Read A3ArtsImaginingFuturePoster.indd text version

Imagining the Future: Utopia, Dystopia and Science Fiction

Keynote speaker: Fredric Jameson

Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature, Duke University

6­7 December 2005

Centre for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies Monash University, Clayton campus, Melbourne, Australia Conference website: Enquiries: [email protected]

Monash University Clayton campus

Howleys Road


NE 3

Normanby Road

Gardiner's Road

NE 1

NE2 NE5 NE 4 NE6


43 44

46 45 47

700 Blackburn Road


203 48

NE8 Martin St

Building 1 Building 2 Building 3


Halls of residence


Bayview Ave Monash Early Intervention Centre (8)

Ring Road North

39 76

Car Pool Parking

N3 40 38

N4 40 56 41 41e

Hockey Field

n illio Pav


Jock Marshall Reserve


Monash University Business Park (710 Blackburn Road)

N1 W1


Multi Level Car Park




N2 72 59 35 34 31 26

37 70

Oval 3


Duerdin St


West Outer Avenue

36 33 32 32 63

69 60 C4

Union Loop Road





Woodside Ave

Ring Road East




All Day Ticket Parking

Oval 2


Tennis Courts

53 75


Ring Road

24 23 23 22 21 18


63 C3 51

Union Road



20 19 10


3d 3c 3b


1 C2 1




16 15 13 14



Monash Oakleigh Legal Service (No.60) Monash Children's Centre (Clayton) Cooperative Limited (No.62) Monash Community Family Co-op (Nos 74,78)

C1 2











Car Pool Parking

Pavillion Wa

8 7



Oval 1

54 65 58

Bus loop


Rin g

67 5 C10 61 6

Sports & Rec Permit Parking

Baseball The Victorian site for a National Synchrotron facility (under construction)

Car Pool

SE1 71

Multi Level Car Park

Ro a

SE2 SE4 SE5 49


SW2 62



SW1 73




SE3 S1 SE4

Blackburn Road free parking area

(Free shuttle bus to campus)




KEY to car parking

(Check signs for latest information)




Mannix College 218

RACV Pick up points

Security bus route and stop numbers

Red permit

Yellow permit

Blue permit

3 hour ticket parking

11/2 hour ticket parking

All day ticket parking

Motor cycles

Disabled parking

1 hour non-ticket parking

authorised parking only

Map by Design & Advertising October 2003

Building index

1 2 3 3a 3b 3c 3d 3e 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Sports and Recreation Robert Blackwood Concert Hall University Offices and Annexes Administration Building 3a Administration Building 3b Administration Building 3c Administration Building 3d Administration Building 3e Sir Louis Matheson Library Krongold Centre Education Alexander Theatre Rotunda Religious Centre Campus Centre Humanities Law including Law Library Medicine Teaching Facility Support Unit Hargrave-Andrew Library Annexe Biochemistry Laboratories Biology Senior Zoology Central Science Block First Year Chemistry Zoology Lecture Theatres

22 23 24 25 26 27 28

First Year Biology Laboratory Senior Chemistry Western Science Lecture Theatres Eastern Science Lecture Theatres Physics and Computer Science Senior Physics Mathematics and Information Technology Services 29 Northern Science Lecture Theatres 30 Hargrave-Andrew Library and Cafeteria and Facilities and Conference Office 31 Engineering Building 31 32 Engineering Lecture Theatres 33 Engineering Building 33 34 Engineering Building 34 35 Engineering Building 35 36 Engineering Building 36 37 Engineering Building 37 38 Boiler House 39 Botany Experimental Area 40 Works and Services Building 41 Animal House 41e Animal Complex 42 Zoology Environmental Laboratories 43 Richardson Hall 44 Roberts Hall 45 Farrer Hall

46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 67 68 69 70 71 72

Howitt Hall Central Building (Catering) Deakin Hall South East Flats Monash University Club Monash Short Courses Centre Monash College (Normanby House) Microbiology Japanese Studies Centre Gallery Building Central Store Grounds Building Yarrawonga Building Australian Pulp and Paper Building Engineering Building 60 Security and Traffic Office High Voltage Switchroom Faculty of Information Technology Faculty of Medicine Offices Marketing and Public Affairs (Monash House) Information Services Building Performing Arts Precinct Engineering Building 69 Accident Research Centre Multi-level carpark Engineering Building 72 including library extension

73 74 75 76

Monash International Centre Monash Science Centre Biotechnology Centre Multi-level carpark ­ North Ring Road 202 Monash University Business Park ­ (710 Blackburn Road) 203 (700 Blackburn Road) 218 Mannix College

Car Parking

Traffic regulations under the Road Safety Act 1986 are enforced throughout the year. The University's roads, carparks and grounds are subject to the provisions of the Road Safety Act and `owners onus' applies to loss and/or damage of vehicles. Weekday visitors may only use those carparks designated as TICKET PARKING unless prior arrangements have been made with the Parking Office.

Theatre index

63 32 60 Central One Engineering E1-E6 Engineering/Examination Halls EH1 EH4 12 Law School L1-L5 & G20 13D Medicine M1 13A Medicine M2-M3 11 Menzies ­ Humanities H1-H10 8 Rotunda R1-R7 25 Science S1-S4 24 Science S5-S6 21 Science S7-S8 25 Science S9-S12 29 Science S13-S15 25 Science ST1-4, ST7 64 South One 72 Sir Alexander Stewart Theatre E7


Drivers are advised to ensure their vehicle is securely locked and all valuables are stored out of sight. Staff working late at night are advised to contact Security Control regarding security escort to their vehicles. The Security Bus proceeds in stop number order and leaves stop 1 at half hourly intervals from 6pm to 9.30pm and at 10.15pm. Buses may be flagged down at any location and will deliver passengers to individual cars upon request.

All sessions will be held in Building 25 Tuesday S1 S2 ST1 6/12 8:00­ REGISTRATION 9:00 9:00WELCOME (S1) 9:15 Emeritus Professor Walter Veit, Monash University Lu: `Modernity as Utopia' Vernay: `Projections and 9:15 ­ Teeuwen: `Sabotaging Utopia' Suslov: `The Conservative Utopianism in Contemporary 10:45 Hwang: `Utopia and Violence Utopia' Australian Fiction' in Late Capitalist Society' Walton: `Constructed Beauty, Cheater: `Return to the G. Davidson: `Samuel Delany, Performed Terror, 1884/1948' Dreamtime' Post-Fordism and the Future' R. Murray: `The Australian Dream Becomes Nightmare' Blackford: `Rendezvous with 11:00 ­ Buchanan: `Ideology and Panel: Perversely Persistent Utopia' 12:30 Utopia in Jameson' Visions Pritchard/Russell: `Exploring Burgmann: `Cognitive Mapping Greenwood, McEntee, Crogan Utopias Through Star Wars' and Anti-Capitalist Utopianism' Kansal, `Pratchett's Cevasco: `Jameson and Science Understated Utopia' Fiction' 12:30 1:30 1:30 ­ 3:30 4:00 ­ 5:30 LUNCH KEYNOTE ADDRESS: `The Antinomies of Utopia' (S3) Professor Fredric Jameson, Duke University Salzani: `Musil's Utopia Norris: `The Manga Effect' Without Qualities' Wright: `The Nature Vision of Sheehan: `Beckett and the Sci-Fi Anime' Imagination of Disaster' Moichi: `Imagining Utopia in Contemporary Japanese Novels' Blanchot: `The Proper Use of Science-Fiction'


Barnett: `Gen(r)e Splicing: Atwood's Oryx and Crake' Kelso: `Writing a Feminist Utopia' Baum: `Becoming Men in Herland'

Johnson: `Scar Construction, Progress in Architecture' Sala-Oviedo/Loo: `Nanotechnology and the Emergence of Architecture' A. Murray: `Dystopia, Architecture and the Persistence of Romanticism'

Weds. 7/12 9:15 ­ 10:45

S1 Pieris: `The Nation on the Net' Younis: `Towards (E-)utopia?' Dieter: `Peer-to-Peer Pressure: Filetrading, Multitude and the Promise of Radical Democracy' Chaffey: `Uncharted Territories and Common Ground' Holland: `Utopian Thought in Deleuze & Guattari' Mercer: `The Utopia of Permanence and the Internet' Boer: `On the Legacy of "Primitive Communism"' Goldsmith: `Apocalyptic Narrative and the Waco Siege' Garrett/Harding: `Deconstructions of Babel' Benjamin: `The Future as an Illusion' P. Jones: `Tragic Utopianism' Parekh: `The (Science Fictional) Future to Hegel's System' Marks: `All-Seeing Eyes' Nansen: `Medical Technology's Utopian Imaginary' Sargent: `Eutopias and Dystopias of Science'

S2 Milner: `Framing Catastrophe' Kawabata: `Orwellian Mother Goose' Vladiv-Glover: `Russian Dystopias' Bloul: `From Utopia to Terrorism' Ramos: `The World Social Forum' Spoors: `Enlightenment as Utopia?'

ST1 R. Davidson: `Utopia and Transformational Strategy' Rundle: `Promethean politics' Whyte: `Preempting Action' Cooke: `Can Children Dream of Electric Adulthoods?' Savage: `Space Opera' Vardoulakis: `Politics of Science, Fictions of the Political' LUNCH McNeill: `Jameson, Cyberpunk and "Exhausted" Realism' St. John: `Rave Ascension' Briggs: `Gibson's MetaScience-Fiction' Atkinson: `Technology and the Vision of Utopia' G. Jones: `Imag(in)ing the Simulacrum' Bagust: `Flashing the Soul' Hall: `Lost Race Stories' Gurney: `The Fall to Dystopia' Maxwell: `Imagining a Future Aesthetics of Human Beauty'


11:00 ­ 12:30

Welch: `Marxist Utopia in Zukofsky' Yang: `Re-imagination of the Future in Le Guin' Wheeler: `Dystopian Futures in Ryman and Gee' Bot: `Dystopian Urban Sublime' Cole: `The Wall: Utopian or Dystopian?' Wight: `Not My Kind of Place' Dutton: `Five French Futures' Jack: `Les Particules Elementaires' Henderson: `The Australian Lesbian Body' C. Garrett: `Possible Worlds' González-Casanovas: `Primitivist Dystopias vs. Modernist Utopias' Soares: `Altman's Quintet'

12:30 ­ 1:30 1:30 ­ 3:00

3:15 ­ 4:45

Rigby: `Utopian moments in the creation of Canberra' G. Pritchard: `Ecotopias and Dystopias' Jorgensen: `The Indigenous Utopian' Panel: Children in Dystopia Dudek, Bullen, Parsons

5:00 ­ 6:30

6:30 ­ 6:35

O'Donnell: `Jameson's Concept of Utopia' Bendle: `Zarathustra's Revenge' Fitting: `Jameson's Archaeologies of the Future' CLOSING REMARKS (S1) Dr. Kate Rigby, Monash University

IMAGINING THE FUTURE ABSTRACTS Paul Atkinson, Monash University Technology and the Vision of Utopia In this paper I will analyse the relationships between the concept of utopia and cinematic plenitude in the films Gattaca and Minority Report. In both films the utopic ideal is not the dream of a perfect society but the repression of contingency which is achieved by making human behaviour conform to the laws of the machine. In Gattaca the repression of contingency occurs through the increasing refinement of the genetic code according to an unarticulated ideal. In Minority Report the repression of contingency correlates to the eradication of crime through the predictive capacities of new technology. In both films, the utopia is inverted as a dystopia because of the inability of technology to accommodate the vagaries of the human will. In the filmic representation of utopia the repression of contingency also takes place on the level of the visual, where the plenitude of the screen image is reduced to an optical purity and a delimited future is transformed into a panoptic future for both the protagonist and the audience. Phil Bagust, University of South Australia Flashing the Soul: USB Memory Sticks and Iain M Banks' `Soulkeepers' One of the intriguing aspects of the alternative universe of Iain M Banks' `culture' novels is the soulkeeper device. In the culture universe the barriers between the biological and the electro-mechanical have long since been breached. In spite of the high-tech and artificially extended lifespans however, for `flesh and blood' citizens of Banks' universe, physical death from old age or trauma remains part of life. Except there are a variety of ways that some culture universe species choose to `cheat' death. One of these techniques utilises a `soulkeeper' device, a tiny, incredibly dense memory module normally worn on the body. The soulkeeper is capable of sensing impending physical death in its owner and `uploads' their most recent `mind state' for storage in the soulkeeper or transmission to a remote location. Individuals who have experienced physical death can then have their biological bodies cloned and this most recent `mind state' downloaded into the new body. This raises classic ontological questions about whether `subject number two' is actually a complete copy of `subject number one', but necessarily also questions about mind/body dualism and even the possible quantum nature of consciousness itself. Jump to the present day `real world' and we see an interesting phenomenon unfolding: the proliferation of increasingly dense, cheap USB flash memory sticks as more than just utilitarian file sharing devices, but as increasingly important markers of personal identity, distinction and even `digital citizenship'. Combine this with tentative research being carried out on both biological and solid state human neural implants and the question must be asked ­ are we seeing the first stages of the penetration of `soulkeeper subjectivity' into the realm of consciousness and `pseudo-immortality' imagined by Banks?

Tully Barnett, Flinders University Gen(r)e Splicing: Margaret Atwood's Use of Information Technology and Genetics in Oryx and Crake Isn't it interesting that biologists so routinely use metaphors and imagery of Information and Communication to describe and discuss their ideas and understanding about molecular biology? The idea of a four letter DNA alphabet which creates three-letter words from a 64 word dictionary permeates and mediates our understanding of our bodies. Margaret Atwood inverts this trend in her 2003 dystopian nightmare of a novel, Oryx and Crake, by employing the genetic technologies inherent in her imagining of the near future to represent information culture. The rise of the `numbers people' and the dwindling of the `word people' leads to the end of the human, in Atwood's vision, just as clearly as it leads to the `end of the book' in so many hotly debated cultural texts. Atwood's particular dystopia is one of both science and information and incorporates many of the essential themes of contemporary information culture, virtuality and posthumanism. Rob Baum, Monash University Becoming Men in Herland: Gender Dystopia & Lesbian Alterity Charlotte Perkins Gilman's 1915 serialisation of Herland, locates three male adventurers in a fully functional female world, and scrutinises the search for men "essential" to civilisation. Where other feminist utopias struggle with the Amazonian endgame, Herland handles procreation with parthenogenesis. Female utopias are not, as many writers demonstrate, inherently utopic for males, who may be utilised as manual labourers, domestic slaves, and sex workers. Even men fondly permitted to enjoy utopic fruits (marriage, desire) may find difficulty in accommodating absence of a privilege culturally ordained and religiously maintained. With the continuing development of new reproductive and sexual technologies, slowly altering the course and appearance of postmodern society, gender dystopia is theoretically and somatically interrogated, science fiction becoming science. The Patricia Califia who composed lesbian utopias has emerged as Patrick Califia, operatively male. Is this radical alteration of lesbian alterity utopic, or the manifestation of cultural dystopia, like men in Herland? Mervyn Bendle, James Cook University Zarathustra's Revenge: The Sordid Utopia of Contemporary Science Fiction Films This paper applies a Nietzschean-Heideggerean approach to an analysis of Fredric Jameson's new book Archaeologies of the Future to address the question of whether and how we can imagine the future and whether or not such imaginings remain open to the unforeseeable. It proceeds from Jameson's observation in his essay on "The Politics of Utopia" that utopia would seem to offer the spectacle of one of those rare phenomena whose concept is indistinguishable from its reality, whose ontology coincides with its representation. It notes that this is equivalent to the ontological proof of God and asks whether it follows that Nietzsche's celebrated "death of God" has been replicated in the 20th century with the "death of utopia", and then goes on to explore this issue through an

analysis of prominent science fiction films, including, Metropolis (1926), Things to Come (1936), War of the Worlds (1953 & 2005), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), On the Beach (1959), Failsafe (1964), The Night of the Living Dead (1968), The Omega Man (1971), Rollerball (1975), Dawn of the Dead (1978 & 2004), Mad Max (1979), Mad Max 2 (1981), Blade Runner (1982), The Day After (1983), The Terminator (1984), Mad Max 3 (1985), RoboCop (1987), Running Man (1987),Total Recall (1990),Terminator 2 (1991), Demolition Man (1993), Twelve Monkeys (1995), Independence Day (1996), The Fifth Element (1997), Gattaca (1997), Starship Troopers (1997), Deep Impact (1998), Armageddon (1998), Fight Club (1999), The Matrix (1999), Minority Report (2002), Imposter (2002), 28 Days Later (2003), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), The Core (2004), Category 6: Day of Destruction (2004), and Land of the Dead (2005). The paper concludes that the history of contemporary SF cinema shows a relentless tendency towards dystopian and apocalyptic themes, with little evidence of the unforeseeable or the novum as envisaged by Bloch and Suvin. Andrew Benjamin, Monash University The Future as an Illusion. Freud and the Utopian Symptom Russell Blackford, Monash University Rendezvous With Utopia: Two Versions of the Future in the Rama Novels Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama paints an attractive picture of how a future space-going society might operate. Despite its diplomatic squabbles and machinations, Clarke's Solar-System-wide society of 2130 is close to being a utopia. After Rendezvous with Rama, Clarke wrote three sequels in collaboration with Gentry Lee (actually authored mainly or entirely by Lee). These are set farther in the future, and they form a trilogy with a new cast of characters. They reveal that the society depicted in Rendezvous with Rama has since been destroyed by economic collapse. The social arrangements portrayed are closer to our own, while the characters and their motivations are far more conventional. Though successful in their own terms, Rama II and its sequels rely on formulaic best-seller elements. They retreat from the utopian impulse behind Clarke's original novel. Maurice Blanchot The Proper Use of Science Fiction Blanchot's essay Le Bon Usage de la Science-Fiction, which appeared in the Nouvelle Revue Française in 1959, will be presented for the first time in English translation. Blanchot addresses the question of whether we can imagine the future by examining science fiction as a form of prophetic speech. Science fiction does not predict what is to come; rather, it expounds an impossible present that has already broken upon us. `Our day-to-day situation is in and of itself prophetic: we know this and forget it constantly.' Science fiction helps us to remember. The paper will be read in the author's absence by its translator, Robert Savage, who for reasons of piety will not be answering questions on Blanchot's behalf.

Rachel Bloul, Australian National University From Utopia to Terrorism: The Case of Radical Islam Has radical Islamism lost its utopian vision? Or is the recourse to terrorism yet another case of the totalitarian tendencies of utopian visions, à la Karl Popper? This paper discusses the evolution of radical Islamism as a utopian vision. Arguing against Popper that utopian movements are not a priori totalitarian, it explains that it is the conjunction of a utopian political vision (of an autonomous Muslim community) with eschatological Islamic theology which best explains the recourse to terrorism. The Islamist leadership may be motivated by political failure but the martyrs they groom are more responsive to the sublime apotheosis of death which is integral to the politics of hate their leaders preach. Roland Boer, Monash University On the Legacy of "Primitive Communism" Through a comparison of two key ancient Near Eastern texts, I explore the way `primitive communism' is both the enabling cause and systematically blocked by these texts. The texts are Enuma Elish and the Torah (Genesis to Joshua in the Bible). Both are very close to each other and both mobilise various strategies to show why `primitive communism' is not a viable social and political option. They are, in other words, dystopian texts whose very structure is determined by blocking a utopian possibility. Krista M. Bot, University of Alaska Anchorage The Dystopian Urban Sublime in Fin-de-Siècle American Literary Naturalism The scientific and technological innovations of the industrial revolution age represent humankind's capacity to understand and control nature. Yet at the same time, the industrial revolution also alienated, dominated, and controlled the modern human, exposing human weakness and limitation. The mid-nineteenth century's utopian promise of a technological future soon developed into a fin-de-siècle skepticism about the future of the sublime urban paradise. Within this turn from utopian idealism to dystopian reality, American literary naturalism emerged to reveal the sordid aspects of the new industrial society. Authors such as Theodore Dreiser, Frank Norris, Stephen Crane, and Upton Sinclair present determined fictions infused with social Darwinism and a dystopian projection of the future. Drawing connections between the American naturalist urban landscape and the alienation of modern human experience, this paper traces the subversive currents of dystopian thought as it is realized in the often violent and tragic lives of modern naturalist characters. Robert Briggs, Monash University The Future of Prediction: Speculating on Gibson's Meta-Science-Fiction Bruce Sterling's introduction to the celebrated cyberpunk anthology Mirrorshades is notable for its depiction of that SF movement not in terms of the traditional debate over the "allegorical" versus the "predictive" functions of SF but rather in terms of its blend of

a particular literary style with a speculative approach to ideas. Cyberpunk's connection with the "visionary", on this account, lies not in its credible insight into the future, but in its speculative willingness "to take an idea and unflinchingly push it past its limits". Speculation -- understood as an opening to the future through a prizing of the "unthinkable", a "reassessment" and "reinterpretation" of the old notions -- is thus counterpoised to the work of prediction, of narrowing down the possibilities by determining the most likely of scenarios. It is in this context, and in the context of more general debates about whether and how we can imagine the future, that recent work by William Gibson -- cyberpunk's pre-eminent writer -- takes on a strange kind of metafictional quality. For in the so-called "post-cyberpunk" novels published by Gibson since the early 1990s, the function of prediction itself seems displaced from the level of narration and onto particular objects and characters appearing within the diegetic world. Thus the narratives appear to speculate on the very activity of prediction that is sometimes said to define the work of SF. Examining Gibson's "post-cyberpunk" stories with a metafictional eye to how they imagine the future of prediction, therefore, may enable us to reconsider not only SF's capacity to imagine the future but also the "worldly" uses of SF's predictions. Ian Buchanan, Charles Darwin University Ideology and Utopia in the work of Fredric Jameson, or, The Counter-Revolution in the Revolution Ideology and Utopia are intricately linked in Fredric Jameson's work. On the one hand, he calls upon Marxists to "reinvent Marxism as an Ideology, that is, as a vibrant, prophetic, Utopian call to a radical and systemic transformation of our world"; and, on the other hand, he argues that even the most degraded (his word) art forms such as schlock airport thrillers must offer a certain utopian impulse (he calls it a "fantasy bribe") as their means of soliciting our interest, which is to say "the works of mass culture cannot be ideological without at one and the same time being implicitly or explicitly Utopian as well". This ambiguity is the structural condition of ideology itself; indeed, Jameson will go so far as to say the very usefulness of the term is "intimately related" to its ambiguousness rather than "vitiated" by it. At its best ideology is synonymous with the utopian, it is the rousing cry of the revolutionary at the barricade; at its worst, however, it is the counter-revolution in the revolution. It contains revolutionary ardour and reduces the utopian to a screen for commodity fetishism, becoming simply a reason for buying something that isn't as banal as merely wanting to own it. This still begs the question: What is utopia? What is it that ideology cannot function without? What is it, in other words, that is so powerful an attractor it can compel us to submit willingly to a social system, namely capitalism, that is by definition so utterly iniquitous? Verity Burgmann, University of Melbourne Cognitive Mapping and Anti-Capitalist Utopianism In Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Fredric Jameson anticipates the emergence of `"cognitive mapping" of a new and global type' and explains this as a code-word for class consciousness `of a new and hitherto undreamed of

kind'. This paper explores Jameson's concept of `cognitive mapping' to suggest that, at the end of the 1990s, the world witnessed the first glimmerings in radical political practice of precisely such mapping in the efforts of the anti-capitalist/anti-corporate globalisation movement. The utopian dimension to this movement is explored through examination of the declared aims in its rhetoric and the euphoric responses to its potential by its participants. The practical significance of utopian extremism in political agitation is then investigated through consideration of the impact of the anti-capitalist/anti-corporate globalisation movement on the institutions and systems it confronted. Maria Elise Cevasco, University of São Paolo Producing Criticism as Utopia: Fredric Jameson and Science Fiction From wherever you look, committed cultural criticism seems to be in crisis. Its time honored tradition of a negative hemeneutics no longer seems to satisfy the needs of a time in which, to use Zizek's adaptation of Marx, "people know what they are doing, but do it anyway". In the past, there were clear allegiances to be made with revolutionary social movements. Nothing of the kind seems to be on the horizon for the time being. What is left for us to do? The works of Fredric Jameson constitute a whole field in contemporary cultural theory. My paper aims at examining his essays and new book on science fiction as ways of constructing a positive hermeneutics at these times of darkness for committed cultural critique. Lucian Chaffey, University of Melbourne Uncharted Territories and Common Ground: Becoming Anomalous and Being Homogenised in Buffy and Farscape Using Deleuze and Guattari's notion of becoming-anomalous and Georges Bataille's study of heterology, this paper will compare Buffy and Farscape as examples of two distinct approaches to alterity in sci-fi/fantasy serial television. In exploring other possible worlds and selves, both Buffy and Farscape encounter the strange and unheardof, the repulsive and horrifying, the perverse and erotic, the transformative and transgressive. Each show however deals with these encounters in very different ways. While it has received much "critical" acclaim for its challenging content and style, Buffy in fact resoundingly re-draws the lines between the normative and the anomalous, restoring liberal but homogenised and highly moralised modes of identity and social order. Farscape however, embraces the heterogeneous experiences and becomingsanomalous of its characters. While a genre television text will inevitably butt up against the limits of representation and the ideological context of its production, Farscape makes a noble and persistent effort to sustain these challenges and navigate uncharted future territories. Christine Cheater, University of Newcastle Return to the Dreamtime: Archie Weller's Land of the Golden Clouds Archie Weller is one of Australia's leading indigenous writers who won the Vogel Prize for his first novel, Day of the Dog. In Land of the Golden Clouds Weller narrates the tale

of a band of misfits and outsiders who join together to defeat a common enemy. Set 3,000 years in the future in an Australia where present social boundaries have been destroyed by nuclear war, Weller's novel has been described by critics as "a saga of mythic grandeur". But this novel also has political intent, a feature recognised by the Human Rights Commission in 1998 when it awarded the novel the Human Rights Medal for Literature for promoting the ideals of reconciliation. In this paper I will argue that while Land of the Golden Clouds may read like fantasy according to western conventions, it also displays the dual elements of mythic narrative and socio-political commentary found in traditional Australian Aboriginal storytelling. As such, Weller's novel can be regarded as an indigenous Australian's attempt to imagine a future utopia where all men and women respect each other's beliefs and customs. Amanda Cole, University of Sydney The Wall: Utopian or Dystopian? At its most general level, this paper will consider representations of the walled or gated community in the utopian/dystopian literature of the past three decades. I will contemplate how authors of such works have `intended' such walls to be understood ­ whether they have a utopian or dystopian aspect. In some cases, it will be seen, the wall exists as both; the consequences of such will be explored. Particular attention will be paid to Octavia E. Butler's works, Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents. The final element of this paper will include an investigation as to how the use of walls affects contemporary life in 2005, focussing specifically on the apparent surge in popularity of the gated community, particularly throughout the poorer parts of wealthier cities of the world. Bryan Cooke, University of Melbourne "Can Children Dream of Electric Adulthoods?": Kazuo Ishiguro and the `Sanctioning' of Imagined Futures As a contested space of Utopian longings and dystopian "realities", childhood is accorded a special place in discussions about whether (and to what extent) it is possible to imagine the future. This privilege comes not least from the fact that childhood is frequently defined as a time in which such imaginings of the future are specifically "sanctioned" (at once permitted and prohibited). Childhood is curiously demarcated as time set aside for imagining the future (in the sense that this connotes boundless possibilities) and at the same time for imagining the future, in the sense of learning to expect and thus deal with a future that insofar as it is prepared for is regarded as inevitable. In this paper, I want to explore some of the consequences of the idea of childhood as a space for the socially `sanctioned' imagining of the future. I will do this through an analysis of Kazuo Ishiguro's recent novel Never Let Me Go. I will also explore the cluster of ideas revolving around childhood and Utopia through a juxtaposition of the themes of Ishiguro's novel with Günther Grass's reproach (in The Tin Drum) to ideas of childhood innocence, and his critique of fascism as what happens when the future is no longer imagined except as a suspension of the future in the permission to be an eternal child.

Guy Davidson, University of Wollongong Samuel Delany, Post-Fordism, and the Future Delany's novel Trouble on Triton (1976) describes a world in which social identity, and even the ostensible ground of social identity, genetic being, are rendered profoundly protean through the combination of a radical-democratic political order and futuristic technologies. Taking their cue from Delany's own identification of the novel as an "ambiguous heterotopia," critics have read Triton, in accordance with Foucault's account of the heterotopia, as proffering a disruption of an episteme (supposedly our own) premised on reified identity forms. Drawing upon these readings, but also qualifying them, in this paper I historicize Delany's disruptive project by relating it to the transition to "post-Fordist" commodity culture, in which a proliferation of "niche" consumer options intensify the fragmentation and lability of the person inherent within capitalism. In arguing this, I do not propose that the novel simply iterates the politically regressive tendencies of the post-Fordist historical moment but rather that it presents a potent imagining of future post-capitalist possibilities through a critical engagement with the actualities of capitalist development. Rjurik Davidson, RMIT Utopia and Transformational Strategy Utopian fiction has a particular relationship to politics: in its images of desire it implies a critique of the contemporary world and a call for some form of transformational politics. It is thus a specifically political case of "cognitive estrangement" which implicitly invites the reader to reconceptualise and transform the current social arrangements. Yet how do we understand this polemical impulse in the context of the so-called "end of history" and the current blockage of any transformational strategy? Is utopian fiction simply idle dreaming ­ utopian in Engels' pejorative sense? If not how do we theorise its role? This paper will examine these questions, as well as utopian science fiction's own answers to them. It will also feature original recorded interviews with Ursula K. Le Guin and Norman Spinrad. Michael Dieter, University of Melbourne Peer-to-Peer Pressure: Filetrading, Multitude and the Promise of Radical Democracy As a critical inspiration, the Internet has continually animated utopian thought ­ with earlier images of the posthuman subject now coalescing into the metaphysical conception of decentralized networking as a model of political transcendence under globalization. With the `Induce Act' and the aftermath of MGM v. Grokster in the United States currently generating significant political controversy over intellectual property rights online, the legitimacy of peer-to-peer (P2P) filetrading has become a key political flash point in the development of Internet technology. What can filetrading tell us about collaborative networking and political mobilization in the new economy? In recent work by Paolo Virno, Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt, the feasibility of non-representative

democracy has been introduced through the philosophical concept of multitude - a postmodern consideration of class as singularities acting in common, as an irreducible multiplicity. Functioning like a distributed social network, this aggregate collective is characterized as being the equal opportunity of political resistance to Empire. Conveniently, the concept also directly invokes Net protocol: mistrust authority, promote decentralization. In this paper, I will consider the mass use of P2P in relation to the utopian promise of multitude. Via comparative analysis of digital exchange over Napster, Gnutella, Freenet and BitTorrent, the formation of collectivity will be contrasted with the constitution of a digital gift economy - specifically, in relation to the influence of cultural capital on collaboration and the ongoing precariousness of connectivity as the source of underlying social tension. Jacqueline Dutton, University of Melbourne Five French Futures: Australia, Antarctica and ailleurs The last decade, spanning the turn of the Millennium, the "war on terror" and cataclysmic environmental phenomena all over the world, has produced a substantial body of literature offering alternative futures to counteract the current apocalyptic trends. France's contribution to this literary movement provides a particular vision of the future which may be located in either real places or imaginary spaces, representing various points along the spectrum between utopia, dystopia and science-fiction. The five French texts selected for this study take us progressively toward the outer limits of the French perspective - both geographically and chronologically - beginning in Australia with Claude Ollier's Outback, ou l'arrière-monde (1995) set in 2003, and Michèle Decoust's Le Rêve de White Spring (2004) with an almost contemporaneous setting. We then venture to Antarctica with Marie Darrieussecq's White (2003) set in 2015, and even further into the future with Michel Houellebecq's most recent novel, La Possibilité d'une île (2005) encompassing action from the present to the year 4000, before returning to France for Robert Sabatier's Le Sourire aux lèvres (2000) set in 2040. Through reference to these five examples, we will explore the association of real places, such as Australia and Antarctica, with imaginary islands and interplanetary idylls in order to demonstrate the inherent links between the different projections. In addition to the permanent figures of deserts and islands, distance and isolation, the novels may also reveal new hopes for a more integrated and fertile future in France. Peter Fitting, University of Toronto On Anti-Anti-Utopianism: Fredric Jameson's Archaeologies of the Future Craig Garrett, RMIT Possible Worlds -- Postmodernist Representations of Fictional Worlds This paper discusses the postmodern literary theory of `possible worlds' by analysing fictions that use alternative methods of representing the actual world (or worlds) we live in, in an effort to challenge and critique notions of the actual world. I will discuss Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland, Jorge Luis Borges's Labyrinths, and my unpublished novel Dreamriders, and examine how these texts create dystopias where the

unforeseeable happens, but still manage to encompass elements of the actual world in order to question that world. These texts redefine peripheral parts of our `real world' as dominant elements. The act of reconfiguring the margins by foregrounding them reinterprets `reality' and raises significant questions about the world (or worlds) we inhabit. As such, these texts use possible worlds to analyse the past, present and future of the actual world without entering into the polemic. Frank Garrett and Stephen Harding, Collin County Community College Utopian Time and Space: Deconstructions of Babel Throughout both history and literature, one can find two types of utopia: that as mode of being and that as mode of becoming. The Garden of Eden, insofar as Western tradition is concerned, serves as the paragon ­ if not the original model ­ of the first type of utopia. We offer the Tower of Babel as the model of the latter utopia and interrogate the ways in which this Babylonian construct serves as an archetypal analogy of manmade utopias ever since, including Sir Thomas More's Utopia. Finally, we analyze how this type interacts, problematizes, interposes, and contaminates not only both modes of utopia but the converse ­ that is, apocalypse ­ as well in its concurrent attempt for historicism and drive toward atemporality. Timothy Goldsmith, University of Melbourne "We are Now in the Fifth Seal": Apocalyptic Narrative and the Waco Siege If the utopian community expresses a withdrawal from history, that is, a desire to create a localised preview of the Millennium, how then are we to understand the apocalyptic redoubts of survivalists in rural areas of the United States? These are often armed religious groups who see themselves in terms of `projected narratives' (Khachig Toloyan). They have not withdrawn from history; indeed they imagine themselves as playing pivotal roles in the events by which the Apocalypse unfolds. Yet they have isolated their communities from a society that they perceive as dystopian and soon to make war on them. This worldview can historically be seen to develop in fundamentalist religion, with its distinctive hermeneutic of reading apocalyptic prophecy as being fulfilled in one's own time. My paper will examine this issue in relation to the Branch Davidians, a cult notorious for its violent confrontation with US authorities near Waco in 1993. Roberto González-Casanovas, University of Auckland Primitivist Utopias vs. Modernist Dystopias in Latin American Fiction: Cultural Time Travel as Myth and Parable in Borges, Carpentier, Fuentes This paper considers the cultural politics and poetics of the crisis of modernity in pivotal works of 20th-century Latin American literature that deal with crosscultural time travel: Jorge Luis Borges' Ficciones (1944), Alejo Carpentier's Los pasos perdidos (The Lost Steps 1953), and Carlos Fuentes' Terra Nostra (1975). It reexamines modernity in terms of utopian/dystopian discourses of progress and decadence, and analyses metaphors of primitivism in relation to precolonial and postcolonial ideologies of indigeneity/hybridity and First/Third Worlds. It also engages myth criticism of Frye and Campbell along with

postcolonial historicism of Mignolo, Pastor, Todorov et al. Such a comparative reading of the three works shows how they question cultural evolution and crisis through aestheticist, typological, and/or historicist models. In the process they come to challenge literary realism, transcend ideological dualities, and establish new mythologies in Latin America as a renewable frontier culture beyond the historical constructs of the primitive or modern. Shelley Gurney, University of Otago The Fall to Dystopia: The Númenore Effect Plato's model society, Atlantis has epitomized the idea of utopia for millennia, and has been mentioned as examined in literature throughout the Ages. J. R. R. Tolkien, however, takes the Atlantis story and modifies it to illustrate a perfect society's fall to dystopia through greed, pride and fear in his version called the Akallabêth or "The Downfall of Númenore." This story is worth examining as it looks at the human influence rather than the technological influence which is usually associated with a society's fall into dystopia in science fiction and fantasy literature. In this paper, I wish to examine how Númenore fell into ruin, the reasons why this came about, and how it is a successful twentieth century retelling of the Platonic myth. Karen Hall, University of Western Australia `The Rape of the Solar System': The Technological Past and Future in Lost Race Stories, 1920-1950 While lost race stories are often seen as anachronistic returns to the past, lacking scientific `novum' or interest in technology, I argue that in the first half of the twentieth century, lost race stories participated in a complex dialogue about the future. Lost race stories published in the science fiction pulp magazines depicted technologically advanced societies, frequently of Atlantean origin, and expanded from the `blank spaces' of Earth to an interplanetary scale. These stories provided a venue in which to imagine a technological past that validated the technological future prophesised in the pulps. They provided the same validation for human colonisation of space, familiarising space by mapping it into the ideological framework set up in the earlier lost race tradition. Margaret Henderson, University of Queensland The Australian Lesbian Body as the Flesh made Word made Utopia New social movements need their utopias, and the women's movement is no exception. This paper traces one particular form of feminist utopianism, namely that embodied in the figure of the lesbian. The lesbian has always been a highly charged category for the modern women's movement, on one hand producing anxiety and ambivalence with its supposed divisive and alienating quality, as typified by Betty Friedan's phrase, the "lavender menace"; and alternately being source of revolutionary hope when positioned as vanguard of women's liberation. I analyse the emergence of the lesbian as utopian in two sites: Australian academic feminism, and Australian lesbian pornography. In the late 1980s onwards, and after a period of relative silence, the eroticised lesbian becomes a key way in which Australian feminism and one of its significant others, non-radical feminist

lesbians, attempt to negotiate the changed political, intellectual, and social context signified by the term postmodernism, and hence to replenish its utopian imaginary. Eugene W. Holland, Ohio State University History, Time, and Utopian Thought in Deleuze & Guattari There are significant differences between Deleuze and Guattari's concept of utopia and the vision of empire and multitude presented by Hardt and Negri ­ despite the clear and profound influence of the former on the latter. The aim of this paper is to show how the concept of utopia in Deleuze and Guattari is linked to the vocation of philosophy, which is the creation of concepts. The paper's trajectory moves from the concepts of time and the virtual/actual distinction presented in Difference and Repetition, through the very different views of history presented in the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia, and concludes with an examination of What is Philosophy, where Deleuze and Guattari discuss utopia most explicitly. Enju Hwang, University of Essex Utopia and Violence in Late Capitalist Society: J. G. Ballard's Detective Thriller Trilogy of Cocaine Nights, Super-Cannes and Millennium People As a science fiction writer, J. G. Ballard writes about the future, but the near future. The settings of Ballard's novels are Utopian gated communities in suburbs where residents enjoy their wealth. The places are luxurious and relaxing; however, Utopian dreams soon turn out to be nightmare-like Dystopia which is full of perverse behaviours, violence and crimes. In these three novels, violence is regarded as "a therapy" to survive in late capitalist society: "In a totally sane society, madness is the only freedom" (Super-Cannes, 264). The victims of the crimes seem to have nothing to do with the original purpose of the crimes. However, it turns out that the real target of the crimes is late capitalist society itself, not the victims. I would like to show that the main cause of the meaningless crimes in Ballard's novels is psychological problems such as boredom and discontent in the modern world. Here, what is at stake is to understand the relation among late capitalism, super-modernity and violence. In my paper, I would like to discuss what actually causes Dystopia which is at first regarded as Utopia, focusing on the psychological effect related to modern architecture and topography, and the socioeconomic network of power in the late capitalism. I will use theories of Anthony Vidler, Marc Augé and Deleuze to support my viewpoint. David Jack, Monash University Les Particules Elementaires: Science Fiction as Historical Novel The Utopian moment in Michel Houellebecq's Les Particules Elementaires coincides, within the novel, with a third metaphysical mutation ­ the first being Christianity, and the second, empiricism. The result is a race of post-humans who through this transvaluation of values and a little genetic modification, achieve a perfect society free from suffering and desire. This mutation itself is stages as the inevitable "montee en puissance des scientifiques", in the wake of the failure of the so-called human sciences to come up with

a new paradigm. The imperative at the end of the novel, LA MUTATION NE SERA MENTALE MAIS GENETIQUE, omits, however, a third possibility, namely, the social. I want to argue that the exclusion of the social from the narrative horizon of Houellebecq's novel is to be read as a symptom of something else, something Fredric Jameson has called a "reality paralysis" in late capitalism. Houellebecq's novel resolves this deadlock by way of an interesting formal development. Craig Johnson, Macquarie University On the Subject of Scar Construction, Progress in Architecture, and the Aesthetic of Impossible Buildings It is widely acknowledged that utopian thought is in parenthesis today, which means, if it is true, few people have thought seriously in utopian terms. The most productive cultural site for this kind of thought is SF, but there is also a tradition outside of this mode practised by architectural innovators, some of whom have never had any of their designs realised; indeed, in many cases this impossibility is what motivates their aesthetics. The aim of this paper is to trace the aesthetics and politics of architectural fantasy in the work of Lebbeus Woods (postwar reformations), Friedrich Kiesler (endless house), and Tacita Dean (bubble house), with a view to locating a new ways of conceiving the often wellworn paths of the desire called Utopia. Graham Jones, University of Melbourne Imag(in)ing the simulacrum: Gattaca and the dystopian future-past This paper will examine the depiction of the `subversive double' in the science fiction film Gattaca. In the film's narrative the protagonist Vincent Freeman, through his `imitation' of astronaut Jerome Morrow (and in pursuit of his unsullied dream `to reach the stars') infiltrates the elite institution of Gattaca and potentially threatens the oppressive hierarchy on which it is founded. However, more careful examination of the text reveals contradictory investments in the notions of authenticity and selfdetermination that it invokes as an alternative to the constraints stemming from Statesanctioned ethical, social and genetic engineering. I will use Deleuze's critique of Platonic mimesis and his notion of the simulacrum to open up and critique these aspects of the film, whilst also contrasting it with another rival approach founded upon Baudrillard's similar, yet different, account of `simulation'. Paul Jones, University of New South Wales `Tragic Utopianism' and Critique in Raymond Williams's Sociology of Culture This paper draws on some of the arguments of my recent Raymond Williams's Sociology of Culture: a critical reconstruction (Palgrave, 2004). The role of utopianism in Williams does seem to be constantly `balanced' by that of `modern tragedy'. While the sense of the tragic is undoubtedly informed by historical crises such as Stalinism, there is also a recurrent theme of a tragic self that cannot imagine an alternative future and so is inclined to act in highly predictable `conformist' ways. Interestingly, this thesis informs not only Williams's overtly `literary' and political writings but also his ventures into critiques of

the key neo-conservative `post(?)-utopian' sociological figure, Daniel Bell, as well as that of perhaps the template figure for his `new conformism' thesis, Marshall McLuhan. Utopianism thus provides one means of linking Williams's work on means of communication with his broader sociology of culture and sociology of intellectuals. At the heart of this body of work, however, is a continued effort to maintain the practice of critique ­ immanent critique in something like the Frankfurt sense ­ via strategies for revitalizing the very cultural forms that might bear immanent transformative values. Darren James Jorgensen, University of Western Australia The Indigenous Utopian Indigenous societies have often been represented as utopian, as people living in an authentic and communitarian way. While they sublimate the desire for such a life, these representations also contain the discomforting stasis of utopian space, their timelessness opening the gap between desire and its impossible fulfilment in a past that lacks a future. This paper thinks through utopian primitivism in science fiction with such indigenous representations. In both cases, the inauthentic reveals itself, and is sometimes affirmed, by an authenticity that is in decline. This is supplemented by a generally more recent imagination of the unforeseeable that locates the indigenous in the future rather than in the past. This dialogue between past and future, stasis and the unforseen, configures some of the tensions of utopian thought and opens it to questions about the historical structure of its imagination. Reema Kansal, Nehru University, New Delhi "I would quite like to see us continue": Pratchett's Understated Utopia Terry Pratchett is the creator of the Discworld ­ a flat, circular planet which is carried through space by a giant turtle and four elephants ­ and has written 34 Discworld novels since 1983, the 34th titled Thud awaiting release in October, 2005. The Discworld shares all the beauty and sordidness of our own world so that one might feel, at first glance, that Pratchett's vision is neither utopic nor dystopic but a masterly comic (and at times darkly satirical) representation of our past and present as we know it. The standard tropes of fantasy fiction such as a quest, adventure, war, revolution, mystery and so on are all there in the Discworld novels and yet, everything seems to be there to be made fun of and mocked. This paper proposes to show how the Discworld novels really aim to point towards the future of humanity, with the author's central concern that our species should continue to inhabit this planet and not be wiped out like so many others. And that is in itself a utopia, considering all the present possibilities of doom for the human race. Yasuo Kawabata, Japan Women's University Orwellian Mother Goose: Dystopian Use of the "little chunks of history" in Nineteen Eighty-Four This paper aims to re-evaluate George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) by studying the effective function of "Oranges and Lemons," the nursery rhyme which Orwell used in his story-telling. In spite of the important role the old rhyme plays in the plot, its use has

been curiously underestimated or, to be more correct, has been almost overlooked in most studies on the novel. This neglect is, it seems, due to the general inclination to see the novel exclusively as a "political message" or a "prophecy" and to close one's eyes to the technical skill with which Orwell constructed his story. His skill deserves, I believe, more attention and, by taking heed of it, an alternative reading might become possible. It is in this prospect that I attempt to examine the author's skilful handling of the rhyme in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Sylvia Kelso `Or Failing That, Invent': Writing a Feminist Utopia in the 21st Century Though convergences of SF and Utopian fiction now site Utopia in the future, Samuel Delany considers SF makes the future a device for significantly distorting the present. Fredric Jameson terms this failure to imagine the future, but agrees with Will Wright that (all popular) narratives are a "form of reasoning" about current society. The past, too, though "another country," is accessible only through contemporary views. Thus, though Jameson calls the historical novel an "empty" form, like modern fantasy, it uses the past to reason about and potentially re-imagine the present. The SF sub-genre of alternate history has produced dystopias like Kim Newman's Anno Dracula, but its revised pasts might also posit Utopias whose futures would be a very different Now. This paper reports on writing a (feminist) Utopia in the 21st century, set at one moment when "history [was] moving" (Raymond Williams): the still enigmatic upheaval at the end of the Aegean Bronze age, where an alternate history now begins as Greeks lose the Trojan War. Duanfang Lu, University of Sydney Modernity as Utopia: The Chinese People's Commune Revisited This paper explores an intriguing aspect of Third World modernism--the utopianisation of modernity--through an investigation into the complex relationship between the people's commune movement and Chinese modernity (1958­1961). Concurrent with sweeping institutional changes, the state mobilised peasants, architects and planners to make proposals for the newly established communes. Built on fantasies of industrial and social modernity, commune modernism was directed by a faith in the possibility of overcoming the past to create a brand new world. Yet with various inflicting elements within a Third World context, the mass utopia only left a history of disasters in its wake. By looking into the curious combination of modernist and utopian elements in various visions of the commune, this paper proposes seeing the Chinese commune movement as a project to articulate an alternative modernity that had much in common with modernist programs in other parts of the world. Dougal McNeill, University of Melbourne Jameson, Cyberpunk and "Exhausted" Realism Fredric Jameson recently suggested that cyberpunk is sending back "more reliable information about the contemporary world than an exhausted realism" and that cyberpunk and Science Fiction now operate with "real epistemological value" as

inventories of the modern system. Instead of viewing science fiction as a way of knowing the future, these comments suggest a way of understanding the form as an aufgehoben realism, the new totalizing form with which to approach globalization. Realisms, for the Marxist at least, suggest dystopias of the present; could they instead be read to assist in constructing "archaeologies of the future" or, as Jameson seems to suggest, is realism a reified form drained of utopian potential by the rhythms of late capitalism and the penetration of representation? Tracking the relationship between Science Fiction and realism in Jameson's work, this paper suggests ways that each form implies potential political futures through the "reliable information" they send. Peter Marks, University of Sydney All- Seeing Eyes: Looking at the Future of Surveillance Even before September 11, surveillance entailed not merely scrutinising and recording what is happening, but also predicting what might happen. From Plato's Guardians through Orwell's Thought Police and beyond, surveillance has been a recurrent concern in utopias and dystopias, many of which have tried to speculate on, as well as alter or even arrest its development. Today, new surveillance technologies as well as government and public responses to real and imagined dangers challenge our understanding of privacy, identity, security, authority and freedom. Are we moving towards a world of `hypersurveillance', where simulated surveillance achieves perfect control, or further along the path of `digital discrimination', where our digital identities are sorted and classified using categories unknown to us? What do utopias and dystopias predict about the future of surveillance? By examining recent literary and cinematic works, this paper explores what they teach us about potential surveillance worlds, and about the politics of acceptance and resistance. Anne Maxwell, University of Melbourne Imagining a Future Aesthetics of Human Beauty: Philip K. Dick's `The Golden Man' and Ursula Le Guin's `The New Atlantis' In her article `Future Perfect: the Elusive "Ideal Type"' (2004), Christine Codgell makes the observation that in their bid to improve both the intelligence level and the physical appearance of the human race, designers and anthropologists attached to the old eugenics movement exhorted the ideal of beauty embodied in sculptures like the Apollo Belvedere, but they also turned to the sorts streamlined designs to be found in nature, such as those characterising birds, fish and predatory animals. This paper explores the role that classical ideals of beauty, including the notion of streamlining, have played in recent science fiction and utopian writing. Taking Philip K Dick's `The Golden Man' and Ursula Le Guin's `The New Atlantis' as somewhat paradigmatic of recent science fiction, I ask whether classical notions of beauty and efficiency continue to hold sway in the present moment despite the decline of the old eugenics, and if so why this might be. Nick Mercer, University of Western Australia Postmodern Social Assemblages and the `General Intellect': The Utopia of Immanence and the Internet

` is to posit revolution as a plane of immanence, infinite movement and absolute survey, but to the extent that these features connect up with what is real here and now in the struggle against capitalism, relaunching new struggles whenever the earlier one is betrayed. The word utopia therefore designates that conjunction of philosophy, or of the concept, with the present milieu - political philosophy' - Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in `What is Philosophy?' How can the internet be situated in the context of Deleuze and Guattari's formulation of utopia? That is, how, as a site of struggle between the cyberutopian ethos that guides the `open-source' initiatives and to a more radical extent, piracy, and the more overtly capitalist propagators of a `closed system' that seek to patent and control the sourcecodes of operating systems and software, such as Microsoft, does the internet imagine the future of human/social communication in the present day conflicts in communicational propriety? My paper addresses these questions in reference to Hardt and Negri's particular formulation of Deleuzian philosophy and Marxist politics, specifically, by locating powerful social assemblages that provide alternative aggregates to the hegemony of capital. Utopia thereby resides in the forces of social production, of the internet as Marx's `general intellect', to actualise new collective bodies through the currents of communicative media. Andrew Milner, Monash University Framing Catastrophe: The Problem of Ending in Dystopian Fiction Margaret Atwood recently claimed that the `Appendix' on Newspeak in Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and the `Historical Notes' to her own The Handmaid's Tale are each framing devices designed to blunt the force of dystopian inevitability. The paper assesses this claim through an examination of how the problem of ending is handled in three dystopias that had provided Orwell with a science-fictional generic context: the French translation of Zamyatin's My as Nous autres; Huxley's Brave New World; and Capek's R.U.R.. The paper develops an ideal typology of dystopian endings, arranged around measures of internality and externality applied both to the formal question of narrative structure and to the dystopian content of the imaginary worlds represented. It concludes with a discussion of Williams's `tenses of the imagination', arguing that the subjunctive future perfect is the ruling tense in dystopia. Yoriko Moichi, University of Edinburgh Imagining Utopia in Contemporary Japanese Novels This paper analyses three contemporary Japanese novels published after the 1950s and considers how the writers explore forms and themes in the face of postmodern consciousness. The juxtaposition of different cultures will show that utopia in Japan has gained a new life, offering some "unthought" possibilities in the future of utopian literature. The novels discussed in this paper are: Abe Kobo's Inter Ice Age 4 (1959), Inoue Hisashi's Kirikirijin (1981) and Murakami Haruki's Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (1985). Abe's novel brings the concept of the everyday into utopian literature, depicting a future far removed from our imagination. Inoue's novel manifests

the possibility of creating a downsized, egalitarian utopia. Murakami's novel explores utopia in the cultural styles of advanced capitalism. Alex Murray, University of Melbourne "Tombstones to a Vanished Future": Dystopia, Architecture and the Persistence of Romanticism in Contemporary British Culture In Michael Moorcock's Mother London, the central character, Joseph Kiss, refers to the public housing blocks that litter London as "Tombstones to a vanished future, our single chance at Grace." For Moorcock, as for a range of contemporary British authors and cultural critics, such as Iain Sinclair, J.G. Ballard and Patrick Wright, the architecture of postwar London, which they associate with the Modern Movement, represents the spectacular failure of the postwar belief in rational, technological utopia. For these writers the modern movement is instead synonymous with a form of social, aesthetic and political devastation. In this paper, I will argue that this response to the modern movement is the persistence of a Romantic ideology that, in rejecting the rationalising nature of modern architecture as an aberration, persists in the fracturing of rationalisation and subjectivation that Alain Touraine regards as the perpetual crisis of modernity, the `vanished future' that denies any belief in the utopian. Ross Murray, University of Western Sydney The Australian Dream Becomes Nightmare ­ Visions of Suburbia in Australian Science-Fiction However much Australia is associated with open spaces, the fact remains that the majority of Australia's population lives in crowded suburbs clustered around coastal cities. This paper will undertake a critical examination of utopian and dystopian visions of Australian suburbia as portrayed in a range of Australian science fiction short stories, such as Frank Roberts' "It Could Be You" and Greg Egan's "The Way She Smiles, The Things She Says", written from the 1960s to the present. The cognitive space of Australian suburbia in science fiction is a social, familial, technological, and psychological nexus producing ideas which map the future in small and intense ways. Using psychoanalytic theory, Fredric Jameson's theories of postmodernism, Foucault's idea of panopticism, and urban planning and sociological frameworks, this paper will explore how the portrayal of the suburb and its inhabitants in Australian science fiction reflects anxieties about reality, identity, violence, and consumerism. Bjorn Nansen, University of Melbourne Medical Technology's Utopian Imaginary and the Comatose Limen Idealist constructions of technological utopianism in Western discourses of progress manifest in medical developments that transcend limits. From transplantation and implantation to technological intervention and regulation of the body's internal organs and rhythms, medicine has practiced and imagined a future that transforms the body, prolonging life, forestalling death and intimating towards immortality. However, the development of these medical technologies has resulted in the unforeseen proliferation of

people connected to life-support machines, such as coma and persistent vegetative state patients, who literalise a cyborg state, and contradict the liberating promise of medical discourse, existing in a state of inertia and dependence. Lives mediated by technological instruments exist on the boundary, intervening between taxonomies of life and death, renegotiating the definition of death. These marginal lives generate both instability in categorisation and anxiety in popular response, and conform to Victor Turner's notion of the liminal, or in-between state. I am extending his limited definition to acknowledge emergent liminal existences in-between the human and nonhuman, as articulated by Bruno Latour's hybrid identities. Latour argues modernity's attempt to separate and purify the subject and object has resulted in a proliferation of hybrid entities that do not fit comfortably into neat categorisation, generating feelings of ambivalence and confusion. Similarly Mary Douglas has argued that traditionally human culture has been intolerant of ambiguity, and that our concept of dirt and pollution has been more concerned with violation of our classification system than with hygiene. I will argue that the anxiety surrounding these liminal or hybrid figures conforms to Douglas' and Latour's theses, contra medical discourses of the utopian imaginary of technological development and enhancement, as articulated in two science fiction films, namely Michael Crichton's Coma and David Cronenberg's The Dead Zone. I am taking a broad definition of science fiction, contextualising it as a literary genre involving the imagined impact of science on society. These films also fall within the emergent popular genre of the medical thriller. These films articulate popular cultural anxieties concerning technological medicines intervention of the body, particularly fear in Coma of commercial harvesting of organs, and revulsion in The Dead Zone of this state transforming the human into something other. Craig Norris, Monash University The Manga Effect: Techno-dystopia in Japanese Animation The `manga effect' was part of Manga Entertainment's marketing campaign during the 1990s and included scenes of hi-tech weapons, karate violence, demon sex, and gunslinging girls, all set to loud heavy-metal music. The manga effect's dystopic images of a violent post-apocalyptic future summarised the dominant public image of manga and anime (Japanese comics and animation) in the West during the 1990s. However, it was within these images of techno-dystopia that fans in Australia considered and experimented with new identities and combinations of identities. In this paper, I will explore how the fans moved beyond the industry and popular media's `sex and violence' dystopic vision of manga and anime to develop their own counter-discourse of manga imagery that opened up new possibilities for imagining the future from an Australian perspective. I will focus on the framing of Akira as a landmark `techno-dystopic' anime that fans and critics used to broaden anime's public image and then consider the alternative appropriation of anime's cyberpunk imagery by dance and nightclub culture. Liam O'Donnell, LaTrobe University An Analysis of Fredric Jameson's Concept of the Utopian

In this paper I analyze Fredric Jameson's concept of the utopian, and I discuss the central role of this concept in his overall theoretical system. This analysis proceeds via a commentary on Jameson's essay, "Modernity, Utopia and Death", which itself discusses literary texts by Platonov and Kafka. Jameson's concept of the utopian will be placed in its philosophical context through an examination of its relation to the thought of Bloch, Heidegger, Schopenhauer and Marx. I will examine the claims that the utopian is "the desire to desire", and a moment of negativity that occurs via an experience of askesis, an experience that only seems to be accessible through the aesthetic. Surya Parekh, University of California The (Science Fictional) Future to Hegel's Philosophical System ­ Utopia, Dystopia, and Sexual Difference Hegel closes his account of the New World in the famous Lectures on the Philosophy of World-History by suggesting that America ­ and he is not certain which one ­ will be the land of the future. In the Lectures on Aesthetics, Hegel augments this account by commenting that epic poetries of the future will probably write about the triumph of living rationality in America over the withdrawal into particulars in Europe. In positing such a utopia to not only his philosophy of history but also to his scientific philosophy, Hegel needs to draw on the fiction of the inability of the original New World inhabitants or Aboriginal to copulate. Thus, Hegel's free future is one where the original inhabitants need to have vanished. This paper analyses the use of these fictions in the construction of a type of sexual difference ­ between a historicised heteronormative family paradigm and an atemporal and natural difference to it ­ in imagining an aesthetic and historical future to Hegel's scientific philosophy. Anoma Pieris, University of Melbourne Urban Dystopias and their Utopian Imaginings: The Nation on the Net Behind the dystopic disruptions of everyday life caused by acts of `terrorism' lie utopian imaginaries, where relationships between ethnic groups, nation-states and global partners are momentarily suspended to make way for other, alternative versions of reality. Nowhere is this captured more successfully than on the web where virtual battles over national geographies construct and deconstruct idealistic representations of imagined communities and subject positions. For Sri Lanka, a country torn by ethnic conflict for over twenty years, national life continues uninterrupted in virtual space, even as its cities are torn by separatist bombs and military confrontations. This paper studies the emotive and highly contested struggle over history, geography and alternative futures in the `nation on the net'. Greg Pritchard, Deakin University Ecotopias and Dystopias: The Rift between Deep Ecology and Humanism Ernest Callenbach's Ecotopia, published in 1975 but set in the imagined world of 1999, posits a utopian world of environmentally sound West Coast Americans who have seceded from the East Coast. Is it possible to imagine such a world, based on Deep green

principles, or is there something inimical to Western humanism that banishes this possibility? Luc Ferry, in his work The New Ecological Order (1992), argues this case, and sides with the latter. This paper will take an opposing view, that to imagine such a utopian world as Callenbach's Ecotopia, an ecological science fiction, one must critically examine the idea of humanism. Stephen Pritchard and Lynette Russell, Monash University "I don't think the system works": Exploring Utopias and Dystopias through the Politics, Ethics, Human Values of Star Wars Prior to the release of `Revenge of the Sith', the Star Wars movies could be read as a moral narrative that represented a struggle of good against evil through a series of oppositions between nature and machine, democracy and militaristic/technocratic dictatorship. As such George Lucas's series of five movies presented both utopic and dystopic versions of a possible future (or as he would have it, a past). However, with the most recent installment, what initially appeared to be the inversion of humanist good, became a tragic narrative which was inseparably tied to its opposite. The empire, rather than being the antithesis of the democratic principles that the republic is taken to unproblematically represent, could be read as a subverted form of those same ideals; just as the dark anti-hero who represented the transformation from human being to machine at the physiological level, was in fact more human than the Jedi, the champion of the republic. This paper will examine how through the problematisation of such oppositions the Star Wars epic promotes a critical reading of contemporary ethics and politics and poses significant questions about the meaning of human and human values, nature of freedom, political idealism and democracy and good and evil. Jose Maria Ramos, Swinburne University of Technology Situating the World Social Forum in Historical and Modern Utopian Contexts At the turn of the century social movements converged to contest and resist neo-liberal globalisation. This has seen the emergence of the World Social Forum (WSF) and a social forum movement over the last 5 years. Now, this veritable movement of movements and open space for the exploration of proposals and alternatives to neo-liberal globalisation proclaim that `Another world is possible!' What was once the antiglobalisation movement has been re-dubbed the `alter-globalisation' movement. This article asks whether this social forum movement is a utopian movement. How does the WSF fit into existing frameworks for utopianism / utopian movements, and is alter globalism indeed utopianism? Using perspectives from macrohistory, and literature on civilisational change, this article examines both dystopia / eutopia and structure / agency dualisms, in relation to the social forum movement, and contemporary science fiction. Kate Rigby, Monash University (Not) By Design: Utopian Moments in the Creation of Canberra This paper addresses the uses and abuses of utopianism from an ecophilosophical perspective and with respect to the (re)creation of the polis, understood both as urban

space and as locus of identity. My focus is on a particular place, namely Canberra, the creation of which, as a new kind of capital for a new nation, manifests a distinct ecoutopian impulse, above all in the vision of its principal architects, Walter Burley and Marion Mahony Griffin, together with John Sulman, a leading proponent of the Garden City Movement. The case of Canberra will be considered as exemplifying in particular a central tension within the conceptuality of eco-utopianism, namely between the ambition to remake the world and the ethos of attunement to the given. From this perspective, design is disclosed as both absolutely necessary and necessarily problematic. Guy Rundle, Arena Promethean politics and the twenty-first century Into the vacuum of the social imagination left by the collapse of the global left (as anything other than a movement of refusal), a new spirit of `prometheanism' has developed ­ a celebration of the transformative capacity of technology, on the natural world and the species genome. This is present in both everyday culture and in the work of radical `promethean' writers and groups such as the London-based `Spiked' group. Such Prometheanism has become a science-fictive utopianism in action ­ handing over the historical agency to the technosciences out of boredom and frustration with a failed present. In this paper I will look at the roots of such trends within the Marxist tradition, and argue that its promethean, rather than its socialist dimension has always been its key driver, and that both past moments (the October revolution, Italian fascism, Maoism) and likely future (a politics without a left) can be re-interpreted in this light. The paper will draw on writers such as Furedi, Bauman, the `Arena' tradition, French postmodernism, Jameson and others to sketch a radically rethought politics of the 21st century. Graham St John, University of Queensland Rave Ascension: Global Dance Culture and the Transhuman Dispensation Transhumanist narratives are redolent within contemporary electronic dance music cultures (EDMCs). From acid house, to drum 'n bass, to psy-trance, global dance cultures are repositories for utopic fantasies and millenarian desires, anticipating the ascensionist `awakening' into consciousness, facilitating the necessary dispensation in a troubled world. Exploring quasi-scientific and extropian discourse, the presentation investigates why EDMCs have become widely held catalysts for liberation, freedom and transformation. Dance cultures appear to evince that which John Bozeman regards as a `technological millenarianism' pervading Western popular culture whereby technological innovation is expected to `bring forth a better future beginning here and now'. Frequently promised contexts for delivery from the present human condition, EDMCs appear to exemplify the techno-liberationist process Erik Davis outlines in his eloquent Techgnosis: Myth, Magic and Mysticism in the Age of Information. As global (sub)cultures probably unprecedented in their rapid absorption and repurposing of sophisticated (digital and Internet) technologies, EDMCs actively encourage utopian claims of post-human becoming. Ana Sala-Oviedo and Stephen Loo, University of South Australia

Virtually Science Fiction: Nanotechnology and the Emergence of Architecture Following Western epistemology, where occularcentrism constantly rejects overt embodiment ­ as seen in cyberpunk writers' descriptions of leaving the `meat' behind, and in artificial intelligence theories stating that minds are better off without bodies ­ the metaphysics of Virtual Reality in science fiction, as in architecture, shortchanges its ontological `relevance'. In reappropriating flesh and touch, nanotechnology challenges the system providing an alternative logic of relations to space. The spatial qualities of the nanoscale are as rich and varied as traditional anthropomorphic space, and encompass familiar architectural raw materials such as texture, memory, history, gravity and enclosure. In nanotechnology great changes can be brought by small manipulations of material. Nano-spaces are ripe for architectonic instantiation and appropriation and they could change our ontological relationship with our surroundings. The paper discusses how the indexical materiality of nanotechnology is immanent with a virtuality that stems from its ontogenesis. Taking cues from Antonio Negri's constitution of the `multitude' and Brian Massumi's work on `onto-topology', the paper discusses science fiction as positing alternative logics of relation to materiality. Within a topological relationship to bodies, what does it mean for social politics, manifest in architecture and urbanism, and understood as lived events, to be conceptualised as ontogenetic and ontopoetic, namely emergent? "Just as the body lives between dimensions, designing for it requires operating between logics" (Massumi). This is a pragmatic practice where architecture and urbanism enter into relations, and experiment with conditions ­ whether literary, biological, electronic, social or political ­ as an utopia which cannot be pre-reflected, in order to see what emerges. Carlo Salzani, Monash University Modus Potentialis: Robert Musil's Utopia Without Qualities The paper analyses the concept of Utopia in Robert Musil's novel The Man Without Qualities. Against an influential criticism by Lukács, who branded Musil a nostalgic and reactionary conservative, the paper argues that Utopia is the founding category of the novel: beside a pars destruens, the deconstruction of all the traditional values and categories, Musil proposes a pars construens, an endless recherche for a lost Totality. Musil's utopia, though, does not present a content, the picture of the "perfect city"; it is a utopia "without qualities", pure form, experiment, essay, error, not a state but a "mode", and therefore non-place, u-topia. Musil's utopian "mode" is to be individuated in the concept of possibility: the loss of all qualities in Musil's anti-hero opens the way to infinite possibilities, so that a man without qualities becomes a man-for-possibilities, a man-for-utopia. Lyman Tower Sargent, Victoria University of Wellington Eutopias and Dystopias of Science I propose to survey attitudes to science found in the English-language utopia from early in that tradition to the present. While the Manuels correctly identified a strong proscience stream in early utopianism, and Nell Eurich in her Science in Utopia: A Mighty

Design (1967) noted a positive scientific utopianism, I argue that the tradition has been more ambivalent about science. And, stressing the 20th century, I show how ambivalence turned to negativity. My survey begins with a man who clearly believed that science could bring about eutopia. Francis Bacon's New Atlantis is an explicit statement of the power of science properly used, and many other utopian writers in the 17th century made similar arguments. But even in the 18th century, when the ability of human reason to improve human life might seem unquestioned, Jonathan Swift inhabits his rational eutopia with horses, not humans. In the 19th century, when science and technology would seem to be driving all before them, there are many eutopias that question whether this is the correct direction. In the early 20th century Francis Galton seems to believe that eugenics properly applied can achieve a significantly better society, but almost coterminous with Galton, there is the rise of the dystopia, which regularly sees science as the culprit. Robert Savage, Monash University Space Opera. On Michael Tippett's New Year `Forget Tippett!' was critic Norman Lebrecht's advice to his readers at the beginning of this, the composer's centenary year. `Forget who?' was their probable response. Sir Michael Tippett's hundredth birthday is nonetheless as good an occasion as any to revisit his fifth and final opera, New Year (1989), which thematises precisely the utopian potential of anniversary celebrations. Whether the opera is worth revisiting is another matter: premiered to bored applause and lacklustre reviews, it gained a measure of notoriety when its telecast attracted the lowest ratings ever recorded on BBC2. Tippett's libretto, about a dashing space pilot from `Nowhere Tomorrow' who voyages to presentday Terror Town in search of orphan girl Jo-Ann, was lambasted at the time for its sheer daftness, while his music was accused of a bland eclecticism too trendy for its own good. There have been no performances since, and it seems highly unlikely that `Forget-MeNot', the opera's flying saucer, will be sighted in the foreseeable future. So why not forget Tippett's utopian space opera? As I hope to show, this question elides with another: why not forget the utopian space of opera itself? Paul Sheehan, Macquarie University Annihilating Endgame: Beckett and the Imagination of Disaster The works of Samuel Beckett imagine the future through its impossibility; the `end of the world' topos is practically a given in his work, particularly the plays he produced during the Cold War years of the late 1950s and early 1960s. In this paper, I outline Beckett's problematic relationship with the science fiction genre through Endgame (1956), his most concerted articulation of the `impossible future'. The nihilating tendencies in this work are then set alongside theoretical speculations about nuclear apocalypse in writings by Karl Jaspers, Maurice Blanchot and Jacques Derrida. Using these reflections, I argue that Beckett's dystopian optic embeds him more deeply in the genre than most orthodox SF writers, in such a way as to cast doubt on the viability of the genre and its ability to imagine the future.

Marco Soares, University of São Paolo Robert Altman's Quintet and the Regressive Side of Modernization Robert Altman's "worst" film ­ a story set in a distant future, sometime in the midst of the Ice Age ­ strikes an uncomfortable note in its depiction of a future dominated by technology and its underside. The contrast goes beyond the depiction of dystopia in its emphasis on the fact that someone must pay the price for the benefits of so-called modernization. The theme has become more urgent since the 1970s, when the film was made, and not only for those living in the "periphery of capitalism" under the aegis of neo-liberalism. This presentation will explore the film and its possible political implications. Glen Spoors, Edith Cowan University Enlightenment as Utopia? A Metaphor of Compassionate Agency in Industrialised Cultures This paper draws from aspects of Buddhist philosophy and practice to explore a metaphor for utopian praxis that is defined not in terms of an immediate expectation of political change, but rather the experience of, and motives for, compassion towards others. The metaphor of "flickering utopias" describes evanescent moments of morally significant acts or exchanges experienced as metonymic of what Buddhists call `Enlightenment.' The theoretical implications of the metaphor are explored in relation to the discursive construction of "desire" and "subversion" in Cultural Studies. It is argued that the metaphor of "flickering utopias" complements traditional notions of utopian praxis by foregrounding some theoretical aporia as well as providing a therapeutically valuable model of moral and political agency in disaffected, secular mass culture. Mikhail Suslov, European University Institute (Florence) The Phenomenon of the Conservative Utopia: Imagined Empires in the Late Nineteenth to Early Twentieth Centuries The conservative Utopia is understood as an ideology, which is able to overthrow the existing order in the name of the traditional society. The hypothesis is that the conservative Utopia can be a mitigated form of modernization in the semi-industrialized countries, combining traditions and novelties in order to introduce more gradual path towards the modernity. But this way out inevitably implies the military weakness. From this point of view only huge empire can overweight the industrial might of the potential enemies. That is why imagining the empire was an obsessive subject for many conservatives, especially in Russia (pan-Slavism), in Serbia ("The Greater Serbia") and in Germany (pan-Germanism). So the ultimate aim of my work is to contemplate the possibilities of mastering the alternative map of the Europe in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. Rudolphus Teeuwen, National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan Sabotaging Utopia: J.G. Ballard's Rushing to Paradise

With his concept of the "degenerative utopia", Louis Marin has drawn attention to one way in which utopia's critical power ­ its ability to point to reality's flaws as directions for progress ­ can be dissipated. A "degenerative" utopia is a utopia turned into myth, "a narration which fantastically `resolves' a fundamental contradiction in a given society." This turn from utopia to myth can be considered a turn from discipline to relaxation. Utopias are dreams of discipline, but degenerative utopias advocate relaxation because the need for utopian work has supposedly been superseded by what is already, properly perceived, reality's perfection. J. G. Ballard's Rushing to Paradise (1994) is such a degenerative utopia. But rather than being a utopian representation that is entirely caught up in a dominant ideology, this novel engineers the degeneration of utopia. The narrative voice sabotages the subversive power of utopia by turning it against utopia itself. Ballard's staging of sabotage is cynical in the sense that it questions utopia's transcendental premise, the belief in not-yet-present possibilities of societal fairness and virtue. Dimitris Vardoulakis, Monash University The Politics of Science and the Fictions of the Political In his novel Poor Things, Alasdair Gray describes the vitalization of a young woman's dead body. However, the ingenious scientist who performs the revitalization substitutes the brain of the corpse with that of the foetus in her womb. The result is a creature named Bella, and a novel which would fit the description of `science fiction'. However, the situation is further complicated by the novel's decidedly political bent. As Bella's mental capacity develops, so does also her sense of politics. This paper will argue that Gray in Poor Things puts into question two fictions of the political: namely, a politics of autonomy based on rationality and a politics of automaticity emanating from a state of nature. Jean-François Vernay, Tolouse Le-Mirail University Projections and Utopianism in Contemporary Australian Fiction: Toward an Exploration of the Paranoid Mind In our age of anxiety where protection from putative nightmare scenarios is offered as a substitute for the dreams and hopeful promises of yesteryear, utopianism is waxing fruitful in contemporary Australian fiction. A closer look at four narratives published in the past twenty-five years (Gerald Murnane's The Plains, 1982; Peter Carey's The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith, 1994; Christopher Koch's Out of Ireland, 1999 and Rodney Hall's The Last Love Story, 2004) will allow us to explore the paramount concept of projection which lies at the core of utopianism. In their Meliora sequamur quest, utopian thinkers appear somewhat as silent tyrants laying the foundations for the birth of a totalitarian society. Millicent Vladiv-Glover, Monash University Russian Dystopias

As the literary canon which arguably generated the fist modern fictional dystopia ­ Zamyatin's We, Russian literature provides a literary-historical context in which the genre can be read not in political terms but in terms of the representation of modern subjectivity. The dystopian world of mechanised and regulated social interaction is the apparatus which `kills' desire, beyond ordinary repression. The object displaces the subject, propelling the latter into `alienation'. Read in linear fashion, the plots of Zamyatin's We, Mikhail Bulgakov's Master and Margarita, or Alexander Kabakov's No Return may be seen as critiques of totalitarianism. However, read deconstructively, these works militate not for social and political utopia but for the primacy of the `real' in the imaginary. This `real', represented as both 'beyond' the structured mechanised dystopian world, as well as, tautologically, as a product of it, becomes the cornerstone of the `new' (modern) ethical self. Such a reading is reinforced through a comparison with H G Wells' science fiction novels, which eulogise a technology of the future without a trace of alienation. The `real' in the symbolic is parodied, in a doubled-up dialectic of alienation, in the post-Soviet works of Vladimir Sorokin. His novel Four stout hearts (1992) parodies the Kantian categorical imperative, read as the teleology of the sign, driven by a (Hegelian) `desire' of the `other' as an object - the `objet petit a' ­ represented literally as four pressed meat cubes obtained through a process of voluntary self-mutilation and `reduction' of the subject. Robyn Walton, LaTrobe University Constructed Beauty, Performed Terror, 1884/1948 If, in our imprisonment in a non-utopian present without historicity or futurity, we attempt to turn away from contemplating the frustrating ideological closure of the system, in what direction can we look? If we want to avoid nihilism and neurosis, and want to fill our minds with some finer vision, do we batter at the doors shutting us out from the future, or at the tomb wall closing us off from the past? Or do we reach in some other direction: making a vertical recourse to spirituality, for instance? This paper concentrates on some conservative authorial minds which in periods of socio-political impasse or crisis trended backward with a yearning, aesthetic nostalgia. It uses the metaphor of archaeology to discuss public places that found their way into these writers' works ­ places that were sites of constructed beauty (in the form of embellished building facades and enhanced images of the human form) and of planned terrorism in the cause of reform. In selected fiction and play texts from the late Victorian and Edwardian periods in Europe I identify tensions between authors' traditionalist, anti-democratic leanings and their interest in those impressionable and idealistic `little men' willing to destroy persons, property and themselves in the name of social improvement. A contrast is then drawn with some writing published soon after the Second World War in Europe and North America. In this time of rebuilding on sites of recent terror, and of dismantling and realigning in other regions, expressions of beauty in facades and human images were not always so readily differentiable from expressions of uneasiness. Under these conditions the Old World saw renewed expressions of cultural nostalgia alongside austere, doctrinaire social programmes, and the New World sought economic consolidation, while much of the impetus for trying to envisage and achieve a new social order passed to the

decolonising nations. But would the decolonising peoples' hopes amount to much more than nostalgia for the idealised beauty of pre-colonial conditions? Ariane Welch, University of Sydney `Offal and the Imagination': Marxist Utopia in Louis Zukofsky's `A'-7 and -9 This paper explains movements in Louis Zukofsky's long poem, "A" in relation to Marxist Utopia. Zukofsky, a modernist and a communist, refuses both the protofacist politics of Pound, and the dominant communist aesthetic of socialist realism. Using linguistic analysis and Jameson's dialectical criticism as outlined especially in Marxism and Form, the paper examines the "ideology of form" in "A", arguing that poetic and grammatical form is best understood as "the final articulation of the deeper logic of content itself." Zukofsky's construction of "art and/as labor" transforms the content of Marx's commodity relations into grammatical form in his poetry, operating dialectical transformations of content/form and subject/object to present an architecture for a world which is dynamic rather than static, immanent rather than reified, and in which artists and workers (and artists as workers) labour, transform and interact with the object world through the lens of an unalienated subjectivity. Pat Wheeler, University of Hertfordshire Metaphor or Prophecy? Dystopian Future in Geoff Ryman's The Child Garden and Maggie Gee's The Ice People One of the most significant trends in science fiction writing at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century is the pre-eminence of dystopian futures and the virtual disappearance of utopian fiction. This paper will discuss two novels, The Ice People and The Child Garden, both written at the end of the twentieth century, both reflecting that impulse towards a dystopian future and both speculating on the continuing evolution of human beings in futures that offer very different social and public environments. In doing so, the paper will also explore Patrick Parrinder's argument that women's science fiction tends towards the metaphorical, rather than the prophetic (that their narratives move more towards analogies or parables) and that maleauthored texts tend towards the prophetic, rather than the metaphorical. The paper will explore whether science fiction, in imagining future worlds, does indeed move away from the prophetic to the mythic. It will argue that women writers such as Gee (amongst others) use analogy and parable, but that they frequently use these allegorical representations to highlight very specific political positions including those of gendered social and sexual relationships. I will argue that both texts use prophecy and parable to offer speculative, transformative and highly politicised readings of contemporary society, through their imagined futures. Jessica Whyte, Monash University Preempting Action: The Future as Permanent Emergency In George Bush's words, `the 20th century ended with a single surviving model of human progress, based on non-negotiable demands of human dignity, the rule of law, limits on

the power of the state, respect for women and private property and free speech and equal justice and religious tolerance.' This model of progress is conceived as the spread across the globe of `freedom and democracy', in the limited forms of the free market and the ballot box. In much of the Bush Administration's rhetoric this progress appears as the inevitable product of a capitalist economy, which is leading us steadily towards the end of history (a notion Jacques Ranciere has referred to as a `Marxism in reverse'). This paper will therefore examine the conflict between this notion of the inevitably progressive nature of capital, and the Bush Administration doctrine of preemption, which conceives of the future as a realm of danger which can neither be planned for nor simply allowed to unfold but must be acted on in the present. It will argue that despite the rhetoric of inevitability that accompanies neoliberal and neoconservative discourses, every prediction for the future, as Arendt points out, is a prediction of what will occur if people do not act. Thus it will locate the importance of preemption in the US administration's desire to ensure that no act is possible, no contingency remains, nothing can prevent the extension of the market which will enable the future to unfold according to its telos. To do this it will examine the conception of history as inevitable yet threatened that is epitomized in the statement that ends Bush's most recent State of the Union Address: `The road of Providence is uneven and unpredictable ­ yet we know where it leads: It leads to freedom.' Linda Wight, James Cook University Not My Kind of Place: Imagination of an Alternative Future in Carol Emshwiller's Critical Dystopia Rejecting the goal of imagining a concrete, `realistic' future, critical dystopias engage with the future by focusing on the process of imagination, alerting readers to the dystopian vision of where we might be headed, and that we have the opportunity to choose otherwise. Carol Emshwiller's Boys (2003) demonstrates this ability to both critique the present, and engage readers in the process of imagining an alternative future by warning of the dystopia that awaits if we do not. "Boys" denaturalises contemporary Western assumptions about masculinity, warning of its dystopian consequences. Any warning, however, necessarily implies the possibility of alternative choice. Boys highlights this with the colonel's choice between accepting his society's gender ideologies, or pursuing an alternative. His incapacity to grasp an alternative within his dystopian context, however, reveals the capacity of critical dystopias to warn readers to imagine an alternative future while the choice is still available to them in the not-yetdystopian present. Lucy Wright, University of Melbourne Spirits and Insects: The Nature Vision of Sci-Fi Anime Much of the sci-fi anime that emerges from Japan's booming animation industry displays a persistent concern with postmodern spiritual questions and ideas. With a culture steeped in Shintoism and Buddhism, many Japanese anime (and manga and video games) carry with them tropes of animism, Gaia-like ideologies and syncretic philosophies that transcend Judeo-Christian style dualism. At the same time, technology in Japan is

ubiquitous and symbiotic. This project will explore the holistic visions of the future offered by two sci-fi texts Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 1984) and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (dir. Hironobu Sakaguchi, 2001), particularly looking at the use of spirits and animals as signifiers of a simultaneously modern and ancient worldview. Wei-Yun Yang, Yuan Ze University, Taiwan Science and Myth: Re-imagination of the Future in Ursula Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed Ursula Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed were published in 1969 and 1974 respectively, presenting ambiguous visions of the future world. Reimagining the future, Le Guin creates different constructs of strange societies that represent critical revisions of the traditional utopia. Both novels employ the framework of journey between the two worlds to enable the two protagonists, Genly Ai and Shevek, to recognize the deficiencies of their original perception. The shifting between the two worlds expands the travellers' consciousness; moreover, through two modes of discourses ­ science and myth, the perception into the truth of Reality changes the future direction of the original worlds. Reading two novels as complementary opposites forming a whole, the reader can gain insight into the nature of the mind, in which science and mythology are essential to our understanding of the true Reality. Raymond A. Younis, Central Queensland University Towards (E-)utopia? (At the End of the Information Superhighway) Science fiction, it may be argued, has engaged increasingly with the possibilities offered by the emergence of the internet and cyberspace (the Matrix Trilogy is perhaps the most notable example). And some of the most important and interesting recent debates concerning cyberspace have focussed on the utopian or dystopian implications and possibilities. On the one hand, some have argued that cyberspace will increase choice and promote democratic or egalitarian values and principles more broadly even as it ushers in a new age of unprecedented global co-operation and cross cultural cohesion; on the other hand, some have argued that the `local" will be eclipsed by the "global', that "knowledge" will be eclipsed by "information" and that a population will emerge which will be "information-rich" but "knowledge-poor", that unprecedented divisions will appear across the globe as the digital divide persists and expands and utopian hopes become increasingly distant and inaccessible . This paper will focus on the utopian and dystopian imaginaries in such debates, how science fiction films incorporates these elements, and what such works suggest about utopian and dystopian imaginaries, our futures, the things that are believed to be "fated" or "necessary", and the "unforeseeable". PANEL: Lost Things: Children in Dystopia Children are emblematic of imagined futures by virtue of the lives ahead of them. In the popular imagination they are an impetus for change and their very existence offers a sense of hope for the future. This conception of the child militates against the dystopic impulse in ways that significantly refigure the genre in its children's literature

manifestation, particularly by contesting assumptions about intended child audiences. Through the analysis of an Australian picture book, a British children's novel, and an American young adult novel, this panel reads critical dysopias for children as prototypical texts of risk society. The books examined here all telescope their cultural critiques into futures that challenge current ideological agendas including: incarcerating refugees, predatory global politics, and capitalist excesses of consumption. This panel, then, addresses the question: In the absence of a happy ending for western civilization, what kind of children can survive in dystopia? Debra Dudek, Deakin University Glimpsing Utopia: The Child, the Artist, and the Hybrid Custodian in Shaun Tan's The Lost Thing In Shaun Tan's multi-award winning Science Fiction picture book The Lost Thing, the child narrator lives in an industrialized homogeneous world where buildings and people echo each other in their rectangular uniformity. When the boy finds a lost thing on the beach, he searches to find a place for this monstrous tentacled red being, who defies the ethos of the boy's repetitive world. Seemingly, the only place of belonging for the lost thing is a misspelled utopia, which exists behind closed doors at the end of an anonymous alley. In this paper, I shall interrogate the differences between an on-the-streets dystopia and a behind-closed-doors utopia and shall argue that The Lost Thing criticises conditions under the Howard government, which do not allow for the expression of radical difference. Elizabeth Bullen, Deakin University Mortal Engines: Predatory Cities and Municipal Darwinism In Phillip Reeve's dystopic future, cities like London move on traction rollers traversing the world as `hunting ground' in relentless pursuit of other cities to devour. Such borderless territory is emblematic of globalization especially as the captured prey cities are cannibalised for everything of value while their inhabitants are made slaves. This dystopic depiction of insatiable greed is arguably emblematic of the abuses inherent in late capitalism's exploitation of impoverished countries and their workers. The novel calls the process Municipal Darwinism in order to coopt the `natural' principal of survival of the fittest into an extreme capitalist model. As destructive to community as social Darwinism, the outcomes of this ideological monstrosity are holocaustic for the weak and oppressed. The subjugated child protagonists of the text are a case in point. They must balance their own happiness against the weight of moral righteousness, mobilizing political rhetorics that will be at the crux of this reading of the novel. Elizabeth Parsons, Deakin University Feed: The Dystopia of Eleventh-Hour Capitalism "Set against the backdrop of America in its dying days", the teenagers of M. T. Anderson's Feed have been blue-toothed to the internet through an implant in their brains and bombarded by direct-line advertising and propaganda from infancy. Their synaptic

pathways have formed according to the laws of the Feed corporation while at SchoolTM they learn how best to shop with their cyborg technology. This unequivocally dystopic novel for adolescents graphically illustrates David Harvey's contention that the age of disposable goods produces an environment of equally disposable relationships and values (1990, p.341). Drawing on Zygmunt Bauman's Society Under Siege (2002), this paper will interrogate reader subject positions constructed in Feed as fluctuating between the activist and the bystander. Readers are then forced to mediate between these alternative perspectives, in both cases faced with the horrific logical conclusion of contemporary western capitalism. PANEL: Perversely Persistent Visions This panel explores a range of dystopian texts and films -- including The Matrix, versions of The Thing and Dark City -- which share recurrent anxieties about the cinematic and textual figuration of the future. These anxieties emerge through the formal and thematic modalities of the `remainder', the `excessive', the `grotesque' and the `sickening.' These will be seen to emerge precisely out of the graphic, cinematic and textual figurations of the future in the works under consideration. In each paper, these paradoxical figurations will be examined for their protean persistence, from the cluster of "edge of the construct" films in the 1990s, to the continuing inability of the cinematic image to body forth the post-human other body, to the iterations of a persistently flawed vision of the technological "things to come" across the history of a "classic" SF story. Katherine Greenwood, University of Adelaide The Unbearable Vastness of Being: Ambivalent Renditions of the Real in Popular Dystopian Film The decade approaching the new millennium saw an increase in popular films that questioned the authenticity of reality, and speculated about what lies beyond it. This proliferation of dystopian films (including The Matrix and Dark City) indicates a fascination with the idea of being on the border between a constructed reality and the real it conceals. The ability these films have to capture the social imagination could "rest on the desire to confront the remainder, or to be confronted with that which is in excess of signification" (Doane 236). This paper will consider the central paradox of giving form to the ineffable represented in these dystopian visions, in light of Jameson's suggestion that the attempt to render a complete utopian (or dystopian) future is belied by our fundamental incapacity to do so (1982), and how this suggestion is particularly pertinent for the cinematic medium. Joy McEntee, University of Adelaide `Residual Self-image' and the Problem of Theorising the Cinematic `Grotesque' The Matrix suffers from one signal failure of imagination in showing us the shape of things to come. In the Construct, free of the restraints of corporeality, Neo could be anything, but he so resembles his `real' self that this has to be explained: `Residual selfimage.' Perhaps this failure to realise the possibilities of the CGI body represents an intrinsic difficulty cinema has in figuring forth the grotesque... but perhaps there are also

problems in applying some existent theorisations of the grotesque to cinema. Theorisations that take the grotesque to represent that which is becoming, that which is without finished form, do not account for the insistent `realistic' completeness of the photographic image. This paper asks: "What are the possibilities for the cinema of figuring the grotesque as `concept without form'?"(Drew) and "what are the limitations of existing theorisations of the grotesque for thinking through its cinematic manifestations?" Patrick Crogan, University of Adelaide `...being technical': 3 moments of technological `being-sick' from `Who Goes There?' to John Carpenter's The Thing via The Thing from Another World. This paper will explore a micro-history of anxiety concerning the technological future-- the technological as future--in the three iterations of the "thing" story. In each can be glimpsed both a vivid vision of a dystopian technofuture and the limitations of that vision. In "Who Goes There?" the scientist Blair is "being technical" when he alerts the crew to the disturbing sub-atomic life of the thing-corpse. The 1951 film turns Blair into the bloodless Carrington who admires the new vegetable order of the alien "super-carrot". In Carpenter's film, Blair sits at his computer, modelling the thing as a sickening, viralesque contagion. Through elaborating this science fictional micro-history, I will reflect on Bernard Stiegler's insight that being human is being technical, and being technical is "being-sick". That this "being-sick" is constituted precisely in the indeterminacy of the future of being technical is something these things envision across this historical trajectory.



37 pages

Report File (DMCA)

Our content is added by our users. We aim to remove reported files within 1 working day. Please use this link to notify us:

Report this file as copyright or inappropriate