A Sense of Apocalypse: Technology, Textuality, Identity by Marcin Mazurek

By Marcin Mazurek

Attaining into the depths of the collective subconscious, a feeling of Apocalypse explores and re-interprets one of many West’s primordial fears, specifically that of the apocalyptic closure of either cultural praxis and person adventure. but, not like well known connotations of the time period, apocalypse is seen the following when it comes to a transitional narrative finding the topic on the intersection of technological determinism, pop-cultural mind's eye, postmodern urbanism and electronic textuality. a lot of these shape the elements of a brand new post-apocalyptic panorama, which not just produces a brand new id educated by way of dissolving post-Enlightenment paradigms, but additionally inspires tricks at quite a few existential probabilities brought on via late-capitalist applied sciences and their cultural effects.

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Extra resources for A Sense of Apocalypse: Technology, Textuality, Identity (Literary and Cultural Theory)

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Interestingly enough, however, Stephenson’s peculiar body-fashion show takes place in cyberspace—a territory from which the physical body is paradoxically banned by definition unless substituted by its own representation, an empty signifier of one’s desired looks. Stephensonian version of cyberspace, referred to as the Metaverse, turns first into a virtual catwalk and then into a sophisticated battlefield of what Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr. 32 Still, what the privileged position of the image results in, is the necessarily problematised question of the status of the referent, in this case the human subject.

Quite simply, cyberpunk SF, defined by the excessive otherness of the reality it displays, implicitly highlights the inadequacy of those structures which are naturally taken for granted. This, in turn, demonstrates the genre’s apocalyptic potential: having dissolved the old in the act of either ignoring it or depicting its withering, it simultaneously reveals the new—a dramatically rearranged post-apocalyptic alternative. In this sense then, SF becomes the ultimate apocalyptic genre, taking as its departure point the end of all previous structures, whether biological, social or philosophical.

David Cronenberg’s films provide particularly vivid examples of secular apocalypse overtly underlined by bodily anxiety. The body becomes a site of psycho-somatic drama; seduced by the “false prophets” of its own excellence resulting from suddenly acquired additional modes of perception (The Fly (1986), eXistenZ (1999)), the body nevertheless falls into the trap of irreversible mutation resulting in its final annihilation. Tempted by the possibility of eliminating “all concepts of borders and frontiers,” 7 Seth Brundle, the scientist in The Fly, decides to teleport himself through a device of his own construction.

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