Sean Cubitt

Nihilism, Waste and a Dialectics of Hope

Year: 2015

Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,


Goldsmiths, University of London
(at time of presentation)

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Professor Cubitt’s publications include Timeshift: On Video Culture, Videography: Video Media as Art and Culture, Digital Aesthetics, Simulation and Social Theory, The Cinema Effect, EcoMedia and The Practice of Light: A Genealogy of Visual Technologies from Prints to Pixels. He is the series editor for Leonardo Books at MIT Press. Current research is on the history and philosophy of visual technologies, on media art history and on ecocriticism and mediation.


Nihilism, Waste and a Dialectics of Hope (doc)

Slides: Nihilism, Waste and a Dialectics of Hope (pdf)

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This paper discusses two films: Serenity (Joss Whedon, 2005), which terminates a cult TV series crossing western and science fiction genres, and Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006), a quasi-arthouse adaptation from a novel by P.D. James. The  former is a thoroughly US production, the latter a Mexican director shooting in the UK for a US production company. Two dystopian futures are presented with very different narrative arcs: one triumphant, the other muted, sharing a theological tendency, a concern for the ethics of commitment, and an investment in the meanings of hope in bleak circumstances. This talk explores the organization of eschatology in film, enquiring into stylistic and thematic constructions of ethical and political hope.