As a film about a science fictional future in which genetic engineering is used to guard against the threat of overpopulation, Andrew Niccol's In Time (2011) bears a remarkable resemblance to Michael Anderson's environmental dystopia Logan's Run (1976). This article traces the narrative similarities of these two dystopian ecocinematic Hollywood productions, while demonstrating how they succeed as social critiques of technoscientific social regimes that wreak havoc on the Earth and its inhabitants. Borrowing from Michel Foucault's theories of a biopolitics of the population, this article argues that both film-makers' works contribute to our understanding of the potentially culturally and environmentally devastating implications of genetic engineering. Seen through the lens of Foucault's ideas about the disciplinary technologies of the self-regulated subject, the article suggests that Niccol's In Time is particularly noteworthy for its creative problematizing of the increasing normalization of high-tech bodily modification, enhancement, and digital quantification.
Technologies of the Quantified Self in Andrew Niccol's In Time and Michael Anderson's Logan's Run
Living Species and the Latency of Biological and Environmental Threats
Discourses and practices of anticipation occupy a hypertrophic space in contexts where uncontrolled industrial growth has inflicted grave damage on peoples and territories, even triggering environmental disasters. This article explores the use of nonhuman species as anticipatory devices in a petrochemical terminal in Sicily, focusing on public representations of three species: scavenger bacteria that play a cleansing role and underline citizens’ moral responsibility to secure their best possible futures through bioscience; migrating flamingos that breed under the petrochemical chimneys, raising the possibility of hopefulness by highlighting ecosystem resilience; and fish affected by spina bifida, which reveal human health status in advance, communicating the need to live in preparation for potential diseases. The analysis reveals the highly contentious character of these anticipatory devices and the contested ideas about possible futures they imply, thus shedding light on the ecological frictions that have repercussions locally and globally, in discourse and social practice.