1505 – Vivarium (2020)

Director: Lorcan Finnegan

Lorcan Finnegan, an irish director is making quite a name for himself with such new and singular horrors as Without Name and his debut short Foxes.

“A young couple looking for the perfect home find themselves trapped in a mysterious labyrinth-like neighborhood of identical houses.”

Reviewers have been seeing the horror of domesticity, suburbia etc I will go another route allude to by friend Ion Dumitrescu “the home-grown alien”. I will also try to go into a more biological, even address the Neo-Darwinist frame. As such again, I am not trying to interpret, to tease out the various layers or let alone do a synopsis, analysis, but explore ideas, tendencies and directions where the Vivarium movie points at without any explicit references.

  1. One would be to see how this movie fares in the post Covid-19 era, or how somebody already called it the BC and AC, Before Covid and After. Inside the ‘safe’ environment one is a (reproductive) reproducing target of societal mores, demographic fears & cultural conventions – at de same time the larger West (including Japan with loneliness on the increase) growing more & more oblivious to its aging & still vulnerable population, most of the care work done by invisible, robotic & imported others (especially from eastern Europe, Philippines but not only). Full surrogacy for all indeed, still surrogacy is still reserved for privileged few. Also this surrogacy seems to to be built on the most exposed to abuse, disenfranchised, most exploitable of grounds. The alien (virus) is kept outside while also keeping ones fears indoors, risking to become trapped into all sorts of OC behaviors and subroutines. There is a strong peformative power to Vivarium, the living is being played, the whole family is but a facade a stage play of caring & nurturing, in fact the nuclear family risks is becoming serialized, and each time of the day seems to get lost inside other same gestures, repeated tooth brush and morning rituals.
  2. Vivarium is also about the lack of an outside, but only because the inside has been invaded, taken over completely and subverted by the outside. There is an incredible knot, where one lets in exactly what one does not want to. There have been always changeling creatures, entities that have switched children, that have swapped theirs for yours, within most fairy ((f)eerie) tale traditions (Irish, Scottish etc one especially I am pretty sure) and also within the classical Romantic canon the Erlkönig from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe poem steals the children or condemns them to an early grave. There is always the dark possibility that you are raising such a Wechselbalg being that ties in with subsistence farming and infanticide as A L Ashliman has been recording. The new gloss sa that child is only a way to be hooked into chains of debt & credit card ownership right after birth & ways to affect parent purchase patterns (see below).
  3. The obvious references to Darwinist dark vitalism, cuckoos nesting habits early on is great. Cost benefit calculations have applied assiduously to biology and now have finally managed to cast offspring as parasitic, as utterly alien bodies both in the sense that the child is really competing for resources with the mother in the womb, but also from the pop science perspective of the “Selfish gene” replicator 80s stemming from R Dawkins. They are also utterly alien in the sense of being something else, with a language of their own, brain patterns, Net literacy even to their millennial parents not only their Boomer grandparents. The dream of helicopter parents breeds merciless if not only successful little competitors.

4. Capital as a real estate agent with a human face, as the ultimate alien parasite is using human caretakers so it can replicate itself, but only if it can maintain its integrity and mission to sell even more of its own. Only if it can learn to pretend it is human, to be able to find its next host, and only if it can maintain low mutation rates and keep redistributing the same encapsulated, self-contained creepy clean dream worlds, the same maze of pristine hoods and home ownership plans.

5. Enclosure of the commons has been a clear trademark of modernity, jump-starting the Industrial Revolution. The important thing is that it does not matter that the inhuman other breaks trough, that it is always showing & covering reality up the horizon. At the same time this normie uniformity has to be understood at another level that thethe suburbia model of the Fordist production line does not cover. Now the real uniformity does not lie anymore in the standardized units but in the standard of being sold and serialized difference, more of the same kind of newness, of showing one can avoid this 50s model that has been in a steady disrepute since both insider reactionaagainst company men & 60s counterculture has weirded it out and infused the mainstream with a steady stream of ready made otherness and non- similarity which in itself is neither good nor bad in itself but has come to signify stasis.

6. Same time, children have taken center stage in capitalism, the commodification of childhood has made them the principal port where the new desires, fears and commercial pressures jack in. Once you get to the children, the road is free to their parents pocket. Again not trying to pasre over, over interpret or look into what’s not there only trying to see why the movie is revealing in our current predicament.

7. What an incredible contrast between thus Vivarium (Mortuarium?), its closed systems (all food is introduced miraculously via outside delivery fro an unknown elsewhere – a pun on food home delivery/increasing Amazonification) and the self sufficiency of eco-technological Biospherics. One has to consider this contrast of two encapsulated models of living with pink self identic clouds(cloud computing?) – one that recreates (and reproduces) the desertification of the real (to take a Baudrillard phrase) a timeless unsustainable lifestyle, the earthly 50s golden age, by the way one that has been preserved even in the Scientological paradise myth & the search for a new possible life that takes into account all tbe synergistic & newly formed & evolving relationships within closed systems potentially on other planets and settlements elsewhere. One interesting absence are computers, desktops, thr internet per se even mobile phones are somehow absent, muted and only pre internet TV ëerieness is the favored medium.

imdb

1504 – UFOria (1985)

Director: John Binder

An incredible comedy movie that is available online, even if in a trashy VHS rip version – the medium perfectly fits the content. With some great actors such as late great Harry Dean Stanton, a phenomenal Cindy Williams and and incredibly likable macho-drifter Fred Ward.

Don’t know about you but I find this trashy cult movie a revelation in many senses. First it depicts the whole playa of fringe culture, high weirdness and faith hybridization, after the whole 1970s drift of the counterculture waking up in the midst of Reagan era (movie was finished in 1981 but released in 1985). Take it as a goofy, zany heart felt retro comedy, and it is still ok. It also combines the most unlikely bed fellows in an alternate reality US, almost as if the local mid west hicks would finally join the Rajneesh commune. The line is so blurry thats we can see all the shifts, radical possibilities & liabilities of charisma. Or it makes one consider an even more radical possibility, that an agnostic even cynical car smuggling atheist might lend himself to a mad and bumpy vision quest. By the 70s various subcultures, be it activist or hippie Fists or Heads had been intermingling or fusing as thr the term ‘freak’ started being used both by anti-drug Jesus Freaks or by hybrid experimenting /performative eco-technical living such as the Synergia commune and its later outpost Biosphere 2 (also in asemi desert setting).

What I like most is how the whole phenomenology of faith healers, quacks, abductee, miracle peddlers of the worst kind is being tackled. In a comic, parodic, screwball comedy, utterly unsophisticated way it gives credence to the whole Ufological transcendent drive. Ufo cults are easy to dismiss or to ridicule, but this movie takes it into another plane. It shows what is the genuine core behind it, its modern importance and the way it has incorporated so many other, older and more orthodox apparently outlooks (Jesus is an Alien) abducting them into outer space. They are basically a living phenomenon mapping out a new territory of contact and extra planetary revelation out of a very terrestrial setting. It has abducted & taken common feelings into a different dimension, while becoming such a waste basket hodge podge of bizarre witnessings from the most unexpected quarters, age groups and backgrounds. It also almost shows the glimpses of a rich quantum foam and sleeze that gave birth to the Burning Man and all the other desert happenings. To be sure the 2012 Mayan calendar was on, Terence and Dennis McKenna already launched their eschatological visions into the 80s America.

It is also a great example of James Williams approach on faith, and his experiential, interior lived contact, his still valuable take on extreme religious vision quests and nearly psychotic episodes. While non-dissmissive, it is one of the most irreverent movies in regard to all sorts of beliefs, even the most sincere one while it keeps an open mind, it never shows any preferences and always regards traditions as multiform and shape-shifting, often hype oriented and capital driven in the form of revivals and charismatic churches that pick on the newest trend or the most outrageous message. It also shows how much one is not in control, but under the spell or open to an outside that is mediated by the most unlikely messengers, hitchhiking the most bland or unspectacular of carriers & transmitters, even if that outside is constantly being subsumed into capitalism, circuits of profit and consumption, always fragile & liable to became the next attraction and the next way to bring a quick buck on the back of gullible congregations that are always never quite so lost or gullible. It shows what it might mean to be stranded in the universe’s backyard, washed out on the cosmic shore.

imdb

1503 – Devs (TV mini-series 2020 – )

Director: Alex Garland

“A computer engineer investigates the secretive development division in her company, which she believes is behind the disappearance of her boyfriend.”

Alex Garland that left quite an indelible mark with his Annihilation and Ex Machina is now back with a Hulu (FX on Hulu) series largely about quantum computing, the fabric of reality, alternate history, Silicon Valley, affects and technology. It is also true that this base realty of the Silicon Valley has somehow (at least BC/ Before Corona) come to crowd out every other reality. I want to briefly highlight what struck me most about the series, it is a very mysterious, vague, eerie episodes that play with non linearity and temporal paradoxes, so a plot-line synopsis will completely miss the mark. I am also thankful that it avoids all the boring old determinsm-non determinism discussions and all the free will dead alleys. What is more important is what is left unsaid, or where one can extend and speculate with and around this series. It looks and feels in a certain way, which is definitely a lack in most your run-of-the-mill Sci-fi’s. The closest I can think of is the wonderful noir Cold War Sci-fi 1973 World on a Wire by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. In my mind it almost picks up where the other one left.

Devs could be all matter of things, I had good friends who recommended the series (big thx to that) speculating about the title of it even, so I am not gonna continue that venue here. Also no major spoilers I hope.

  1. It is first I think a quant (?!) entrepreneur space, before it is a quantum computing space hosting the ideas and the very hermetic, secretive environment where the possibilities of quantum computing are slowly emerging as the each episode slowly. It is almost a chosen self-image of West Coast Institutes and Tech Giants. But instead of lofty, Alphabet (Google) AI golems, it’s rather the particular circumstance – it is animated by intimate loss close to home. I can see that it is inspired and could in its turn inspire (fictional?) the design of future enterprises. It also illustrates the quasi- sacral character of such a re-search lab, the secretive self-absorbed atmosphere, where the toughest and most brutal number crunching meets contemporary art meets gnostic ideals, where each level of access or mystery is approached with kabbalistic reverence mixed in with the most vulgar, violent and bloody means.
  1. It incorporates what Eric Davis (Techgnosis) and others have highlighted, when recognizing that such secular Institutes and limited access facilities exude an almost monastic air, and the more lowly or titillating and profane its actual results, aims or content, the more it speaks to us in tongues. It also speaks of the banality of access & time travel, of surfing history, of prying into the wounds of the past. Its stark, minimalist, highly aesthetic look is a statement of the whole rapture of the nerds maybe. It might be repulsive, sterile but it is what it is, it is made in the image of its maker. And the maker needs to inhabit this floating, suspended fractal golden cube. At the same time this detachment from the lowly, from matter, even its dealing with bodies that are burned, suffocated, drowned speaks about a certain fury applied, a violence suffered and thrown at the flesh it needs to instantiate in order to surpass. It is almost as if bodies have to be martyred in order to achieve any measure of earthly detachment or technological success.

2. Same time there is some incredible almost melodic, tonal interplay of sentiments, they are not just attachments for the audience to approach such a difficult subject, in fact one can feel how these affects that seem almost autonomous, a shadowplay of research into abstruse knowledge. Affects intervene, subtend & promote actions, also interfere, flash forward, move around and lead the whole highly abstract endeavor. What I like is its lack of theoretization, its sub theorizing. Of one needs further metaphysical trajectories one cam search it elsewhere. Devs is almost a key illustration of Rani Lill Anjum and Stephen Mumford have (in more philosophical terms) boldly posited in their path breaking 2018 book – a third modality (“dispositional modality” DM) or tendency, beside the other two – necessity and possibility.

Weird naturalism (to pick on another term employed by E Davis) or weird aesthetics (to use Steven Shaviro’s phrase) is full of such vague incentives, a lure that leads nowhere or to something else, where the affective drive breaks loose, ways in which theyaare effective not only as anchor points of personal history or quest but as oscillating, flipping over constantly into impossible reaches and improbable planes, madness and make believe, false leads and unfinished plans. The most normal, the most homely feels made up in a way that the candy and endearing 1990s schematic VR, especially in movies and musivc videos never made the real feel. It maybe started then, but now every vintage furniture or lighting feels artificial, highly composed and rendered (not surreal in the old sense) but nevertheless compelling and etherReal.

imdb / science fact or science fiction

1502 – Bloodshot (2020)

MV5BYjA5YjA2YjUtMGRlNi00ZTU4LThhZmMtNDc0OTg4ZWExZjI3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjUyNjI3NzU@._V1_SY1000_SX800_AL_Bloodshot is a 2020 American superhero film based on the Valiant Comics character of the same name. It is intended to be the first installment in a series of films set within a Valiant Comics shared cinematic universe. Directed by David S. F. Wilson (in his feature directorial debut), the film stars Vin DieselEiza GonzálezSam HeughanToby Kebbell, and Guy Pearce. It follows a Marine who was killed in action, only to be brought back to life with superpowers by an organization that wants to use him as a weapon. (wiki)

imdb   /  future

1501- more books on Plague Studies, Quarantines, Paleopatholgy, Pandemic Imaginary, Biopolitics, Socialist Medicine, Epidemic Villains

Title: Justinian’s Flea: The First Great Plague and the End of the Roman Empire

Year: 2008

Author: William Rosen

Goodreads

A richly told story of the collision between nature’s smallest organism and history’s mightiest empire

The Emperor Justinian reunified Rome’s fractured empire by defeating the Goths and Vandals who had separated Italy, Spain, and North Africa from imperial rule. In his capital at Constantinople he built the world’s most beautiful building, married its most powerful empress, and wrote its most enduring legal code, seemingly restoring Rome’s fortunes for the next five hundred years. Then, in the summer of 542, he encountered a flea. The ensuing outbreak of bubonic plague killed five thousand people a day in Constantinople and nearly killed Justinian himself.

In Justinian’s Flea, William Rosen tells the story of history’s first pandemic—a plague seven centuries before the Black Death that killed tens of millions, devastated the empires of Persia and Rome, left a path of victims from Ireland to Iraq, and opened the way for the armies of Islam. Weaving together evolutionary microbiology, economics, military strategy, ecology, and ancient and modern medicine, Rosen offers a sweeping narrative of one of the great hinge moments in history, one that will appeal to readers of John Kelly’s The Great Mortality, John Barry’s The Great Influenza, and Jared Diamond’s Collapse.

Title: Cultures of Plague: Medical thinking at the end of the Renaissance

Year: 2009

Author: Samuel K. Cohn, Jr.

Goodreads

Cultures of Plague discloses a new chapter in the history of medicine. Neither the plague nor the ideas it stimulated were static, fixed in a timeless Galenic vacuum over five centuries, as historians and scientists commonly assume. As plague evolved in its pathology, modes of transmission, and the social characteristics of its victims, so did medical thinking about it.

With over 600 plague imprints of the sixteenth century this study highlights the century’s most feared and devastating epidemic that threatened Italy top to toe from 1575 to 1578, unleashing an avalanche of plague writing. From erudite definitions, remote causes, cures and recipes, physicians now directed their plague writings to the prince and discovered their most ‘valiant remedies’ in public health: strict segregation of the healthy and ill, cleaning streets, latrines, and addressing the long‐term causes of plague—poverty. Those outside the medical profession joined the chorus. Relying on health board statistics and dramatized with eyewitness descriptions of bizarre happenings, human misery, and suffering, they created the structure for the plague classics of the eighteenth century and by tracking the contagion’s complex and crooked paths anticipated trends of nineteenth‐century epidemiology.

In the heartland of Counter‐Reformation Italy, physicians, along with those outside the profession, questioned the foundations of Galenic and Renaissance medicine, even the role of God. Such developments did not need to await the Protestant‐Paracelsian alliance of seventeenth‐century northern Europe. Instead, creative forces planted by the pandemic of 1575–8 sowed seeds of doubt and unveiled new concerns and ideas within that supposedly most conservative form of medical writing, the plague tract.


Title: Plague and the Athenian Imagination: Drama, History, and the Cult of Asclepius

Year: 2007

Author: Robin Mitchell-Boyask

Goodreads

The great plague of Athens that began in 430 BCE had an enormous effect on the imagination of its literary artists & on the social imagination of the city as a whole. In this 2007 book, Prof. Mitchell-Boyask studies the impact of the plague on Athenian tragedy early in the 420s & argues for a significant relationship between drama & the development of the cult of the healing god Asclepius in the next decade, during a period of war & increasing civic strife. The Athenian decision to locate their temple for Asclepius adjacent to the Theater of Dionysus arose from deeper associations between drama, healing & the polis that were engaged actively by the crisis of the plague. The book also considers the representation of the plague in Thucydides’ History as well as the metaphors generated by that representation which recur later in the same work. 

Title: The Great Plague: The Story of London’s Most Deadly Year

Year: 2006

Author: A. Lloyd Moote and Dorothy C. Moote

Goodreads

In the winter of 1664-65, a bitter cold descended on London in the days before Christmas. Above the city, an unusually bright comet traced an arc in the sky, exciting much comment and portending “horrible windes and tempests.” And in the remote, squalid precinct of St. Giles-in-the-Fields outside the city wall, Goodwoman Phillips was pronounced dead of the plague. Her house was locked up and the phrase “Lord Have Mercy On Us” was painted on the door in red. By the following Christmas, the pathogen that had felled Goodwoman Phillips would go on to kill nearly 100,000 people living in and around London—almost a third of those who did not flee. This epidemic had a devastating effect on the city’s economy and social fabric, as well as on those who lived through it. Yet somehow the city continued to function and the activities of daily life went on.

In The Great Plague, historian A. Lloyd Moote and microbiologist Dorothy C. Moote provide an engrossing and deeply informed account of this cataclysmic plague year. At once sweeping and intimate, their narrative takes readers from the palaces of the city’s wealthiest citizens to the slums that housed the vast majority of London’s inhabitants to the surrounding countryside with those who fled. The Mootes reveal that, even at the height of the plague, the city did not descend into chaos. Doctors, apothecaries, surgeons, and clergy remained in the city to care for the sick; parish and city officials confronted the crisis with all the legal tools at their disposal; and commerce continued even as businesses shut down.

To portray life and death in and around London, the authors focus on the experiences of nine individuals—among them an apothecary serving a poor suburb, the rector of the city’s wealthiest parish, a successful silk merchant who was also a city alderman, a country gentleman, and famous diarist Samuel Pepys. Through letters and diaries, the Mootes offer fresh interpretations of key issues in the history of the Great Plague: how different communities understood and experienced the disease; how medical, religious, and government bodies reacted; how well the social order held together; the economic and moral dilemmas people faced when debating whether to flee the city; and the nature of the material, social, and spiritual resources sustaining those who remained.

Underscoring the human dimensions of the epidemic, Lloyd and Dorothy Moote dramatically recast the history of the Great Plague and offer a masterful portrait of a city and its inhabitants besieged by—and defiantly resisting—unimaginable horror.


Title: Plague and the End of Antiquity : The Pandemic of 541-750

Year: 2007

Author: Lester K. Little (Editor)

Free book

Plague was a key factor in the waning of Antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Eight centuries before the Black Death, a pandemic of plague engulfed the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and eventually extended as far east as Persia and as far north as the British Isles. Its persisted sporadically from 541 to 750, the same period that witnessed the distinctive shaping of the Byzantine Empire, a new prominence of the Roman papacy and of monasticism, the beginnings of Islam and the meteoric expansion of the Arabic Empire, the ascent of the Carolingian dynasty in Frankish Gaul and, not coincidentally, the beginnings of a positive work ethic in the Latin West.

In this volume, the first on the subject, twelve scholars from a variety of disciplines history, archaeology, epidemiology, and molecular biology have produced a comprehensive account of the pandemics origins, spread, and mortality, as well as its economic, social, political, and religious effects.

The historians examine written sources in a range of languages, including Arabic, Syriac, Greek, Latin, and Old Irish. Archaeologists analyze burial pits, abandoned villages, and aborted building projects. The epidemiologists use the written sources to track the disease s means and speed of transmission, the mix of vulnerability and resistance it encountered, and the patterns of reappearence over time. Finally, molecular biologists, newcomers to this kind of investigation, have become pioneers of paleopathology, seeking ways to identity pathogens in human remains from the remote past.”

Title: Bring Out Your Dead: The Great Plague of Yellow Fever in Philadelphia in 1793

Year: 1993

Author: J H Powell

Goodreads

n 1793 a disastrous plague of yellow fever paralyzed Philadelphia, killing thousands of residents and bringing the nation’s capital city to a standstill. In this psychological portrait of a city in terror, J. H. Powell presents a penetrating study of human nature revealing itself. Bring Out Your Dead is an absorbing account, form the original sources, of an infamous tragedy that left its mark on all it touched.

Title: Bubonic Plague in Early Modern Russia: Public Health and Urban Disaster

Year: 2002

Author: John T. Alexander

Goodreads

John T. Alexander’s study dramatically highlights how the Russian people reacted to the Plague, and shows how the tools of modern epidemiology can illuminate the causes of the plague’s tragic course through Russia. Bubonic Plauge in Early Modern Russia makes contributions to many aspects of Russian and European history: social, economic, medical, urban, demographic, and meterological. It is particularly enlightening in its discussion of eighteenth-century Russia’s emergent medical profession and public health institutions and, overall, should interest scholars in its use of abundant new primary source material from Soviet, German, and British archives.

Title: A Time to Dance, a Time to Die: The Extraordinary Story of the Dancing Plague of 1518

Year: 2009

Author: John Waller

Goodreads

n the searing July heat of 1518, Frau Troffea stepped into the streets of Strasbourg and began to dance. Bathed in sweat, she continued to dance. Overcome with exhaustion, she stopped, and then resumed her solitary jig a few hours later. Over the next two months, roughly four hundred people succumbed to the same agonizing compulsion. At its peak, the epidemic claimed the lives of fifteen men, women, and children a day. Possibly 100 people danced to their deaths in one of the most bizarre and terrifying plagues in history.

John Waller compellingly evokes the sights, sounds, and aromas; the diseases and hardships; the fervent supernaturalism and the desperate hedonism of the late medieval world. Based on new evidence, he explains why the plague occurred and how it came to an end. In doing so, he sheds light on the strangest capabilities of the human mind and on our own susceptibility to mass hysteria.

Title: Farewell to the God of Plague: Chairman Mao’s Campaign to Deworm China

Year: 2016

Author: Miriam Gross

Farewell to the God of Plague reassesses the celebrated Maoist health care model through the lens of Mao’s famous campaign against snail fever. Using newly available archives, Miriam Gross documents how economic, political, and cultural realities led to grassroots resistance.

Nonetheless, the campaign triumphed, but not because of its touted mass-prevention campaign. Instead, success came from its unacknowledged treatment arm, carried out jointly by banished urban doctors and rural educated youth. More broadly, the author reconsiders the relationship between science and political control during the ostensibly antiscientific Maoist era, discovering the important role of “grassroots science” in regime legitimation and Party control in rural areas.

Title: THE UNTOLD STORY OF YELLOW FEVER, THE EPIDEMIC THAT SHAPED OUR HISTORY

Year: 2006

Author: Molly Caldwell Crosby

Goodreads

Slave ships brought it to America as far back as 1648-and over the centuries, yellow fever epidemics plagued the United States. Carried along the mighty Mississippi River, it ravaged towns from New Orleans to St. Louis. New York City lost 2,000 lives in one year alone. It even forced the nation’s capital to relocate from Philadelphia to Washington, DC.
“The American Plague” reveals the true story of yellow fever, recounting Memphis, Tennessee’s near-destruction and resurrection from the epidemic-and the four men who changed medical history with their battle against an invisible foe that remains a threat to this very day.

Title: Ethnographic Plague: Configuring Disease on the Chinese-Russian Frontier

Year: 2016

Author: Christos Lynteris

Goodreads

Challenging the concept that since the discovery of the plague bacillus in 1894 the study of the disease was dominated by bacteriology, Ethnographic Plague argues for the role of ethnography as a vital contributor to the configuration of plague at the turn of the nineteenth century. With a focus on research on the Chinese-Russian frontier, where a series of pneumonic plague epidemics shook the Chinese, Russian and Japanese Empires, this book examines how native Mongols and Buryats came to be understood as holding a traditional knowledge of the disease.

Exploring the forging and consequences of this alluring theory, this book seeks to understand medical fascination with culture, so as to underline the limitations of the employment of the latter as an explanatory category in the context of infectious disease epidemics, such as the recent SARS and Ebola outbreaks.

Title: Legacies of Plague in Literature, Theory and Film

Year: 2009

Author: Jennifer Cooke

Goodreads

This book is an account of the history and continuation of plague as a potent metaphor since the disease ceased to be an epidemic threat in Western Europe, engaging with twentieth-century critiques of fascism, anti-Semitic rhetoric, the Oedipal legacy of psychoanalysis and its reception, and film spectatorship and the zombie genre.

Title: Framing Animals as Epidemic Villains: Histories of Non-Human Disease Vectors

Year: 2019

Christos Lynteris (Editor)

Goodreads

This book takes a historical and anthropological approach to understanding how non-human hosts and vectors of diseases are understood, at a time when emerging infectious diseases are one of the central concerns of global health. The volume critically examines the ways in which animals have come to be framed as ‘epidemic villains’ since the turn of the nineteenth century.

Providing epistemological and social histories of non-human epidemic blame, as well as ethnographic perspectives on its recent manifestations, the essays explore this cornerstone of modern epidemiology and public health alongside its continuing importance in today’s world. Covering diverse regions, the book argues that framing animals as spreaders and reservoirs of infectious diseases – from plague to rabies to Ebola – is an integral aspect not only to scientific breakthroughs but also to the ideological and biopolitical apparatus of modern medicine. As the first book to consider the impact of the image of non-human disease hosts and vectors on medicine and public health, it offers a major contribution to our understanding of human-animal interaction under the shadow of global epidemic threat.

Title: Human Extinction and the Pandemic Imaginary

Year: 2019

Author: Christos Lynteris

Goodreads

This book develops an examination and critique of human extinction as a result of the ‘next pandemic’ and turns attention towards the role of pandemic catastrophe in the renegotiation of what it means to be human. Nested in debates in anthropology, philosophy, social theory and global health, the book argues that fear of and fascination with the ‘next pandemic’ stem not so much from an anticipation of a biological extinction of the human species, as from an expectation of the loss of mastery over human/non-human relations.

Christos Lynteris employs the notion of the ‘pandemic imaginary’ in order to understand the way in which pandemic-borne human extinction refashions our understanding of humanity and its place in the world. The book challenges us to think how cosmological, aesthetic, ontological and political aspects of pandemic catastrophe are intertwined. The chapters examine the vital entanglement of epidemiological studies, popular culture, modes of scientific visualisation, and pandemic preparedness campaigns. This volume will be relevant for scholars and advanced students of anthropology as well as global health, and for many others interested in catastrophe, the ‘end of the world’ and the (post)apocalyptic. 

Title: The Spirit of Selflessness in Maoist China: Socialist Medicine and the New Man

Year: 2013

Author: Christos Lynteris

Goodreads

Assuming power in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party was faced with a crucial problem: how to construct the socialist ‘New Man’? On the one hand, led by Liu Shaoqi, the proponents of the technocracy advocated self-cultivation. Led by Mao Zedong, their opponents advocated the exact opposite technique: the abolition of the self and the institution of a mass subjectivity.

Examining this conflict through the analytical lens of Foucault’s ‘technologies of the self’ and in relation to biopolitics, the book explores how the battle for the self in Maoist China revolved around the interpretation of the ‘spirit of selflessness’ as embodied by the heroic Canadian doctor, Norman Bethune, who lost his life as a volunteer doctor of the Red Army. The book narrates how, called to embody this selfless spirit, medical doctors were trapped in a spiral between cultivation and abolition, leading to the explosion of ideology during the Cultural Revolution.

Title: Plague, Quarantine and Geopolitcs in the Ottoman Empire

Year: 2012

Author: Birsen Bulmus

Goodreads

A sweeping examination of Ottoman plague treatise writers from the Black Death until 1923

Did you know that many of the greatest and most colourful Ottoman statesmen and literary figures from the 15th to the early 20th century considered plague as a grave threat to their empire? And did you know that many Ottomans applauded the establishment of a quarantine against the disease in 1838 as a tool to resist British and French political and commercial penetration? Or that later Ottoman sanitation effort to prevent urban outbreaks would help engender the Arab revolt against the empire in 1916?

Birsen Bulmus explores these facts in an engaging study of Ottoman plague treatise writers throughout their almost 600-year struggle with this epidemic disease. Along the way, she addresses the political, economic and social consequences of the methods they used to combat it.

Key Features

  • Studies the premodern ways in which plague was viewed by Ottoman Islamic thinkers
  • Traces the eventual Ottoman acceptance of quarantines and other modern medical reforms
  • Analyses international debates over plagues and quarantines as a struggle about colonialism

1500 – Jelly Killer (2016 video game)

Jelly Killer – Retro Platformer  In this game you will act like a young bioweapon. You will encounter lots of traps and puzzles. You will have to possess human bodies to pass the game to the end.

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SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS (MINIMUM): OS: Windows XP SP 3 / Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo / Memory: 512 MB RAM / Graphics: 256 MB graphics / DirectX: Version 8.0 / Storage: 128 MB available space

steam


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