BORN: Ottawa, Canada 1977
PROFESSION: Author; Assistant Professor at Western University, Faculty of Information and Media Studies; freelance consultant.
Married, four cats, lives in London, Canada
Institute of Network Cultures
La Molleindustria Blog
The New Inquiry
political news links
(Site update: June 15, 2013)
upcoming conference: july 8-10
On July 8-10: I will be presenting Seed De/Re-Territorialization: Monsanto and Genetic Drift as Deleuzo-Guattarian Capital (6th International Deleuze Conference, Faculty of Science, Lisbon, Portugal). This one is extra exciting because of who else will be there: Giorgio Agamben, Antonio Negri, Rodolphe Gasche, and possibly Fredric Jameson. Wow. It does not get more theory star-studded than that!
The abstract is as follows:
Recent legal disputes involving Monsanto's genetically modified organisms highlight issues of enviro-genetic territory with respect to the effects of gene drift from GM crops to non-GM crops. Although Monsanto prides itself on a Baroque-inspired philosophical outlook where human purpose is to "perfect" nature, and in thus controlling and correcting nature in ways reminiscent of cybernetics, gene drift reterritorializes environmental space in ways that cannot be properly contained, and may suggest a purposive plan on the part of Monsanto to recode the environment according to its own genetic capture and hyper-capitalist flows as united with bioinformatics. This paper will apply Deleuze's and Guattari's insights on the war machine and the apparatus of capture to better position Monsanto's relationship to environmental and genetic territory. This paper will argue that despite any superficial resemblance to rhizomatic spread, Monsanto is engaging in a covert arborescent strategy which attempts to overdetermine environmental and genetic space according to a despotic "corrective" regime under the guise of benevolent utility.
Not only will this prove exciting in rubbing shoulders with D&G giants, but I will also have an opportunity to spend time in a city that is older than London (the one in the UK, not here). As someone who is an advocate for farmers' autonomy, organic food, and biodiversity, my hope is that this will be the first in a series of papers and possible articles critiquing the practices of major GM seed developers from a Deleuzian standpoint.
[Note: since I will be in Lisbon for the entire week, and I do not use Facebook, I will post select images of my travel on its own page]
June 14: book review
I wrote a review of "From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin" by Henry Whittlesey (ed.) on their interesting and procedural method of "transposition" at Sein und Werden. Read about it here.
june 14: ulises mejias' new book
UMinn Press has just released the long-awaited (at least by me and a handful of other geeks) "Off the Network: Disrupting the Digital World" by Ulises Mejias, a scholar and researcher at SUNY Oswego. One of the central questions Mejias asks (and one that my Debordian 2.0 self asks with respect to the tyranny of the social web algorithm) is how can we unthink networks? What are the hegemonic traits of current largely corporate networks that divide and rule over its "nodes" (are we more than just nodes in a network?), and how has this marginalized others, alienating users from what they can do? - there may be a Nietzschean question in there! Anyhow, while the glut of zombie novellas and Victorian romances continue being extruded by the publishing apparatus, Mejias' book has been bumped up on my beach read list. I hope to pen a review once I have finished it.
June 7: consultancy position
I have recently been taken on as an associate consultant for the Toronto consultancy firm, Eco-Ethonomics, which focuses on providing strategic planning, sustainability, organizational development, and social enterprise. Read about what they do here.
JUNE 1: Some advocacy stuff
I recently sent a letter to leaders of all the federal parties outlining my concerns with the proposed changes to the Seeds Act. I received a good reply from the NDP. You can read my letter and their response here. (.doc)
Also, I would urge anyone visiting this site to sign the online petition to save Windsor's Centre for Studies in Social Justice, slated to be shuttered this July. This program not only boasts an amazing pool of talented researchers, but also produces students with the ability to advocate on issues of social justice and labour. You can sign the petition here.
June 1: the Infinite grey released
The final book in my trilogy is now available on Amazon. You can read about it on the infinity page. The publisher, Civil Coping Mechanisms, is currently building the landing page with an excerpt.
This is a "quiet release," which means I have no plans on any book tours, signings, interviews, or any other PR mechanism beyond what my publisher arranges. Marketing the third in a trilogy is a distinct challenge since it favours those who have already been following the first two volumes.
The cover image appears courtesy of Dale Dunning (the sculptor and photographer of the image). Check out his other work at his page, and read about my raves on him and the other excellent artists who have supplied images for the trilogy here.
may 12 - goodreads blogpost: black market books
Image streamed from Ceciliatan.com
Free books... at the expense of indie authors and publishers. Read my post on the matter here.
may 5 - goodreads blogpost: The infinite grey... soon!
What a long strange textual trip it's been. Read some of my reflections on the long lead-up to the final book in my hefty tome-like trilogy here.
april 23 - goodreads blogpost: the art of cover art
image streamed from bazaardesigns.com
Instead of discussing what is between the covers, I give plaudits to the fine practicing artists who supplied the images that appear on the covers themselves. Read about them here.
april 12 - goodreads post: on the trilogy
Violating my own personal rule that authors should not speak about their own work, I do so anyway - but with a bit of cheek, and then veer off into issue-based rambling. Read it here.
April 18: noise matters
I was invited by L.-F. Celine scholar Greg Hainge to give my meandering reflections on his newest book, Noise Matters at 333sound. Why not join in?
Greg has a solid grasp of Deleuze and Guattari in addition to L.F. Celine. He and I co-authored a short paper back in 2010 on Celine and ventriloquism for Etudes Celiniennes.
april 5 - goodreads post: ranking practices
Today I got to rank myself 36 / 36 on number of years I have been post-womb. But what do book rankings mean? What can we learn from them, and what can we not? I weigh in on the popularity metrics and algorithmic nature of book rankings. Read it here.
april 4; two book reviews at western news
Two reviews at Western News: Bipasha Baurah and Terence M. Green.
April 3: western annual author reception
Along with several of my Western colleagues, the Western Bookstore put on a little fete for us. Vice Provost Janice Deakin did the honours of presenting us with awards; esteemed shutterbug Lotte Huxley snapped the occasion; President Amit Chakma dropped by; and I had some very lovely conversations with some very talented Western writers.
march 29 - goodreads post: goodreads + amazon = ?
image streamed from forbes.com
If Amazon cannot buy out its competition, it can surely edge them out. The recent news of Amazon's desire to purchase the reader network Goodreads may change the very nature of the site. Read about some of my best guesses of what those changes might be here.
march 27: thumbstruck: the semiotics of liking via the phaticon
I had an academic article published in the newly refurbished, online-only, open-source journal, Semiotic Review (formerly The Semiotic Review of Books). What's it about? Digital thumbs, of course! (This piece should not be confused with a more gen-audience piece I wrote many years ago on the "thumbstruck generation").
This article will be an early attempt to ground the ubiquitous icon of the “thumb” present on several SNSs and online comment fora in both semiotic and semantic registers. The digital convention of making use of the thumb must first be clarified in terms of its status as either icon, index, or symbol, and furthermore what role it plays in human-computer interaction (HCI), gamification of SNSs, digital gesturality, and the inherent mechanisms of arithmomania that guide approbation in the command and control environments of computer-mediated communication (CMC) that rely on prompting to guide online behaviour. In addition, we might ask if the thumb functions as part of the currency in online social capital accumulation and social transactionalism.
Read it here.