THE OFFICIAL Volume 4, Number 1, 2020 


Toni Ross: Slow aesthetics and deanthropomorphism as ecocritical strategies in David Claerbout’s ​The pure necessity​ (2016)

Keywords: David Claerbout, video art, ecocriticism, wildlife documentaries, Disney’s The Jungle Book  

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his paper analyses the portrayal of wildlife in ​The pure necessity (2016), an experimental video by Belgian artist David Claerbout that re-imagines Disney’s famous animated film ​The Jungle Book (1967). Aesthetic features of the video will be contrasted with the depiction of wildlife in the Disney film and recent ‘blue-chip’ natural history documentaries. I will argue that the adoption of a slow aesthetic and a retreat from anthropomorphism in ​The pure necessity presents a stark contrast to modern anthropocentric attitudes embedded in contemporary wildlife documentaries and ​The Jungle Book​. In this respect, Claerbout’s video will be interpreted as a significant contribution to ecocritical thinking and art making.

Joshua H. Adams, Damian Schofield: It’s the End of the World and You Watch It: A Brief History of Disaster Themed Media

Key words: Disaster media, history, pandemic, cinema, video games, COVID-19

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This paper aims to present a brief history of disaster themed media, in particular focusing on cinema and video games. Specific sections also discuss pandemic themed cinema and video games. The media under discussion is mainly from the United States and this paper predominately predominantly discusses the media from a western cultural perspective. The paper posits that the prevalence of disaster themed media in popular culture is closely correlated with ‘real world’ events. These disaster and post-apocalyptic narratives provide the consumer with safe spaces where they can metaphorically deal with the tensions and anxieties of the present world. This paper intends to discuss disaster themes in popular culture, specifically cinema and video games, and to provide some insight into the consumption of disaster themed media during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. This paper is the first in a set of two publications, a more focused examination of media consumption during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found in the companion paper, “It’s the End of the World and You Watch It: Media in the Time of COVID-19.”

Joshua H. Adams, Damian Schofield: It’s the End of the World and You Watch It: Media Consumption in the Time of COVID-19

Key words: Disaster media, consumption, pandemic, experiment, cinema, video games, COVID-19

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This paper presents the results of an experiment undertaken by the authors to capture media consumption trends during the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak. These results are correlated with the demographics, and individual situations of the experimental participants. The overall aim is to correlate the media consumption reported by the experimental participants with national viewing trends and historical data to show that there is an increased consumption of disaster themed media during times of crisis. The research intends to differentiate this increase in disaster themed media consumption by correlating it with the differing circumstances of the viewers. Specifically, whether they watch movies and/or play video games on their own and whether they currently have more free time to consume media. This paper is the second in a set of two publications, a history of disaster themed media consumption can be found in the companion paper, “It’s the End of the World and You Watch It: A Brief History of Disaster Themed Media.”

Shaun Wilson: Representing Climate Activism through Digital Media before and during COVID-19 lockdowns

Key words: Climate activism, digital media, design, internet, COVID-19

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Climate activism in the digital space is recognised as a mechanism active since the late 1980s yet it is only in recent times that the academy is coming to terms with its presence through digital media with any serious measure of analysis and enquiry. This paper acknowledges the contributions made on the topic over its forty year digital history but will instead focus on the recent considerations through the contributions of activism in the online space. Of interest in this regard is to understand the presence and role of climate activism in social and digital media at a more meaningful level through the two periods of before and during the COVID-19 lockdowns.