23 MARCH 2021
It is with huge excitement that I announce that my and Kimmo Moykky's feature film Baked Alaska will have its North American premiere at the Magikal Charm Experimental Film & Video Festival in New York on April 11th, 2021. I will provide screening (and streaming) details shortly.
I was lucky enough to have a short film previously screen at Magikal Charm in 2016 Other details can be seen on the Magikal Charm Festival website here.
Baked Alaska, directed by Kimmo Moykky and Kathleen Bryson, United Kingdom, 2019. Running time: 90 minutes.
Narcissistic failing playwright Sullivan Foster, former Alaskan, is recovering from a brutal break-up with her boyfriend in a haunted London apartment, not the best of retreats. Creepy soft-tissue body parts are appearing all over town; time-travelling unsavoury characters of diphtheria-struck Gold-Rush-era Alaska converge on London in search of fresh meat. As sled-dogs and their mushers wind their way down the evil Seven Sisters Road, can fragile Sullivan piece together the meaning behind the fleshy jigsaw clues in time to save her own skin? A hallucinogenic film that just like life itself is sometimes-naturalistic, sometimes-comic, sometimes-horrific, Baked Alaska delicately/crudely explores the events that break us, form us, cannibalize us or redeem us.
WORLD PREMIERE: I AM MADNESS/MUSEELAB
(Sablé-sur-Sarthe, France, 2020)
HONORABLE MENTION EXPERIMENTAL FORUM 2019
HONORABLE MENTION L.A. UNDERGROUND FILM FORUM 2019
22 MARCH 2021
Still recovering from a heady 48-hour period last week where I was vaccinated and experienced a worse teeth-chattering, fever/chills combo than I did with Covid in January (absolutely worth it, of course, and I felt fine within 48 hours), job-interviewed (while still shaky) and then an Oxford postdoc offer and then six hours later an email offering a three-book series deal with DLG Publishing for two paranormal romantic comedies and an as-yet-unwritten third: the novels All Bottled Up (genies and anagrams), Ms. Cupid and the Bees (a fairy tale about twelve other fairy tales)) and The Witching Minute (witches and tree-hugging). Then I TAed three classes about Neanderthals and then, still on little sleep, performed in an online reading of The Bacchae as "Agave" for the Radical Anthropology Group complete with a headdress. Which I then had to remove as my FB profile pic because I was showing up with a golden snake headdress and a frightening expression to formal work colleagues on WhatsApp/Messenger groups. Fun fact: my body/mind reacts to a bunch of good news "stress" in a similar way it reacts to a bunch of bad news stress. The good-news feelings are at last starting to kick in now and the week is chill. :)
14 MARCH 2021
I taught a "Space in the Popular Imagination" seminar at University College London last week as a visiting lecturer, within their relatively new programme of Extraterrestrial Anthropology (funded by the European Research Council's ETHNO-International Space Station Project). It was a great experience with good discussions provoked by the MA students. Although I strongly recommend the book The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell on the subject of speculative extraterrestrial anthropology, my seminar focused more on fictive othering practices found in film and television, and we started right at the beginning with Le Voyage dans La Lune (1902). I then tied these conversations and observed patterns to evolutionary predictions regarding (speculative) creatures on other planets (also strongly recommended: Netflix's Alien Worlds, which takes an evolutionary analysis amidst some beautiful CGI of proposed aliens and their home planets!).
13 MARCH 2021
Hurrah! That was fun on OCD Radio with DJ Wax on Wax. My favourite childhood song has now been exposed to the listening world as "Tzena, Tzena, Tzena". As promised on the radio, here are the lyrics for the spoken word piece "Sugar Dance" that I wrote and performed for the show. I'll put up a mixcloud link soon, if you missed the show. Thank you to all my friends I've danced with through the years from Kenai to Stockholm to Seattle to Long Beach to London.
I never and never was feeling no pain.
Still you understand my referent my
It’s all the same, it’s all the same
o darling sweetheart paper valentine
o honey o sugar sugar six-eight time
a step towards candy liquid brandy
comes in handy, the movement
the hair too hot and old chianti,
our hips are proper vigilante,
our ankles only watered shandy,
we advance the op and up the ante,
chants and trance break-dance and shanty
the required turnaround rhyme for
burnt lime liquor grime and second line
Well, gonna do a dance and it goes like this
Danza de los Tres Poderes
Danza de los Voladores
And the name of the dance is the
and that’s the way in which we’ll
tango belly squat and yangko,
cocktail salted mangos,
mambo, sufi, ceilidh, tai chi, candy floss
You put your foot straight into
hellzapoppin hiphop mosh
our minds now awash now
raspberry flavoured squash
ganache and lollipop
lindy tripping stripping kpop
sweet and spiralling cloven smoke
sakai polka disco kathakali folk
into farandole, spagnoletta
leftover Christmas amoretta.
Last Christmas you
gave me your heart.
You did me a dance
and you said it was art.
rockabilly capoeira take your left foot out
It’s just a jump to the left
It’s just an inch to the cleft
to the concheros swing minuet ring-shout
And then a step to the right
You bring your knee in tight
the longdance turkish delight, a bite
of liturgical glacéed orange peel
of industrial spinning colour-wheel
a snack of jive and charleston scotch reel
house bolero jazz quadrille
lion bush ghost and bear all night
With my hands on your hips
haka yuraq twerk your grip
foxtrot flex ardah balleting
Tzena, can’t you hear the music playing
my heart’s busy now soothsaying
the hustle in the city square
techno adumu I presume you
tap ecstatic shamanistic zouglou
rave jitterbug you’re sugar-high
on candy drugs indlamu
come where all our friends will find us
clogging, chinelos, sanam
crystalled ginger, morning glory
They say I’ll find you with the dancers there.
khorovod, paixtles, come join the celebration
Sweetheart, blow a kiss to all the sailors
The night’s dark syrup growing paler
Honey, o sugar sugar, come and dance the hora
All the boys will envy me for
Dawn will find us laughing in the sunlight.
Our candy hearts will spell IGNITE.
Our candy hearts will spell GODHEAD.
“While visions of sugarplums dance in our heads.”
“Dawn will find us dancing in the city square.”
Our ears are full of candy prayers.
4 MARCH 2021
I’m interviewed, and am reading two pieces as well – the first is the evolutionary poem “Convergence”. This poem on the subject of convergent evolution was previously published by the Mass magazine in December 2020, now with a spanking-new final verse about how in dance sometimes the environment creates us and sometimes we go on to create the environment (dual inheritance theory). I also read and perform a brand-new spoken-word piece called “Sugar Dance”.
There’s loads of amazing music too and it should be great.
P.S. I had an interesting January, where I tested positive for COVID-19. Thankfully it was a mildi(sh) case - with some lingering fatigue - and I am now on the mend.
3 JANUARY 2021
Happy New Year, with wishes for a good one.
SHORT STORY JUST PUBLISHED 31 DECEMBER 2020: "A Working Paper on Gaia and the Inter-Evolutions of Living Worlds: Abiogenesis, Our Divorce from the Daughters of the Plant People, Our Cousins the Mushrooms, Our Avoidance of the Trump-Pandemic Crisis and Ultimately Our Universe 2 Ostensible Natural-History Vacation Visits to Distant Midnight Galaxies” by the MASS magazine, which can be read here.
This SF short story is a pastiche of a scientific paper and it has occurred to me that I could have spent the time writing a real paper to add oomph to my professional research CV instead [N.B. It is an artsy publication so they removed my species italicizations for aesthetic reasons.]. But as my mom says, "It's fiction and that's something different and fine, too." My art/science overlap (art was my chicken before the egg) is now something meta. Even as a positivist and advocate of the scientific method, I feel like I am corrupting science somehow by being playful with it, so I obviously have some issues to work through. I suspect this is because my art career came first. My slight discomfort hasn't stopped me, however: I first started leaking art into science when I lovingly mocked evolutionary theory (about which it cannot be stated more emphatically that I believe in) when writing my novel The Stagtress (published 2019) and did a 2017 series of evolutionary chimera paintings where I hybridised humans with 200 different organisms like Ctenophora and Proconsul for a project called Impossible Animals. ("See No Evil" and "Convergence" [both 2017] shown here, all paintings copyright Kathleen Bryson 2020; can be reproduced by permission only).
24 DECEMBER 2020
JUST PUBLISHED 23 DECEMBER 2020: Bryson, Kathleen, Christophe Soligo & Volker Sommer (2020). Interrogating boundaries against animals and machines: Human speciesism in British newspapers. Journal of Posthuman Studies: Philosophy, Technology, Media 4:2 (129–165). READ IT HERE IN PDF FORM!
23 DECEMBER 2020
Baked Alaska — photos from the premiere! at the "I AM Madness 2020" Exhibition vernissage this week Friday 18 December at Museelab in Sablé-sur-Sarthe, France. Thank you to Seeta @museelab and Iffy!
17 DECEMBER 2020
World Premiere for Baked Alaska — apparently the French/Belgian hosts have powered through with the I AM 2020 Exhibition and my feature film Baked Alaska is having its vernissage this week Friday 18 December at Museelab in Sable, France — I had no idea it was still going ahead in a real-time sense due to my own obliviousness but am very happy! it is still due to screen in Paris in real-time at some point as well. Directed by Kimmo Moykky & Kathleen Bryson, cinematography by Jessica Cheeseman. Baked Alaska won Honorable Mention at both the LA Underground Film Festival and the Experimental Film Forum. Read more about the project on the Baked Alaska Instagram.
I have had a third tiny science fiction short story published by 365 Tomorrows this week, this one entitled "The Moon". :) Read it here.
I’m tired of literary bleakness right now and I’m posting an advent calendar of sorts instead on my Instagram, a jolly little tale called As Everybody Nose, of which there are exactly 25 pages. It’s made in part of illustrations on top of vintage Christmas cards, as well as my own photographs of caribou (reindeer) in my home state of Alaska and winter paintings I’ve done in the past.
Excitingly, I had 7 (seven!) poems about natural selection published in the MASS magazine; read them here. Only 3 (three!) of them are "bleak".
I also had a scientific article accepted for Society & Animals this week, for which I am the sole author. It is called "Apes unlike us: Human-ingroup protection against encroaching simianity in UK newspapers" and won't be published until some time next year.
Happy Thanksgiving! Couple'o science fiction flash pieces published here and here. entitled "S2013A15B04" and "We Only Travel at Night". Both are somewhat bleak so you are forewarned. Less bleak is this song I have re-discovered.
24 OCTOBER 2020
I have had some nice reviews for The Stagtress, which was published by the NYC-based Fugue State Press late last year (just before the pandemic!) and can be bought here (United States) and here (United Kingdom):
"Like a psychedelic Angela Carter for the 21st century, Bryson takes us into the darkest reaches of the forest, only to pull us out again to catapult us into the future. Creation myths collide with apocalypse culture to dazzle the reader into an altered state. In this powerful, liberation paean to nature, the reader can wriggle free from the mendacious venom of the machine-code world and run wild with the horned goddess, where the tree is the first of all gods and suns are older than clocks.” – Kerri Sharp, author of Prada Sucks! and Other Demented Descants
“Animistic and apocalyptic… Sink into the lush, entrancing, mesmeric word tapestry. Possibly this is a manual for steering our way in the post-covid world.” – Dr. Camilla Power, Radical Anthropology Group
23 October 2020: Our World Premiere was delayed by the pandemic, but Baked Alaska and the curators are resilient and the premiere now will be taking place in Paris 9-15 November 2020 at the Gallery as part of the “I Am” exhibition curated by Seeta Muller and Iffy Lemand.
20 AUGUST 2020
My speciesism article is being published! It shows similar patterns of infrahumanisation (bias against) directed by humans against non-human animals and machines, likely a form of speciesism. It is being published here: Bryson, Kathleen, Christophe Soligo & Volker Sommer (2020). Interrogating boundaries against animals and machines: Human speciesism in British newspapers. Journal of Posthuman Studies: Philosophy, Technology, Media (in press, accepted August 17, 2020).
21 JULY 2020
On a bit of a whim, last month I submitted my feature screenplay “Spaceships Over Corvallis” — @spaceshipsovercorvallis, the one that was previously optioned etc. & that I am currently turning into a graphic novel — to Pinewood Studios’ Lift-Off Science Fiction screenplay competition. And it has been selected! In better times that would mean an intense workshop and marketing strategy (part of the prize) at Pinewood Studios itself but it’s “interesting times” (may you live, but not live through such again), so the workshop will be held online in early August. I am greatly looking forward to it. Spaceships Over Corvallis lives again!
Info: A subversive film about xenophobia, a B-movie where evil flying saucers are attacking a small Oregon town, and also a CIA thriller where U.S. residents are abducted for extraordinary rendition overseas. I attended the Berlinale Talent Campus based on the script and on my previous feature “The Viva Voce Virus” (UK, 2008). SOC had most crew attached in 2009 but divorce understandably meant I dropped the ball. Here are some of the original 90-minute film’s details:
SETTING Corvallis, Oregon 1962; Portland, Oregon 2008; New York, NY, 2008; Hampshire, Massachusetts, 2008; Ukraine, 2008.
TAGLINE The Cold War Meets the War on Terror
9 MAY 2020
Yes, by this time we were all living in "interesting times".
Exploding Cinema accepted my first rough little short film from way back in 2005 (!) True Advertising that screened remotely.
Synopsis: “True Advertising” 2005. 4 min 25 sec. A reflection on true advertising and false advertising, set to the dulcet tones of Mag/Lev and making use of the ever-popular public domain nature of the Prelinger Archives, here in the context of war footage, atomic bomb tests and sex-education films: all equally susceptible to advertising paradigms.
22 OCTOBER 2019
I was invited to speak on the subject of Ludditism and Transhumanism at Lara Favaretto's amazing "Thinking Head" exhibition in Venice for the Venice Biennale Arte (logo: May You Live in Interesting Times). I had an amazing time and saw some stupendous art. A few photographs of art seen are here.
11 OCTOBER 2019
Here at last are the photos for the book launch for The Stagtress — it was a great turn-out but this is several hours later after people had had a few glasses of wine and cheese from the ouija board cheeseboard. It took place at the amazing Atlantis Bookshop.
We are making Stagtress horns on our heads. I was, though it does not appear so, sober!
10 SEPTEMBER 2019
In late October, I will be taking part in the 2019 Venice Biennale Arte as one of the "thinkers" for artist Lara Favaretto's Clandestine Talks project, where I and several others will be discussing the word TRANSHUMAN.
8 AUGUST 2019
My third novel The Stagtress was sent to print today! The kind editor at Fugue State Press told me the exact moment he would be pushing the button to send it into the joyous ether, and so I got to be part of the process. I receive bound proofs next week and then official publication itself for Her Deeriness is not far off.
20 JULY 2019
Just have to slightly scream that I got the thrill of my (year?) today, the 50th Anniversary of the Space Landings, when Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins "liked" one of my space paintings on Instagram - today, of all days!!!!!!!! The space child in me is overwhelmed by the idea that 50 years to the day after he orbited the moon waiting for Armstrong and Aldrin (and witnessed that beautiful Earthrise) out there in the internet Michael Collins is sufficiently aesthetically pleased by my Earth/Moon/The Divine piece ("Prime Mover", 2019) enough to spend at least a couple seconds to consider it and have his finger settle on an Instagram like-button. The artwork was displayed at my solo show Once Upon a Spacetime earlier in the year at London's Royal Institution.
22 JULY 2019
Our just-finished experimental folkhorror film Baked Alaska (@bakedalaskafilm on Twitter; www.instagram.com/bakedalaskafilm on Instagram) received another nice honorable mention award this week, this time from the Experimental Forum in Los Angeles. Co-directed by Kimmo Möykky and Kathleen Bryson.
BAKED ALASKA feature film (UK 2019), co-directed by Kimmo Möykky and Kathleen Bryson. Kimmo is in charge of Instagram and Twitter (thank god), but I will also mention here that our just-finished experimental folkhorror film Baked Alaska yesterday received a nice honorable mention from the LA Underground Film Forum for “vision and the film's unique contribution to cinema”. Yay! We have just started submitting Baked Alaska to festivals. It’s our second feature (the first was The Viva Voce Virus, 2008). Read more about it in the filmmaking section.
WE BURN DAYLIGHT Screening (production still shown). This experimental Neanderthal/modern human-interbreeding-themed short film created by fellow evolutionary anthropologist Gwynfryn Thomas and me will be screened 13 July at "That Little Sphere... Nature Films No. 1" at the Hundred Years Gallery in Hoxton.
My third novel The Stagtress is due to be published by the amazing Fugue State Press run by the brilliant writer James Chapman. I just received the image of the cover, and I am super excited about it as I haven't had a fiction novel published in a decade. Fugue State Press is an experimental New York-based publishing house and I sent James my novel on spec and I was was very thrilled when he liked it and I withdrew it from the other presses that were reading it. Everything may seem like it is happening at once for me but the truth is rather than blasting all this creative output out in a catherine-wheel I instead have been working on all the projects pretttttty steadily (book: 4 years; film: 6 years; art show, 10 years). It is coincidence that it is all going on in 2019. On that subject...
ONCE UPON A SPACETIME
So recently I had my first solo exhibition in ten years ("Once Upon a Spacetime", my tenth solo show) on the subject of space science at the Royal Institution on 19 March 2019. It was great fun and an amazing venue.
Thank you to the Royal Institution and everyone who made it!
I presented work at SPSP (Society for Personality and Social Psychology) Annual Convention in Portland, Oregon in the Evolutionary Psychology Pre-Conference: “Ambiguity and evolutionary theory: Towards a new gradualist paradigm" (initially titled "Temporally malleable ambiguity tolerance towards dichotomous concepts"). I really enjoyed myself and as a human behavioural ecologist realised too that some of my own pre-conceptions regarding evolutionary psychology being an overly determinist discipline were false (its checkered history aside) - those I spoke to were open-minded and worked to apply evolutionary principles to wider psychology, which I count as a good thing as long as it isn't rooted in "just-so stories" and reverse-engineering current cultures' prejudices. All the talks and posters were fascinating and the Pre-Conference organizers had charming Darwin-themed doughnuts from Portland cult doughnut shop Voodoo Doughnuts, including Darwin's famous sketch he drew decades before 1859 when he and Alfred Russel Wallace co-published their discovery of natural selection (Darwin's supporters held it up as proof that Darwin came up with the idea first). The bifurcating Darwin-sketch-tree-of-life doughnut was very delicious, but everyone was a bit too nervous to be the first to cull the old man himself from the doughnut tree. Eventually some brave soul did. She who dares... (it wasn't me, but sometimes risk-taking is a sound evolutionary strategy).
"Which Came First? Chimeric Archaeopteryx
Levitates WMAP Chicken Egg" 2017