Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we use, abuse, reuse and recycle the human body in post-apocalypse literature. Often, this topic is something brushed over in favour of more common post-apocalypse themes, whether it be violence, the survival of the fittest, limited resources, war and politics. I am much more interested in the representation of the contemporary body in this literature: creators, creatures, cannibals and corpses.
To continue my analysis of recycling the human body in literature, I want to look at literary creations – building on ideas of the cyborg, science fiction, genetic engineering and scientific discovery.
To continue on from my last post about recycling the human body, I want to give a literary example of cannibalism.
Create a scenario in your mind. The cyber-apocalypse is upon us. A corporation, like Google for example, has taken over the world’s virtual presence. By extension, it has taken over every human being’s presence within that world. What would you do? Submit yourself to the world of social media, enjoy the kind of detached familiarity of being open with the entire world, or seclude yourself, like a refugee, and cut yourself from the world and live in nature and liberty?
What is the link between oil and woman?
This paper examines the nature of visibility and power in Nawal El-Saadawi’s Love in the Kingdom of Oil. Love in the Kingdom of Oil is an intriguing novel about what it means to be unseen and seen. It occurs on two levels: geographically, in terms of the oil that flows uncontrolled across the unnamed landscapes; and socially, commenting on the Middle Eastern attitudes to women in the use of the veil. It is my contention that in this novel, oil and women have one important characteristic in common: they are forced into the realm of the unseen, and that invisibility can both be repressive and the symbol of freedom. More than this, El-Saadawi hints at the fact that one more thing connects oil and woman – the dominance of patriarchy. If the oil industry is a system controlled by patriarchy, it stands to reason that that oil, as an object, is feminine. Oil is objectified and utilised just as women are; on the one hand displayed as a commodity and, on the other, kept from sight: hidden in pipelines and under veils. Using Rob Nixon’s suggestion that the oil industry is an example of the ‘invisibility of slow violence’, I suggest that it is the binary opposition of the visible and the invisible that is the key to the comments El-Saadawi makes on both women and oil.
Paper can be found here: http://www.brill.com/products/book/seen-and-unseen-visual-culture-imperialism
Waste Theory & Discard Studies
Here’s a list of 40 important texts for studying Waste theory or discard studies (ordered by date published):
1. Douglas, M. (1966) Purity and Danger: an analysis of concepts of pollution and taboo. Routledge.
2. Thompson, M. (1979) Rubbish Theory: the creation and destruction of value. Oxford: Oxford University Press
3. Appadurai, A. (1986) The Social life of things: commodities, in cultural perspective.
4. Tanner, T. (1987) Scenes of Nature, Signs of Men. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Or, a sort-of review of Dara Blumenthal’s Little Vast Rooms of Undoing.
We’ve come a long way from the 19th century body snatching. Or have we?
Tonight, I had the pleasure of attending the private preview of the City of Culture’s SKIN exhibition at the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull. This is an event that has been in the works for a long time, and incorporates artwork from Lucian Freud, Ron Mueck and Spencer Tunick.