Zombosium Programme


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programme of the Zombosium. 28th October 2011 University of Winchester

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Zombosium Programme

  1. 1. WelcomeWelcome to the Zombosium. This symposium is dedicated to that mostunloved of the undead, the humble zombie. Yet despite the relative weaknesswhen compared to their gothic undead cousins zombies have acquired a newcurrency in contemporary times that werewolves, vampires and ghouls couldonly dream of.Zombies span the media: They have escaped their traditional environment ofcelluloid, invaded online and digital video, infested games, contaminatedmobile content and now no field of media remains uninfected.This proliferation poses many new questions: what do zombies represent?What fears or neurosis do they articulate? Are they tied to particular socialphenomena – serving as a barometer of angst or helplessness in the face ofnew times of uncertainty? Who are zombies – are they us or are they an‗other‘ to be expunged? Is their decrepit physicality illustrative of a rejection ofthe myth of physical beauty? Can zombies run? What is the best weaponagainst them? Do we really have to destroy the brain?We hope to address these and many other questions of zombies at theZombosium. The papers presented here cover a range of topics and theorganistaion of the panels hopefully brings together scholars with convergentinterests.We are also hosting a showing of Dawn of the Dead (2004) starting at about5.30pm in the Stripe Auditorium on campus. Following this we will findsomewhere to eat and have a drink or two.I hope you enjoy the event.Marcus Leaning
  2. 2. Programme Performance Gym Boardroom9.30 – 10.00 Tea / Coffee Welcome: Professor Liz Stuart, Senior10.00 Pro Vice Chancellor, University of Winchester. Keynote: Ian Conrich: An Infected Population: Zombie Culture and the Modern10.05- 10.45 Monstrous The Walking Dead… I ♥ Zombies: Zombie Fans and Chair: Laura Hubner Creatives Chair: Ian Conrich Kerry Gough Dead Special: Zombies, SFX and Making the Undead Paul Manning Zomedies, digtal fan Respectable in the Reception of AMC‘s cultures and the politics of taste The Walking Dead (2010)10.45-12.15 Dominik Maeder The Walking Dead, True Blood and the Survival of Marcus Leaning Zombie Apocalypse Television Survivor Communities on Mumsnet and Youtube Darren Reed and Ruth Penfold- Mounce The Zombification of the Elizabeth Switaj Night Wreck: A Hybrid Sociological Imagination: The Walking Creative-Critical Presentation Dead as Social Science Fiction12.15 – 1.15 Lunch (Huurrhhh! Brains!!) Be Afraid… The Thinking Dead… Chair: Marcus Leaning Chair: Shaun Kimber Laura Hubner The Fear of Zombie Julia Round Zombies, absence and Flesh Eaters: From Video Nasty to Blu- existentialism: Are we the walking dead? ray1.15 – 2.45 Jordan Lloyd and Roger Cooper Z- Gary Farnell The Current Conjuncture Rated:Zombie-proof your own home and Its Monsters‘ Chris Farnell What Are We Afraid Of: Yari Lanci Zombie 2.0 subjectivity: a new Hotel Rwanda as a Zombie Movie dromological paradigm2.45-3.15 Tea / Coffee Zombie Environment and planning A Zombie Environment and planning B Chair: Paul Manning Chair: Marcus Leaning Christian Lenz ―Never to Return Emma Dyson Space and Place in Home‖: Nomadic Tendencies and the Zombie Culture: How fictional film inspires Notion of Home in Dead Set dissent, celebration and the carnivalesque in social spaces.3.15 – 4.45 Antonio Sanna Consumerism and the Undead City: Silent Hill and the Toby Venables Locating the Zombie: Resident Evil Films Landscapes of the Living Dead Shaun Kimber Zombies are us: Zombiedom and Media & Film Education within British Higher Education Stripe Auditorium5.30 Film screening of Dawn of the Dead (2004) with an introduction by Ian Conrich
  3. 3. Keynote Paper - Boardroom, 10.00 - Introduced by Marcus LeaningIan Conrich, University of EssexAn Infected Population: Zombie Culture and the Modern MonstrousLike a contagion, the modern horror film has spread from the screen - where itwas relatively contained - and into the streets and homes beyond. Horrormovies have now successfully penetrated comic books, computer games, toystores, and fancy dress shops, with innocent children seduced by theopportunity to wear replica costumes of the screens most hideous creatures.Leading this monster invasion is a zombie culture that has infected a willingpopulation, albeit a hungry horde of part-timers feeding off a consumerculture.The recent rapid growth in the number of zombie films has been matched bythe emergence of a zombie culture, which has seen a series of zombie walksacross the UK in Birmingham, Bristol, Brighton, Newcastle and Leicester. Thezombie walks are a development of the flash mob transgressions, with a DIYethic encouraged through home-made blood-strewn clothes and decay-effectmakeup, which is celebrated through a parade presenting creativity andingenuity. Zombie ingenuity is certainly in the merchandise supporting thiscontagion, with zombie energy drinks (crimson coloured and sold in bloodbags), remote controlled zombies (operated by a hand-held brain), andgarden zombie sculptures that give the appearance that the living dead arepushing up through your lawn.This paper will aim to corral a range of these specimens, focusing on thezombie walks and zombie merchandise to understand in what ways thepopulation has become infected and how a zombie culture has created amodern monstrous.
  4. 4. Parallel Panel 1 Boardroom 10.45-12.15 The Walking Dead…Chair: Laura HubnerKerry Gough Dead Special: Zombies, SFX and Making the UndeadRespectable in the Reception of AMC‟s The Walking Dead (2010) KerryGoughKerry Gough, Birmingham City UniversityOriginating from the ongoing comic book series by Robert Kirkman (2003-),AMC‘s The Walking Dead (2010) is the latest resurrection in the zombificationof culture. In an era where a proliferation of comic book adaptation hassaturated the cinema screen, sfx technology has now allowed for the spreadof zombie culture within the blockbuster television environment (Gough,2007). This contagion has led to the infection of popular cultural reference anda permeation of low brow sensibility into high budget quality Americantelevision programming and content.With the writing and executive producer team of Frank Darabont and RobertKirkman, and Darabont directing, AMC continue to carve out a space for TheWaking Dead within the quality television schedule. Off the back of thesuccess of Mad Men (2007) and Breaking Bad (2008), The Walking Deadserves to capture a quality position amongst the US network schedule,harnessing its public in an effort to compete with HBO and Showtime throughits original high-quality drama series. Add to this an all-star cast; AndrewLincoln (This Life, Human Traffic, Love Actually, Teachers, Afterlife), JonBernthal (Night at the Museum 2, Num3ers, The Pacific), Sarah WayneCallies (Queens Supreme, Prison Break), Laurie Holden (The MagnificentSeven, The X Files, Fantastic Four, Silent Hill, The Mist, The Shield) andJeffrey DeMunn (Law and Order, The Green Mile, The Mist) – The WalkingDead has all the markings of quality blockbuster television. With a spatteringof sfx heritage from Greg Nicotero (Romero‘s Day of the Dead, Land of theDead and Survival of the Dead, From Dusk Till Dawn series, Sin City,Grindhouse, Death Proof, The Pacific) who trained under the legendary TomSavini, The Walking Dead marks out mainstream appeal for the zombieculture.Unlike coagulated zombie blood, the reception for the series has been warmand flowing, recognising the series as a representative marker of AMC‘ssuccessful bid towards quality television. AMC, in its mainstreaming ofzombies appeals to its horror tv fans, while expectations of blockbuster sfxprovide the necessary blockbusting elements. Reviewers have praised theseries‘ use of ‗traditional makeup FX instead of CGI‘ (nvillesanti, 2010)commending the series for ‗spectacular special effects that one would expectto see in a high budget Hollywood movie‘ (Brown, 2010). One revieweridentifies The Walking Dead as a ‗glorious super production of a tv series‘ inwhich ‗AMC has become a synonym for the highest possible quality in
  5. 5. entertainment‘ (fe_scolfaro, 2010), while another affirms that accolade inreferring to the series as ‗28 Day Later on tv‘ (Moviegeek, 2010). One thing forcertain, is blockbuster sfx‘s contribution to the zombie contagion ofmainstream television. Zombies plus sfx equals dead special, and with a newseries set to hit US screens later in 2011, in the words of LMFAO, ‗everydayI‘m shufflin‘‘ in anticipation of the next Zombie invasion and networkinfestation.
  6. 6. Dominik Maeder The Walking Dead, True Blood and the Survival ofTelevisionDominik Maeder, M.A. (Constance/Vienna)Experiencing the rapid breakthrough of the World Wide Web in the mid- andlate 90s, many Internet pioneers, media critics and TV executives all the samepredicted a foreseeable decline of television, ultimately to result in the deathof the outdated goggle-box (cf. Miller 2010: 175-186). Ten to 15 years later,those reports have proved to be greatly exaggerated. However, mediascholars still debate which shape the survival of television in the digital eratakes: Is it a resurrected ―Television after TV‖ (Spigel/Olsson 2004), anundead medium placed in a new media context (Gripsrud 2010) or rathersome form of non-physical content in search of a new body (Kompare 2006)?Instead of adding another theoretical approach to these comprehensiveconcepts, I shall conceive of the zombies and vampires depicted in thepopular US TV series The Walking Dead (AMC, 2010-) and True Blood (HBO,2008-) as reflexive televisual figures of transmission, serving as means ofrethinking television‟s status as a medium of transmission within the mediumitself. Therefore my presentation will focus on the specific modes oftransmission embodied in zombie and vampire „life‟: While bare zombie liferepresents a relentless threat operating through invasion, infection anderasure of subjectivity (Bishop 2009; Canavan 2010), romantically chargedvampire life remains menace and temptation, drug and cure at same time.Could we accordingly identify different ways of dealing with the digitization ofTV‟s mode of transmission within the two series?Works CitedBishop, Kyle (2009): ―Dead Man Still Walking: Explaining the ZombieRenaissance‖, in: Journal of Popular Film and Television, 37(1)/2009: 16-25Canavan, Gerry (2010): ―‟We Are the Walking Dead‟: Race, Time, andSurvival in Zombie Narrative‖, in: Extrapolation, 51(3)/2010: 431-453Gripsrud, Jostein (Ed.) (2010): Relocating Television. Television in the digitalcontext. London: RoutledgeKompare, Derek (2006): ―Publishing Flow: DVD Box Sets and theReconception of Television‖, in: Television & New Media, 7(4)/2006: 335-360Miller, Toby (2010): Television Studies. The Basics. London/New York:RoutledgeSpigel, Lynn/Olsson, Jan (Eds.) (2004): Television after TV. Essays on aMedium in Transition. Durham & London: Duke University Press
  7. 7. Darren Reed and Ruth Penfold-Mounce The Zombification of theSociological Imagination: The Walking Dead as Social Science FictionDarren Reed and Ruth Penfold-Mounce, University of YorkOsborne, Rose and Savage (2008: 531) make the observation that‗professional sociologists…are not the only people who investigate, analyse,theorise and give voice to…phenomena from a ―social‖ point of view‘. In thispaper we assert that the zombie genre is part of phenomena that shed lighton society through a non-scholarly format making it a form of social science-fiction (Penfold-Mounce, Beer and Burrows, 2009). Drawing on the AMCtelevision show The Walking Dead we will explore two key sociologicalthemes that are central to the series: emotion and mobility. These two themesare dominant in the narrative of The Walking Dead and have been used inmanner that enables a re-enchantment of the sociological imagination andplacing the show into a similar realm as the HBO series The Wire which hasbeen heralded as inherently ‗sociological‘ (Penfold-Mounce, Beer andBurrows, 2009.
  8. 8. Parallel Panel 2 MB2 10.45-12.15 I ♥ Zombies: Zombie Fans andCreativesChair: Ian ConrichPaul Manning Zomedies, digtal fan cultures and the politics of tastePaul Manning, University of WinchesterFollowing recent work by Kackman and others (2011) on the role of on-lineparatexts in structuring the uses and interpretations of contemporarytelevision drama, this paper will explore the on-line ecology of paratextsgenerated by the recent film Zombies of Mass Destruction. It will suggest thatthe particular features of the zombie film and, more specifically the zombiecomedy film or Zomedy, lend themselves to being the objects of discussionwithin the discursive fields sustained by on-line paratextual sites. Thesefeatures include genre conventions and audience expectations of pleasure,the political economic elements of production, and possibilities for politicalengagement within the spaces offered by the zombie text. Thus, a film suchas ZMD must be understood not simply as a text in isolation but a culturalformation, comprising of the ecology of the text and on-line paratexts. But‗Zomedies‘, particular those with a ‗political message‘ such as ZMD maygenerate significant tensions within fan communities because in the eyes ofsome both the comedic and political elements undercut traditional ‗zombinepleasures‘. These tensions may be exacerbated or accelerated by new mediaparatexts through which particular taste hierarchies are proposed, resistedand re-structured..
  9. 9. Marcus Leaning Zombie Apocalypse Survivor Communities on Mumsnet andYoutubeMarcus Leaning, University of WinchesterFaux-real texts have been a popular sub- genre within horror across a numberof media. In texts concerned with zombies the sub-genre has appeared infilms such as Diary of the Dead (Romero, 2008) and novels such as ZombieApocalypse (Jones, 2010). This paper considers how one variant of thistheme, Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guides (ZASGs) have been centralised,incorporated and extended within two distinct online communities.ZASGs have been a popular literary form for a number of years (Brooks,2003; Ma & Heller, 2010; Page, 2010; Seslick, 2010; Thomas & Thomas,2009). The genre has also manifested itself various other media forms suchas web pages and wikis (Marsden, 2007), downloadable guides (Johnson,2006) and even guides for playing zombie modifications on video gamespackaged as non-game zombie apocalypse survival guides (Lee & Miggels,2011). One interesting development has been the integration of ZASGsthemes with various forms of social networking communities – facebookgroups for example - and user generated content dissemination sites.The integration of ZASGs in both social networking and content disseminationsites has resulted in considerable peer-level communication between users ofthe sites.This paper details research on two such systems: a discussion thread on theMumsnet parenting website concerning how to survive the zombie apocalypseand comments arising from a Zombie Survival Guide video posted onYoutube.Initial findings indicate that there is a considerable disparity in to the level ofcontinuity of discussants in the two systems. It is argued that the centrality ofthe text to discussion is in converse relationship with the continuity of thecommunity – the more focussed the site is on a particular text the lesscohesive the emergent community is.Brooks, M. (2003). The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from theLiving Dead: Three Rivers Press.Johnson, D. (Ed.) (2006) How to Survive Zombies!!!! www.davefilms.usJones, S. (2010). Zombie Apocalypse! : Constable & Robinson Limited.Lee, S., & Miggels, B. (2011). Call of Duty Black Ops: Zombie Survival Guide- When gun juice simply isnt enough. Take this journal. . Retrieved 21August, 2011, from http://uk.xbox360.ign.com/articles/115/1159873p1.htmlMa, R., & Heller, Y. N. (2010). The Zombie Combat Manual: A Guide toFighting the Living Dead: Penguin Group USA.Marsden. (2007). Zombie Survival guide and Defense Wiki. Retrieved 07August, 2011, from http://www.zombiesurvivalwiki.com/
  10. 10. Page, S. T. (2010). The Official Zombie Handbook (UK: Severed Press.Romero, G. A. (Writer) (2008). Diary of the Dead. USA: Dimension Films.Seslick, D. (2010). Dr Dales Zombie Dictionary: The A-Z Guide to StayingAlive: Allison & Busby.Thomas, M. G., & Thomas, N. S. (2009). Zompoc: How to Survive a ZombieApocalypse: Swordworks.
  11. 11. Elizabeth Switaj Night Wreck: A Hybrid Creative-Critical PresentationElizabethElizabeth Switaj, Queen‘s University BelfastA train crashes, spilling unknown chemicals into the air. A nearby rural townsuffers heavy casualties overnight, as an isolated survivor is forced to kill hisneighbours, friends, and family members who have been transformed intomonsters. In the 1500-word short story, ―Night Wreck,‖ I present a tale ofhorror that follows this cliché sequence of events but with a twist: the second-person narrative is unreliable. Events may not have taken place the way theyare described and, even if they did, the ―zombies‖ may in fact have beenunundead—that is to say, merely human.I will open this hybrid presentation with a brief discussion of the elements ofthe zombie genre which appear in the story and how these elements havebeen used in major zombie media such as Night of the Living Dead, Shaun ofthe Dead, and World War Z, and Shaun of the Dead. After reading the story, Iwill argue that my particular remix of these elements reflects the concerns ofthe age of Wikileaks—which is also the post-9/11 and post-7/7 world—inwhich we believe that there are a terrifying threats in the world and yet do nottrust the governments which claim to protect us from these threats.
  12. 12. Parallel Panel 3 MB1 1.15 - 2.45 Be Afraid…Chair: Marcus LeaningJordan Lloyd and Roger Cooper Z-Rated:Zombie-proof your own homeUniversity Sheffield Private PracticeMathematical models of a zombie contagion conclude that the spread ofinfection will far exceed any organised resistance, unless aggressive countertactics are employed. In the United Kingdom (and indeed most countries inthe world), citizens do not have the benefit of the Second Amendment to carryfirearms like our American cousins; resulting in a much lower survival rate foruntainted humans.Our entry into the second annual Zombie Safehouse Competition is not a‗one-off‘ mobile fortress, but rather a socio-economic strategy, culturallyembedded in our social psyche in the way we know best: the cult ofconsumerism. Rather than create a ‗zombie-proof house‘, it is insteadproposed to zombie-proof your own home in the event of a zombieapocalypse. The proposal approaches designing a zombie proof house from aperspective which assumes a future of everyday (albeit unwanted) co-existence with the undead. Z-Rated: Zombie-proof your own home projects atypical suburban London based strategy for adapting ordinary Londonershomes for protection against the marauding zombie threat.Our response to a zombie contagion considers a strategy without the optionsof an antigen or vaccination. Integrated into Prime Minister David Cameron‘svision for the ‗Big Society‘, a parliamentary response is prematurelydistributed online, and runs as the main headline in a popular free Londonnewspaper. It describes a strategy using Big Society rhetoric: buildingcommunities, decentralised power and localism. In short, getting the proles topay for everything themselves, in the perfect union of the public and privatesectors.
  13. 13. Laura Hubner The Fear of Zombie Flesh Eaters: From From Video Nasty toBlu-rayLaura Hubner, University of WinchesterReleased in the UK as Zombie Flesh Eaters, Lucio Fulci‘s Zombi 2 (1979) hascontinued to excite new audiences with its bold set-pieces. The film hosts arich display of zombie-versus-shark action, apocalyptic church-burning andslow-moving zombies finally making their way across the bridge to New York,shuffling to the beat of Fabio Frizzi‘s score. As the movie is about to beavailable on Blu-ray at the end of this month, with an impressive featureslisting, this is a key moment to review some of the controversies and debatesthat have over the years been incited by the film.Zombie Flesh Eaters has sparked most debate over its use and levels of gore,and a number of its scenes, such as the eye-piercing and the communalflesh-feast, have helped it to maintain a lively, and elaborate, relationship withthe censors and critics. Focusing on censorship and reception, in relation tothe changing cultural and historical contexts, this paper looks at the majorregulatory frameworks and decisions made since the film‘s inception,unravelling some of the underlying tensions, fears and taboos suggested bythese decisions in relation to the film text, and the context of specificsequences within it. The paper will also explore issues raised by technologicaland exhibition developments, such as the shifting viewing contexts broughtabout by video and DVD.
  14. 14. Chris Farnell What Are We Afraid Of: Hotel Rwanda as a Zombie MovieChris Farnell, Freelance WriterHotel Rwanda is a film that tells the story of a very real and horrific sequenceof actual events. However, in the story‘s characters and plot structure, the filmclosely mirrors the structure of many zombie apocalypse movies from Night ofthe Living Dead through to the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake. The filmfeatures a host of the staple elements of the zombie movie- the initial(unbelieved) news broadcasts, the eventual siege narrative, the military andgovernmental bodies that are unable or unwilling to help, and of course, thekey point of the film- a society breaking down as ordinary people turn violentlyon one another.The aim of this paper is not to illustrate anything about either Hotel Rwanda orthe act of genocide it portrays by showing how it mirrors a zombie movie, butrather, the reverse. Highlighting the real events that influenced the creation ofclass zombie movies, and showing how the fantastical events of the zombieapocalypse genre are reflected in the retelling of the terrible real life events ofHotel Rwanda, we can cast a light on just what it is about the story of thezombie apocalypse that scares us so much, and perhaps more importantlyand disturbingly, what it is about the zombie apocalypse that we actuallyfantasise about.
  15. 15. Parallel Panel 4 MB2 1.15 - 2.45 The Thinking Dead…Chair: Shaun KimberJulia Round Zombies, absence and existentialism: Are we the walkingdead?Julia Round, University of BournemouthAlthough the living dead continue to decay, their stories are evolving. Thispaper uses existential philosophy to analyse Robert Kirkman‘s The WalkingDead (both TV series and comic) in the wider context of zombie narratives. Itargues that the text is representative of contemporary zombie texts in itsdesire to excise zombies from their own narratives, and that this developmentis best understood in the context of existentialism.The paper focuses first on the notions of essence and ethics, whereby the‗soul‘ is determined only by one‘s choices and actions, and discusses theways in which Rick‘s self-imposed quest(s) (to find his family, to protect hiswife and children, to keep his group alive) illustrate this idea and projectmeaning into his life. It points out that the still and empty landscape of TheWalking Dead contributes to this depiction, and argues that a zombie text isthe perfect foil for this setting.Concepts such as identity and the Other are then discussed. Identity isconsistently problematised (although ultimately not denied) in The WalkingDead – whose zombies, in contrast to more traditional narratives, are not thedemonised Other. Instead, Rick and his group are in conflict with the peoplethey encounter. It identifies a similar tendency in other contemporary zombietexts and concludes by situating The Walking Dead in relation to these. Itnotes the current cultural trend to redefine zombeism as a disease acrossmultiple media (28 Days/Weeks Later; Resident Evil) and the link betweentechnology and transmission (Pontypool, The Cell).In this way, The Walking Dead is exemplary of the next phase in a developingnarrative of zombies. Early themes (possession/slavery) that gave way totwentieth-century concerns (consumerism, technology) have now replaced bya ‗post-zombieism‘ that, although it ostensibly sustains the presence of thesecreatures, in actual fact seeks to excise them from their own narratives inorder to better illustrate the existential plight of humanity.
  16. 16. .Gary Farnell The Current Conjuncture and Its MonstersGary Farnell, University of WinchesterThis paper argues for the value of the zombie myth as an interpretative motifin relation to the financial and related forms of crisis in the global capitalistsystem. Images of monsters and of the apocalypse in the financial pressduring the 2008 financial crisis constitute the focus of discussion. Theconclusion this paper reaches is one that posits the figure of the zombie astraversing the problem of representation of the present crisis, being in thisregard at once an embodiment of the Lacanian object a and a form of politicalresource. At the same time, a displacement of the vampire by the zombie istraced in the course of historical-into-contemporary Marxist Gothic literatureon capitalist production. This is all for the reason that, as is well known, theimage of the zombie signifies the end of civilization itself.
  17. 17. Yari Lanci Zombie 2.0 subjectivity: a new dromological paradigmYari Lanci, FreelanceThe zombie genre, buried half-dormant for many years, has been broughtback to ‗life‘ during the last ten years. The renewed attention and popularity ofthe figure of the undead, the varied attempts at representing this figure, andthe massive economic investments of numerous media productions – such asthe recent TV series ―The Walking Dead‖ – constitute some of the most visiblesymptoms of a very specific ―political unconscious‖. As Fredric Jamesonwould put it, this political unconscious is increasingly aware of a newparadigm shift regarding the process of political subjectification. This paperwill try to analyse different trends which might characterize a new theoreticalunderstanding of the figure of the walking dead, especially in relation to ourown political moment and, more precisely, to the specific process ofsubjectification within the neoliberal framework. Our starting point will be aninvestigation of the zombie character in relation to the speed of itsmovements, drawing on Virilio‘s concept of ―dromology‖. Our central tenet isthat although a generalised constant increase of speed towards itsabsolutization was already detected by the French philosopher during the1980s and 1990s, this trend has more recently undergone a dramaticmetamorphosis, with the emergence of contemporary neoliberal capitalism.Observed from this dromological perspective, it might be argued that zombies‘increased speed of movement, as in Boyle‘s ―28 Days Later‖ (and itssuccessors), on the one hand may be seen to depict the new kind ofsubjectification in operation in the third millennium, on the other, however, thisspeed opens up spaces of theorization about the disruptive potential of whatwe will call the ―Zombie 2.0 subjectivity‖.
  18. 18. Parallel Panel 5 MB1 3.15 - 4.45 Zombie Environment and Planning A…Chair: Paul ManningChristian Lenz “Never to Return Home”: Nomadic Tendencies and theNotion of Home in Dead SetChristian Lenz, Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, TU Dortmund,Germany―An English(wo)man‘s home is his/her castle‖ is a well-known idiom,connecting the private space with strongholds in which one can reside andwhose walls are to keep enemies out. In E4‘s mini-series Dead Set a perfectexample of a castle is presented: a home away from home, an artificial mini-cosmos. Having created a Foucauldian panopticon with the famous BigBrother house, the inmates are happy to live their lives in front of the cameraand audiences are eager to watch – until the zombie apocalypse starts.I claim that Dead Set provides a new, if bleak idea of the concepts of homeand belonging as the inmates turn their artificial ‗home‘ into a proper fortressagainst the living dead – heightening their insularity to the extreme. This isjuxtaposed with people on the outside, who have not yet been turned into azombie and who have to leave their homes in order to escape the undead orfind new nutritional resources – the real home, the comfortable castlebecomes a distant memory. Humans have to become nomads in the senseGilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari proposed: Never be truly able to settle atone spot but only to rest temporarily. This, again, links the nomads to zombieswho can never settle down, either: Just like the humans they are forced towander the earth, begging the question whether the idea of home has to beabandoned at all in zombie narratives. Eviction day is coming.
  19. 19. Antonio Sanna Consumerism and the Undead City: Silent Hill and theResident EvilFilmsAntonio Sanna Freelance writerIn my paper I shall examine the recent horror films Silent Hill (2006) and thequadrilogy of Resident Evil (2002-2007) with a specific attention to therepresentation of the urban space given by the directors of the films. In theseworks, the cities are pictured as desert places, haunted by the remains ofhumanity, by monstrous creatures that have lost any characterization ashuman beings. Precisely as in many Gothic literary narratives publishedduring the nineteenth century, the cities portrayed in these films are uncannyand inimical spaces, characterized by labyrinthic and claustrophobic settingswhich are intended to arouse fear and paranoia in the main characters of thestories as much as in the viewers of the film. I shall specifically argue thatsuch representation of the city can be interpreted as caused by theconsumerism of contemporary society. In order to do this, I shall particularlyrefer to the academic debates which identify the figure of the zombie with the(almost) non-autonomous citizen who is driven by an uncontrollableconsumerism of personal and social goods. Secondly, and by showing andanalysing some brief passages of the films, I shall apply such discourses tothe representation of the city given in these recent productions and stimulatequestions concerning the function of the city in the absence of consumerismand the human being.
  20. 20. Sean Kimber Zombies are us: Zombiedom and Media & Film Educationwithin British Higher EducationSean Kimber, University of BournemouthThe paper will present a case for using the zombie as an analytical tool forreflecting upon media & film education within English higher education. Usingexamples from contemporary zombie films and ideas associated withzombiedom the paper will suggest that far from being homogeneous, filmrepresentations of the zombie and zombiedom alert our attention to a widerange of possibilities that can productively be employed as critical lensthrough which to examine contemporary higher education. The paper willdevelop its argument based upon four overlapping strands. First, that thecurrent global climate of uncertainty and crisis has given rise to a renewedimpetus and verve within apocalyptic zombie narratives. Whilst falling short ofan apocalyptic event the current challenges facing media education withinEnglish higher education can be understood as an allegorical manifestation ofthe undermining and collapse of social institutions found within contemporaryzombie narratives. Second, the key to understanding the relationship betweentutors and students, from the tutors perspective, is to appreciate the interplaybetween survivors losses and their dependency upon their views of zombies.Third, that humanising and sympathetic representations of the zombie caninform our understanding of students, by foregrounding their dynamism,motivations and skills, and through an emphasis upon student-centredapproaches to learning and teaching. Fourth, higher education would befitfrom stronger collaborative partnerships in learning and teaching betweenstudents and tutors to not only maximise their collective strengths but to alsooffer a unified approach to the zombifying challenges facing the subject
  21. 21. Parallel Panel 5 MB2 3.15 - 4.45 Zombie Environment and Planning B…Chair: Marcus LeaningEmma Dyson Space and Place in Zombie Culture: How fictional filminspires dissent, celebration and the carnivalesque in social spaces.Emma Dyson, University of PortsmouthAs arguably the most popular modern horror icon, it is fruitful to consider thefictional Zombie following Robert Kastenbaum‘s discussion of Arnold VanGennep‘s concept of liminality. In the case of the Zombie, as both dead yetalive, we can see the most obvious fictional example of a body as liminal,removed from society yet returning, removed from life, yet still functioning.The Zombie can move between areas of social interaction, and also functionswithin its own space, one which cannot be categorised as easily as either-or,alive or dead. This serves to question the social borders that living bodiesfunction within.This refusal of borders and categories is also presented within the physicalpresence of the Zombie breaking socially constructed areas designated forthe living and the dead, notably within film and media, but also now in thepopular phenomena of Zombie Walks. Following Walter Kendrick, we haveseparated ourselves from death physically, but: ―Even as we deny that ourflesh must decay, however, we surround ourselves with fictional images of thevery fate we strive to hear nothing about‖. This paper will examine theimportance of space and conflict in Zombie film post- 1968, and how this hasbeen translated into social gatherings that at once celebrate the Zombie andundermine the notion of controlled social spaces of behaviour.
  22. 22. Toby Venables „Locating the Zombie: Landscapes of the Living Dead‟Toby Venables, Anglia Ruskin UniversityWhile the zombie seems universal – appearing in many folklores andapparently transferable to all cultures and contexts – the modern zombie storyis frequently related to contemporaneous socio-political realities, a keyexample being George A Romeros Night of the Living Dead and the violentupheavals precipitated by the Civil Rights movement.Drawing on work by Robin Wood, André Bazin, and Adam Lowenstein, thispaper identifies a deeper tension, suggesting the modern zombie story is a‗landscape genre‘ – like the Western, Film Noir and road horror (the keytemplate for which is Tobe Hoopers The Texas Chain Saw Massacre) –predominantly American, and similarly built upon the dichotomy between theurban and the rural. The roots of this dichotomy are traced to ancient tensionsbetween Roman civilisation and barbarian tribalism.A repeated pattern in the modern zombie story is the city being overrun,becoming a deadly feeding ground in which the living are mere meat. Theymust, therefore, take refuge in the countryside. While road horror indicatesanxieties about the rural landscape – whose cannibalistic, mutated inhabitantsprey upon lost city-dwellers – the zombie story seems to suggest a need toreconnect with the land in order to escape living death. The ‗message‘ isclear: cities make us zombies. Or, perhaps, they already have. To quoteRomero, speaking of the shambling, mindless denizens of the shopping mallin Dawn of the Dead: ‗They‘re us.‘ Nevertheless, this also rekindles theWestern myth, albeit in bleaker guise – the possibility of salvation and new lifein a lawless, savage landscape.