Shawn Gilmore is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and writes on comics, prose, film, and the like, and teaches the same. His work on the Vault of Culture can be found here. Examples of his work before this site can be found at the Narrative String Theory tumblr and the Tower-ing Fiction tumblr.
Amazon’s recent series The Boys (2019), an adaptation of a comic-book series of the same name, features The Seven Tower (owned by Vought International), a digital creation built to blend in with the New York City skyline while also extending the show’s real-world filming location in Toronto.
Shawn Gilmore examines Canadian comics artist and illustrator Fiona Smyth’s “Skin of Fate,” originally published in her magazine Nocturnal Emissions #3 (1991) and #4 (1992), using the surreal tale as an introduction to some of the shared stylistic and conceptual elements in her work.
Ryan Sherwood is a PhD Candidate in English and Cinema Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He writes on issues of authorship and medium specificity. His work on the Vault of Culture can be found here.
In the final (for now) entry in his Digital Ghosts series, Ryan Sherwood argues that in the “Mechanic/Realtor” episode of Nathan for You, the chimera of infinite filmability meshes fruitfully with a bold performance style—a gelid numbness that suggests itself as the only suitable response to the apprehension of the otherworldly via digital technology.
Ryan Sherwood argues that Michael Almereyda’s Hamlet (2000) and Steven Soderberg’s K Street (HBO, 2003) work in tandem, both obliquely associate celluloid’s acquiescence to video with some sort of filial betrayal, warranting visits from beyond the grave.
In this first entry in his Digital Ghosts series, Ryan Sherwood examines the ways in which the slippery essence of the 21st-century still image—not technically “photographic” and only ever temporarily immune to some animating force—serves as the Twin Peaks: The Return’s foundational aesthetic principle.
David Taylor listens to plenty of music and occasionally writes about that. His work on the Vault of Culture can be found here.
David Taylor provides an entry to Fennesz’s recent albums, in particular Agora (Touch, 2019): his “approach to the musical past is to transform and disfigure it in flight toward new forms of expression, then these records demonstrate a similar approach to geography, as the coordinates and specificities of place get dissolved and flow out into oceans of pure sound.”
In the final (for now) entry of his Astronoetic Cinema series, Michael Uhall argues that Alien: Covenant (dir. Ridley Scott, 2017) presents a radical rejection of the human, via its commitment to radically speculative alternatives to the human – or, in other words, to posing and, possibly, answering the posthuman question in substantive terms.
In this penultimate entry of his Astronoetic Cinema series, Michael Uhall argues that Prometheus (dir. Ridley Scott, 2012) presents a fully-realized version of astronoetic pessimism, denying the human-centered search for meaning, ultimately contructing a world in which humans exist as an afterthought, a byproduct barely worth acknowledging.
In this entry of his Astronoetic Cinema series, Michael Uhall argues that Interstellar (dir. Christopher Nolan, 2014) enlarges the anthropocentric vision of Contact (1997) into a full-blown anthropological myth of human dominion over nature that founds itself upon the primal self-creation of the human.
In this entry of his Astronoetic Cinema series, Michael Uhall argues that Gravity (2013) complicates the invocation of astronoetics, instead presenting space as an inhumane, terrifying place, totally indifferent to human concerns or scales.
In this entry of his Astronoetic Cinema series, Michael Uhall argues that Contact (1997) is structured around a desire or need to direct one’s earthly senses toward the skies – indeed, toward the cosmos as a whole and one’s place in it – in order to achieve both emotional resolution and scientific assurance.
In this entry of his Astronoetic Cinema series, Michael Uhall argues that the relationship between the human and technics is often at the heart of both 2001 and astronoetic cinema in general, as seen throughout the film and its contemporaries.
A theoretical introduction to Michael Uhall’s series, “Astronoetic Cinema,” in which he explores how representations of the human encounter with outer space embody, propose, and work through various submerged claims about specifically human agency, identity, and purpose, across a range of films.
Kelly Williams argues that both BioShock (2017) and The Evil Within 2 (2017) use the archetype of the mad artist and the mandate to “appreciate the art,” demanding complicity from players, who are forced to comply with a system created by their respective artists (the game developers), following a scripted plot progression, inhabiting a virtual world with prescribed limits, and using mechanics that are all designed by the developers.
Kelly Williams argues that elements of the original Dark Phoenix Saga in its comic-book form—namely the presence of Jason Wyngarde/Mastermind and the illusions he casts to control Jean Grey—continue to be missing from film adaptions, such as the upcoming Dark Phoenix (dir. Simon Kinberg, 2019), suggesting that women cannot handle cosmic abilities and that once they gain power, corruption is inevitable.
Kelly Williams argues that the “Sonnie’s Edge” episode of the Netflix sci-fi animated anthology series Love Death + Robots (2019) both invokes, and ultimately falls prey to, problematic tropes that limit its ability to consider female agency, in ways that serve as commentary on the struggle of the sci-fi genre more broadly.
Thor’s figuring it all out in Team Thor: While You Were Fighting: A Thor Mockumentary, a short set after Captain America: Civil War (dirs. The Russos, 2016).
It certainly seems all connected (in the darkest possible way) between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica; illustration from the Vox article, “Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica crisis keeps growing” (link).
Entries to be added.