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Current research

1) The Corridor: Passages in the History of Modernity

For Reaktion Press, I am completing a book that tracks the cultural history of the corridor, from its origins as a new architectural feature in the seventeenth century, through its high point in the public institutions of the nineteenth century, to our profoundly anti-corridic present, where the corridor is frequently a locus of horror and dread. This originally came out of work done on the films The Shining and Alien, both of which feature corridors as major spatial presences. The book is a combination of architectural history, film studies, literature and art history. It should be out in Autumn 2018.

2) The New Dead

I am collecting curious histories of lives lived on in deathly states, from the mummified aristocracy of Egypt, via the Mesmerised, prematurely buried, catatonic and cryogenically frozen, to the embalmed bodies of twentieth century’s key Communist leaders, to the current crisis of medically extended yet minimally conscious lives.  I’m becoming increasingly interested in ‘sleepy sickness’ and its strange, overlooked history. This will lead towards a large project to re-categorise modernity’s continuing obsession with the undead.

3) Science Fiction in the Expanded Field

This is an ongoing project to pull together my interest in looking at different kinds of science fiction that emerge in spaces outside genre texts – mainly in museums, fine art, photography exhibits and found-footage film works – cultural forms that have largely been considered inimical to SF forms. It will include essays on J. G. Ballard & Bruce Conner, William Gibson & Joseph Cornell, on world exposition spaces, fun fairs, and future ruins, on the artists Ivan & Heather Morison, Suzanne Treister, Dolly Thompsett, Mike Kelley, the architect Rem Koolhaas, and the cinema of David Lynch, Chris Marker, Patrick Keiller and Werner Herzog.

4) The Medical Fiction of Arthur Conan Doyle

Edinburgh University Press is currently doing a new multi-volume series of scholarly editions of Conan Doyle under the general editorship of Douglas Kerr, and I’ll be doing an edition of his short story collection, Round the Red Lamp, hopefully for publication in 2019.