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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Some thoughts on WALL-E


            I can’t remember when I first saw WALL-E, but I definitely was under the age of 16. Rewatching it now, as a twenty-two year old student, I have realized what an ecological marvel it is; I was pointed to re-watch it in part by a brief analysis in Timothy Morton’s The Ecological Thought.
            I was struck by the overwhelming scale artificial objects were given; everything is gargantuan, such as the ship the Axiom, that blocks out the sky and is filled with unknowningly complex interior workings. Importantly, many giant things are defunct, and simply rubbish. A huge ‘Buy n Large Ultrastore’ sprawls in the urban wasteland, no longer used; enormous freighters are lined up in a row, rusting away and useless.
Most noticeably of all, the amount of waste rampant in the defunct planet is paradoxically larger than the environment it exists in, even in the compacted towers that WALL-E (and supposedly his deceased comrades) worked to turn it into. How can there be more waste than… well, anything else? We find this question crop up again later onboard the Axiom, where WALL-E is trapped in the waste disposal zone. Here, two giant robots work compacting the eternal stream of rubbish thrown into their compartment. Why would a ship with the purpose of conserving human life be so inefficient as to create so much waste?

Interestingly, the robots compacting waste on the Axiom are simply larger versions of WALL-E, suggesting that instead of solving the issue that has apparently followed humans onto the ship (i.e. over-consumption, wasteful lifestyles) humanity has simply upgraded the solution that was there, not necessarily solving anything, but with all the appearance of productivity.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Hungry


Just a little idea I had for a silly, sci-fi conversation, inspired in part by this piece: http://www.terrybisson.com/page6/page6.html

“Are you busy?”

“A little, just picking flesh out of my teeth. Do come in though.”

“thank you, I just wanted to go over a few things about the little place we found with all the food.”

“Well you’ll have to be more specific than that. The purple one?”

“No- the green and blue one.”

“Ah yes, that one. Interesting little thing…”

“Yes, well we went and spoke with the food, and I thought you’d be interested by the finds. For a start, they’re not too different to us, they have to eat-“

“They’re all-eaters too! Finally, I couldn’t even attempt to understand the culture on that light-feeding place- I think that was the purple one…”

“No, no, they don’t eat all. It seems that there is one species that eats a lot of the others; they raise them and put them through killing factories and package their flesh and send them off all over the place. But they don’t eat each other.”

“Really?”

“Yes, but oddly enough eating is still hugely important; this species’ world is divided up into ‘eats a lot,’ ‘eats just enough,’ ‘eats very little’ and ‘barely eats.’”

“Well, that seems rather pointless. Why doesn't ‘eats a lot’ just eat the rest? Or why doesn’t ‘barely eats’ satiate their hunger and get themselves a bite of 'eats a lot'?”

“I’m not so sure. Having said that, in our initial tests they reacted strongly when we did the natural thing and ate one of them.”

“Huh! How odd. What did it…?”

“Bad. Quite exceptionally bad.”

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Essay Period Thoughts: Entries Portal


In an attempt to extract trains of thought that would distract me from attempting to write three coherent essays, I have been writing them down in short entries focussed around one idea or thought. I write them first in pencil, the papers hidden behind my study notes, then later type up and slap up here.
This post is to function as a portal to whichever entry you think sounds the most interesting, to save you trudging through the long and short of my blatherings. Please browse the titles of the paragraphs within each entry and click the title of whichever entry you prefer to follow on to that post.

First Entry:
1. Manifesto to Shit in the Woods
2. Surprise with Being
Second Entry:
3. Where's my Fur?
Third Entry:
4. On Glancing at moving strangers
5. On walking in the woods (where are they?)
Fourth Entry:
6. On being Nice/ Not Being Mean
Fifth Entry:
7. Permeable Borders & Political Microorganisms

Essay Period Thoughts: Attempts to Keep Sane 5


8.05.2017
7. PERMEABLE BORDERS & POLITICAL MICROORGANISMS

            Who drew the first border? Better question: why? Perhaps clan borders were drawn on ‘biological’ terms; family ties, whose blood runs in whose veins, the claimant and protection of people-as-property (vessels for labour, breeding.) This seems deeply silly to me, although I know that many organisations persist in seeing borders as drawn on grounds of race. All biology persists in showing borders and membranes as totally imperfect and necessarily penetrable; our body is as much reliant on the non-human bacteria and microorganisms that dwell within us as on the food, air and water we must also drag into ourselves. Perhaps it was thus the imaginary narratives we create to territorialize space that has spawned the myth of the border as perfect seal. One has just to look across a map to see the wealth of permeated membranes supposedly dividing nations. Between Uganda and Rwanda, the border disappears into forest where many pass from one nation to another; the Kaliningrad Oblast sits between Poland and Lithuania, detached from Greater Russia like a replicating bacteria; various blobs and fissures scuffle up the Spanish- French border, requiring exhaustive and boring bureaucratic debate to clarify who’s a what and why. Borders are even more laudable if you try and explain them to animals. Why should a wolf care about the Finnish-Russian border when there is forest, snow and prey either side? Why would a critically-endangered mountain gorilla care that it is specifically ‘Ugandan’?