired? Are they legitimate?

Considering the deluge of extraordinary events that have taken place and are currently taking place in 2020—at the nexus of the political, racial, scientific, and cultural, to name a few—we are truly living in fantastic times. As Marshall McLuhan posited, “World War III is a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation” (66). Therefore, we very may well be in the throes of battle, especially in terms of how cultural events are perceived.

Media in many forms are advancing certain narratives as axiomatic in an era that increasingly adheres to the Burroughsian mantra that “nothing is true; everything is permitted.” We who make culture our businesscan engage in “participatory decentralization, a mantra of art and political networks,” and “subversive maneuvers,” (dj readies 1) in what may be viewed as a mirroring of a society of spectacle. However, as purveyors of culture production, we are inextricably bound to the bureaucracy of “codes, passwords, and links” of a “productive mythology” (readies 2). To put another way, we subvert the dominant narratives through using the systems that write those narratives.

Considering the idea of subversion in electrate writing practices and “New Media” applications, we are well-versed in the power of media to shape culture. Through re-envisaging turns and tropes, we can create commentary and art that subverts dominant narratives and resists the co-option of our shared culture.

We invite contributors to participate in this new issue of Textshop Experiments with the following:

Essays and Video Essays
We are looking for essays 3,000-5,000 words or 7-10 minutes in length that examine, critique, and subvert how current issues are constructed and presented. Please send essays as docx files and videos as mp4.

Audio Projects
Podcasting, sound collage, audio remixes, and original song compositions that challenge and subvert dominant narratives will be considered. Please submit in mp3 format. 

Visual Art
Posters, short documentary films, man-on-the-street reporting, media remixes, billboard liberation, homemade stickers, zines, wheat pasting campaigns, design projects, installations, user manuals for media hijinks/détournement, databending, protester fashion and/or fashion shows and other visual ideas will be considered. 

Webtexts
Digitally-born texts, including bots, hypertexts, digital zines, journal entries and blog posts, or other emerging writing technologies are also encouraged.

The deadline for submission is February 1, 2021. If you’d like to contribute to this issue or propose an idea, please send queries, proposals or completed projects to editor Brian Gaines at blgaine@vt.edu

Additional information may be found at http://textshopexperiments.org/.