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Lotsa stuff going on professionally and personally. First of all in terms of research and academia, and most excitingly, I have a new and brilliant agent from an excellent New York agency! She will be representing a non-fiction evolutionary book about a subject dear to my heart, more soon.
Then lots of film news. In the last part of last year, I was finishing two stop-motion no-budget feature films and one short film on the weekends. The first is Doctor Bitcoin Makes the Magic (118 minutes) and you can read the synopsis in the screenshot here. I just started submitting Doctor Bitcoin willy-nilly to no-or-low-submission-fee festivals on FilmFreeway (a very well functioning submission platform, may I say) last month and I was surprised and, yes, excited (I am excitable) that it's already had a few festival acceptances and an award: Official Selection for the LIFT-OFF Global Sessions (Documentary section - it's sort of both a fiction and a documentary film), Official Selection for the Luleå International Film Festival (Covid-19 section), and Honorable Mention from the Sea of Art arthouse film festival in Stavanger, Norway in the "Best Experimental Film" category.
I also finished a feature called The Wonderful Thing (UK/USA, 60 minutes) in the last few weeks that I am just starting to send out now. Never fear, I was not overworking - Doctor Bitcoin took three years to make (a pandemic-themed project) and The Wonderful Thing actually took 17 years because I started it in 2006 - I just happened to finish it the same month. Here's the poster for The Wonderful Thing as well. I'll eventually post its synopsis and the trailers for both [Fair Use/Creative Commons/No-Budget] films, trailers which are finished but a bit tricky to access at the moment.
Then, the third film, the no-budget 11-minute experimental The Widow's Daughters, also finished in December last year (see premiere info at the Magikal Charm Experimental Film & Video festival below). The Widow's Daughters - co-directed with Kimmo Moykky - has additionally been accepted at the LIFT-OFF at Pinewood Studios Global Sessions, and then for the Latest TV/Northern Visions (Belfast) International Women's Days Festival with television screenings upcoming in Belfast, Brighton, Sheffield and Kent. You can also watch The Widow's Daughters remotely from overseas, with a schedule in UK time (and a bad-ass trailer in which I briefly appear!) at this link. As with the two features, I'll eventually get around to posting the trailer and synopsis. And then a fourth - my unproduced feature film screenplay Spaceships Over Corvallis was announced today as an award winner for Best Feature Screenplay Script at the Athvikvaruni International Film Festival.
Whew. Then something very cool happened with poetry. I never google exes and I only google myself perhaps once a year, so I missed that I had been longlisted for the Erbacce Prize for Poetry six months ago until very recently, a fact I'm delighted with since the contest was judged blind and there were 15,000 (you read that correctly) entries. Two days ago I received a mysterious package in the post and it was a beautiful perfect-bound copy of Erbacce Journal, in which they'd printed 5 of my poems, which I didn't know they were doing. It was really cool to see all of them in print, since four of them ("Camlet Moat, Epitaph"; "The Hard Side"; "Nikiski Midsummer" and "Smoking" in Poetry Kit, Eunoia, and Toasted Cheese Literary Journal x 2, respectively; details below) had only been published online, and one ("The Bog Man") had never been published at all before. It was a wonderful surprise and I loved all the poems by others - there's no substitute for the wonder of books; there really isn't. Yep, I said it.
Okay, an overview of exciting stuff. Firstly, my academic article article is now out in Society & Animals journal, entitled “Apes Unlike Us: Human-Ingroup Protection Against Encroaching Simianity in UK Newspapers” — it is Open Access and you can download the PDF here! I’m proud of this single-authored academic article and happy the little primate can finally see the light of day.
Secondly, I received notification this week of my PGCE in Biology Secondary School Teaching from Brunel University! My way of coping with 2020/2021 consisted in part of doing a graduate programme in Science Teaching, the UK PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) at Brunel, which basically allows me to be a secondary school science teacher internationally. Also, I received a £26,000 yearly stipend, a bit better than the dole (though not much better). Then in 2021, I put my PGCE studies on hold for a year to accept the Oxford postdoctoral fellowship (which I still hold), but then took a few weeks off earlier last year (2022) to finish my assignments for Brunel. So there you have it, now a biology teacher at both university and secondary school levels, and with a renewed respect for my friends and family who are secondary school teachers.
As noted below, I attended a mind-blowing conference on Space Anthropology (Collège de France/UCL/Maison Française d'Oxford "Seedling Biospheres in Outer Space" workshop in Paris) in early December. I sat next to a fellow who is working with NASA about the possibility of taking fish to the moon. I presented on behavioural convergent evolution possibilities amongst (speculative) extraterrestrials and the chances of humans surviving cryosleep in evolutionary terms (not good). We were treated to the finest food and hospitality, and the following day (my birthday) I went to a beautiful, beautiful exhibition about animism by the filmmaker-artist Laurent Grasso that had fires burning in forests and clouds on the moss and translucent rocks, then met an old friend for a drink. A perfect day.
My feature-film collaborator Kimmo Möykky and I are excited to announce that a short experimental film we co-directed, THE WIDOW’S DAUGHTERS (UK, 2022, 11 min.), had its World Premiere at the Magikal Charm Experimental Film and Video Festival at the Producer’s Club in New York City on December 29th at 7-11pm, where it also was awarded the ITSO EVOLUTIONARY ANTHROPOLOGY prize.
THE WIDOW’S DAUGHTERS is a transliteration of a traditional Finnish folk tale about the dangers of excess in either debauchery or purity. I did the poetic transliteration of lyrics and performed the piece, Kimmo composed and produced the music, and I did camera and the artwork.
A non-ironic "huzzah!" for this wonderful festival, They have screened many of my films before, including my and Kimmo’s experimental feature BAKED ALASKA last year, and the short WE BURN DAYLIGHT co-directed with Gwynfryn Thomas in 2018 (which Kimmo edited), which can be viewed here https://vimeo.com/96808944
In late December, I had a poem published called “Three-Eyed Frankenstein” in GHOST CITY REVIEW. It’s a true dream and an inadvertent homage (via my subconscious) to my friend James “Maz” Marriott, taken from us too soon in 2012 at the age of 39. You can read it here.
Finally, I packaged up and then delivered a sold painting called "The Reddest Planet" about Mars utopianism to its new home just before the New Year. Always nice to see pictures in situ where they end up, particularly if they come complete with a fluffy dog. :) Encaustics, acrylic washes and pen and ink on canvas.
I was thrilled to participate in the Collège de France/UCL/Maison Française d'Oxford "Seedling Biospheres in Outer Space" workshop in Paris last week, where as an anthropologist I spoke about convergent evolution and macro-evolution time frames in spaceships. Excellent hosts and excellent talks. My presentation will eventually become a chapter in their 2024 book The Off-Earth Atlas. Also pleased to report that my journal article "Apes unlike us: Human-ingroup protection against encroaching simianity in UK newspapers" in Society & Animals will be published imminently. I have a non-fiction book proposal on an evolutionary topic dear to my heart out there so it will be exciting to see what happens next.
I will update the images to match the text eventually here, but at present just to add that my major news is that I was awarded my Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in Secondary School Biology Teaching a few months back (I had taken a leave of absence in order to accept the Oxford job, but I only had one essay/presentation remaining, whew!), and had a poem called "The Hard Side" published in Eunoia Review in October. I work full-time, so I do this kind of stuff on weekends.
Also in October/September: as part of my postdoctoral fellowship at Oxford, I am quantitatively and qualitatively analysing whether well-intended incentives to engage women in formal work result in substantially more unpaid labour at home and more total hours worked by females for a research article provisionally entitled ‘Don’t frighten the stallions: The efficacy of international maternity and paternity leave policies'. I organised and hosted a workshop at the University of Oxford on 30 September 2022 at the Oxford Martin School, presenting the findings and inviting speakers on the genuine efficacy (or not) of well-intended social interventions to reduce gender gaps between women and men. This has been a fantastic postdoc experience and I am really happy they renewed my contract.
6 August 2022
Update — I found out two days ago that my novel He’s Lucid has now been shortlisted for the Black Spring Press Group Best of the Bottom Drawer Prize, which is… NICE. Fingers crossed and more details about He’s Lucid if you scroll down below.
3 August 2022
Found out recently that I have been awarded a John Fell Grant for a research workshop on women's employment that I am organising for my day job as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford. Woo hoo!
Just found out as well, in a neck-breaking segue to more pop-culture stuff, that my poem "Three-Eyed Frankenstein" will be published imminently by Ghost City Review (you will understand why the swerve is sudden when you read the poem). I will supply an appropriate link when it is published. I have had like over 40 poems published now; I would love to have a collection published and indeed have several manuscripts ready to go in case this is read by any lurking publishers, (Also 25 published short stories + 2 manuscripts.)
27 July 2022
My metapoem "Women's Poems" has been published this month (July 2022) in Literary Yard. You can read it here.
21 MAY 2022
My poem "The Hard Side" will be published in Eunoia Review in October.
24 APRIL 2022
Got news my unpublished novel He's Lucid is longlisted for Black Spring Press's Totally Free Best of the Bottom Drawer Global Writing Prize 2021 (shortlist/winner announced Summer 2022). They publish very cool books so I'm excited.
The environmentalist, Alaska-set speculative novel He's Lucid has some interesting history behind it: it was initially written as a text novel (no illustrations) and bought by the independent publishing company Suspect Thoughts Press in 2005 in a two-book deal, followed by scheduling delays. Some time later I received notification that, as the press was closing down, they were cancelling contracts with all authors for upcoming books (I was happy – and lucky – that, despite the two-year delay, my second novel Girl on a Stick was published by Suspect Thoughts in 2008).
Despite a 2005 Bumbershoot performance art piece where I read satirical excerpts about Alaska's melting ice-caps accompanied by a violinist in a polar bear mask, this meant He’s Lucid never went to print when the company closed down as with so many other good independent presses. As a result of this, I never really sent it out and decided to re-imagine the un-illustrated novel as a graphic novel, and started illustrating it in June 2019 and continued this as a way to keep myself sane in the middle of the pandemic. I stayed sane and finished it while I was recovering from Covid-19 in January 2021. I would be delighted with a text-only publication (or in some partially illustrated format, as in the novel Cruddy by Lynda Barry or in my own 2019 novel The Stagtress).
Set in 2131, He's Lucid's structure resembles a reverse Alice in Wonderland, where we start out in the “crazy” world, and where our hero Yukon falls through into the “real” world. Yukon fumbles as much in our world as Alice fumbled once she’d gone through the looking glass and, like Alice’s world, our own is reflected back to us – devastated environment, global warming, occasionally soft-hearted humanity, warts and all. Playful and serious.
23 APRIL 2022
Here is the link to my forthcoming non-fiction book Why We Struggle with Ambiguity: The Quiddity Question (more details directly below). Just wanted to post the hyperlink and the cover image, which were sent to me a couple days ago by the publisher. :)
2 APRIL 2022
Very happy to announce that I have a book deal for a monograph rooted in my Ph.D. research. The book will be called Why We Struggle with Ambiguity: The Quiddity Question by Kathleen Bryson and Volker Sommer. It addresses the evolutionary and cultural formation of prejudice towards othered groups, which is ever and sadly topical, eg. the devastation of Ukraine. We also theorise solutions to potentially "hard-wired" biases. It will be published by Ethics Press International, a long-standing press of primarily philosophical books. It will be published hardcover in March 2023. All will be revealed at a later date...
(Paintings: "The Glass Hybrid Menagerie" and "Key", 2021).
28 JANUARY 2022
Art. More paintings. Jalmurra magazine published a lot more of my paintings in addition to the two poems recently posted: “This is a collection of science and anthropological themed paintings, part of the Greenstick Project at UCL’s Bone Room, presented in conjunction with palaeoanthropologist Dr. Suzy White.” Greenstick is a project Suzy and I have been working on for a few years and is about ready to be sent out to publishers. Here you can see electronic jukebox gorillas, the evolution of an archaeological hypothesis, a grieving australopith and more.
22 JANUARY 2022
I have had five poems published recently: three, "First Person", "Train from Brighton, Several Years Before We Broke Up" and "I'm Definitely Missing the Links Here", in The Bombay Literary Magazine and two, "The Burial in Structure A" and "Oreopithecus" in Jalmurra magazine. They can be read here and here and here.
29 OCTOBER 2021
Baked Alaska is screening at the Redux Festival on 29 October 2021 in New York City, as an offshoot of the Magikal Charm Experimental Film and Video Festival @magikalcharm where it screened earlier this year live and online. This special online event is a curation via invitation by the programmers and includes taped interviews with the directors preceding each film. You can get tickets here.
14 OCTOBER 2021
AN EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY OF SCIENCE FICTION FILM. On 14 October 2021, I gave a hybrid live/online seminar for UCL (my alma mater)’s Radical Anthropology Group entitled as above. Good fun with lots of interesting Q&A afterwards. The seminar was rooted in a class I’ve taught for UCL Anthropology’s ETHNO-ISS Extraterrestrial Anthropology programme and also in an upcoming chapter in a book called Extraterrestrial Anthropology (Eds. Jeevendrampillai & Parkhurst, Routledge 2022). It’s a thought experiment viewing science fiction films through a human behavioural ecology lens, theorising on potential ingroup/outgroup behaviour in (speculative) extraterrestrials based on convergent evolutionary theory. After I finished writing the chapter last week following the seminar, I wrote verbatim to the book editors, “I dreamed of a total vegetative/fungal alien takeover of Earth last night, where people were gradually infected by bright purple and blue fungal growths and Shoreditch hipsters were especially vulnerable due to the wide funky fashion colourful hats they affected making them targets. After a lot of hiding and escaping I made it to one of the refugee starships and was being bureaucratically processed onto an ark with the remaining humans along with a few turncoat aliens who had switched sides. They were the size of dinosaurs and looked like yaks but had long shaggy orange hair that looked like fake fur. Because they had betrayed the alien invaders, they now had to claim refugee status to get off Earth too. I stroked one of their pelts as I walked by and then couldn’t figure out if I’d been rude or if they’d liked it like a dog/cat. This dream is what happens when you’ve watched too many iterations of alien invasions combined with writing thought experiments!” Then briefly made a digital collage/painting to illustrate the latter alien type in my lunch break. Ad astra, Kathleen
LATE AUGUST 2021.
FUBAR Group Art Show: The Absurd August 2021. So I got COVID-19 a mild second time in late August (despite previous unvaccinated case in January 2021 and two spring vaccinations) & as I was quarantined was unable to attend a group show I had four paintings in, one that took place at one of my favourite London buildings, the Saint Pancras Crypt. Here’s my last-minute scribbled instructions to the courier (also known as my local minicab office).
Apparently it was a great show so thank you to the organisers the FUBAR Collective and the other artists. These are the four pieces I had shown.
2)Genetic Variation (2020)
3)Friend’s 12-Year-Old Kid Has Anxiety Dream of Being Chased By Bear on Unicycle in Clown Makeup Trying to Hug Him Whilst Simultaneously Juggling Chainsaws and Evacuating Droppings Disguised As Chocolate Easter Eggs (2020)
4)The Bleak Pointlessness of Zoom Dancing (2020)
And despite not being present, I sold a painting! That was exciting. Photo of the The Crypt by artist-curator @jenni_bea and of the show by @art_of_miajaneharris
(both on Instagram).
The short story "Mr. Adana's Lending Library" has just been published by the lovely Piker Press and can be read here! I was amused by the PG-13 rating. I have never really thought about comparisons to film ratings for my adult writing (for writing directly to children/teens, I write for those ages). But in terms of writing for grown-ups, never thought about it. I suppose my writing then is generally "R". So this story (for adults and apparently children over 13 accompanied by a responsible adult) is relatively mild for me and others. I might even say heartwarming and romantic if I had a heart. I also had a flash fiction piece published in Yellow Mama.
30 JUNE 2021
I have just had two poems (and one illustration) published in Ovid to Covid today: "Touch No Evil, Say All the Monkeys", poem; "Eleven Minutes (Saying Goodbye in the Middle of a Pandemic)", poem; "Touch No Evil" (painting).
29 JUNE 2021
Amazing! In 2018/2019 I did a fascinating postdoc at Queen Mary University London as part of the Jones Group, where we investigated whether well-being increases the more social older adults are (measured in terms of attending a cabaret club for the over-60s, and via questionnaires). The study was funded by revolutionary arts outfit Duckie. QMUL and Duckie produced an official report for Arts Council England, and Duckie/ACE also funded a physical book - that I edited - entitled The Posh Book: Pleasure, Performance, Parties and Pensioners. I am very proud of The Posh Book and was happy to celebrate its pre-launch today in Crawley (the official launch at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern is upcoming, which I will miss due to jury duty). The book has an executive summary of the larger report's findings, and also wonderful interviews from the older adults who attend themselves, The Posh Club founders, multiple Elvises/Elviii, a knight of the realm and even a vicar. Here I'm shaking a maraca like everyone else at the Posh Club, Crawley.
24 JUNE 2021
Excited to have four paintings accepted for the "The Absurd" group exhibition from the FUBAR Collective at The Crypt in Brixton (London) in August. The last time I submitted for a group exhibition was like 15 years ago so a good result. The paintings are called "Outdoors", "Genetic Variation", "The Bleak Pointlessness of Zoom Dancing" and "Friend's 12-Year-Old Kid Has Anxiety Dream of Being Chased By Bear on Unicycle in Clown Makeup Trying to Hug Him While Simultaneously Juggling Chainsaws and Evacuating Droppings Disguised as Chocolate Easter Eggs" and all are (evidently) from 2020. I'll post them here once the exhibition is up as well as the exhibition details closer to the time.
13 JUNE 2021
I have had a very short science fiction story about time-travelling called “The Triangles” published by 365Tomorrows today (it feels time-travelling just to type that sentence). You can read it here.
8 JUNE 2021
Hard copies of the excellent Your Impossible Voice - in which my short story "Pseudokhristos" appears - can be purchased here and here. I also have two poems published in Toasted Cheese Literary Journal this month, called "Nikiski Midsummer" and "Smoking", respectively. You can read the poems here! Both relate to the place where I grew up, Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, and both could be classified as "nature poems" (perhaps a welcome change of pace after the experimental agnosto-religious postmodernism of "Pseudokhristos"). The latter addresses the coming of the spruce bark beetle into the area due to global warming. Here's an image my mom photographed yesterday of her backyard complete with a newborn moose calf. But see those trees marked with pink surveyor's tape? Those tall trees of my childhood have been killed by the spruce bark beetle disease and they're all coming down. Moose photograph by Eileen Bryson.
25 APRIL 2021
Exciting to have a new short story "Pseudokhristos" (a satirical sermon for dirty children, shall we say) published in the excellent Your Impossible Voice magazine, which can be read here.
24 APRIL 2021
We had the wonderful experience of having our feature Baked Alaska screen live in New York on 11 April 2021 at the Magikal Charm Experimental Film Festival, which was jam-packed with moving, curious, spooky and gloriously plain weird films. We also had the great honour of being awarded the "In the Spirit of Harry Smith Award", which as an anthropologist I was particularly happy to receive. The Festival Director Paul Ricciardelli called our film "The Thinking Person's Blair Witch Project... A Tour de Force", which was another honour too. Here are some screengrabs of the screening.
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.
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE: MAGIKAL CHARM EXPERIMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL (New York, USA, 2O21)
WORLD PREMIERE: I AM MADNESS/MUSEELAB
(Sablé-sur-Sarthe, France, 2020)
IN THE SPIRIT OF HARRY SMITH AWARD, 2021
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 is the link for the show, which includes the spoken word piece "Sugar Dance" that I wrote and performed. Thank you to all my friends I've danced with through the years from Kenai to Stockholm to Seattle to Long Beach to Portland to London.
4 MARCH 2021
I’m on OCD radio programme with DJ Wax on Wax (a.k.a. DJ Claire Waxler), speaking about evolution and dancing on 13 March 2021 (next week) – a segment called "Movin', Groovin', Evolution".
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