Please join us for the first screening of the spring quarter for the “Eco-Horror and the Anthropocene” film series co-sponsored by the Literature & Environment Initiative and the Environmental Humanities Initiative. We will screen Yorgos Lanthimos's The Lobster (2015) next Wednesday, April 26th at 6:00pm in South Hall 2623 (Sankey Room). The Lobster is eco-horror in an allegorical/dystopian form. The film asks, what are the ecological and psychological consequences of the gendered and sexual structures that make up late-capitalist intersubjective practices and compulsory courtship rituals? Following the film please join us for conversation and vegetarian pizzas!
As a part of the Climate Futures theme, 2015-2016, for both UCSB’s Environmental Humanities Initiative (EHI) and UCSB’s Critical Issues in America series, we featured a yearlong film series focused on the “Issues” of climate change. These documentary films centered on four themes: Fossil Fuel Production, Ocean Policy, Species Extinction, and Air Pollution. The spring theme of the series was “Speculative Futures” and explored representations of diverse climate futures that range from apocalyptic-diminished to utopic-novel ecologies of both natural systems and gender, class, and racial politics.
This year's series, “Eco-Horror and the Anthropocene,” continues to build on this program but turn our focus toward the psychological and intersubjective dimensions of global-scale ecological dislocations. According to Bruno Latour, people are ill equipped emotionally and mentally to deal with the scale of environmentally destructive events in the Anthropocene. In response, this year we will trace the ways in which eco-horror has grappled with the terrors of scale, from a classic concern with mutant creatures who teach hubristic humans a lesson about tampering with nature to the contemporary fascination with and dread of nature as an all pervasive, inescapable force that reworks the human body, mind, and community now that we have changed everything by geo-engineering the material world, from the level of the molecule to the atmosphere. Some questions that I hope we will consider this quarter: How do the aesthetic choices within the overlapping horror and sci-fi genres reflect anxieties about the structure of change in society in terms of minds, bodies, and ecologies? How do the figures of eco-horror function as a response to the underlying things already threatening change from within?