This is a magazine that plays with the push/pull characteristics of the Web. We're writing, investigating, analysing, critiquing the meeting of media and culture. These are large concepts: we're working through the various refractive powers that media forms have on culture. Perceiving through a particular medium mediates the way in which we conceptualise the world; the approach we take to the transnational, nation, state, city, suburb, neighbourhood, etc. We are, of course, aware that any particular medium does not overdetermine actions in some transparent McLuhanesque way; rather we're working through the cultural power of media forms to conceptualise and to organise (or disorganise) our world-views.
Naturally, we're operating from a place and space within these debates about the organisation of culture. This journal is arising from an institution within an institution, and thus is informed by certain approaches. It is an initiative of the Media and Cultural Studies Centre, a research unit in the Department of English at the University of Queensland, Australia. Although who writes for the journal may change, it is starting from a history of cultural studies, a postgraduate subject entitled "New Media Culture", and students and staff who are genuinely interested in embarking upon critical analyses of media and culture. You'll notice patterns in the writing, then, that indicate these origins to the cognoscenti.
Each issue is organised around a theme. The first issue's theme is particularly appropriate for a birthing process, and the move from the apparent simplicity of beginnings to the complexity of sustaining life. We're looking at the concept of "New", and we're approaching it from a variety of angles and avenues. Most of the essays are short interventions. One essay for each issue will engage with the concept for a little bit longer.
A couple of warning notes may be necessary for your first read. The journal has a slash in the title, which may be just another graphic pirouette, or it may be some awkward bow to the Internet aesthetic of cursors and schizophrenia. Without grounding its meaning (the dance of meaning is important to us) the slash "/" is to highlight that this is a crossover journal between the popular and the academic. It is attempting to engage with the 'popular', and integrate the work of 'scholarship' in media and cultural studies into our critical work. We take seriously the need to move ideas outward, so that our cultural debates may have some resonance with wider political and cultural interests.
Also, in the interests of pulling, we want response and replies. Each issue will be followed in some way by a responding issue that integrates the variety of interventions received. Jump in. Yes, we have provided a pattern, but feel free to respond to our pattern. You can even respond by submitting for future issues. Of course, you can decide not to respond to us; but if you find something useful acknowledge us and provide links to our work -- we'll provide the same courtesy for what intrigues us. It is the courtesy of the gift of information, which through a slash becomes a form of knowledge.
It's tempting to conclude with something that derives from the pure pop of television: "Engage" -- but we wouldn't do that. You make the links.