Fever's action takes place in one family’s home, and it is built around two temporal planes: twenty years ago and now. The main character is a woman in her thirties who watches a home scene in which she is a teenager. This static image is disrupted by the appearance of her now adult brother who returns home with symptoms of the eponimous fever (mysterious chills) to be taken care of by his mother. The mother, however, remains strangely indifferent. The play, written in blank verse, carefully analyzes family relations: seemingly ordinary, yet disturbed and full of repressed suffering, for which the illness is only a metaphor.
Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp.
A series of four short plays by the British author, immersed in the contrasting aesthetics of fairy tales and Greek tragedy. Caryl Churchill explores the nature of violent patterns hidden behind linguistic structures and metaphors, which have become so closely tied to our culture that they seem almost neutral. The writer analyses the mechanisms of increasing anger and violence, the relationship between the executioner and the victim, and the relationship between materialism and the crisis of idealistic attitudes.
A dystopian story about a great city in the West, where the human world suddenly falls into chaos and apathy at the news of the gradual return of wild nature to the streets of the metropolis. This return is imaginary rather than actual (perhaps it is only about one animal that escaped from the zoo, all animal inhabitants of which are actually being killed), but it is enough for the characters of the play to ask important questions about the foundations of their urban civilization.
Aldona Kopkiewicz can hear words and sentences in which our little stabilization reveals all its horror, its entire metaphysical lining. She can also hears words that are not spoken out, words that should not be spoken out, and which situate her characters on the border between reality and fiction.
Little Match Girl
Hans Christian Andersen’s genius was to be able to reach and bring to the surface these turning points, the minimal twists of life-giving and deadly actions that no narrative could bear. Only poetry can do it. Aldona Kopkiewicz does it in Polish literature.
New vision, or the drama of disassembly
Wars, crises and catastrophes we have experienced directly or only through the media in recent years have made us afraid the most of our own visions of tragedy. Forecasts of cataclysms, given to us in a form or reminiscent of the apocalyptic vision of St. John, or Greta Thunberg's rational and scientific account, disrupt our vision of reality. They also destroy the image of ourselves when we look at ourselves through the eyes of others: other creatures, other plants, other worlds, other matter. Playwrights living in the United Kingdom are trying to deal with all of this.
KEY WORDS: British drama, climate crisis, post-humanism, Caryl Churchill, Stef Smith
When the Night Has Come. Images of Dystopia and Catastrophe in Recent British Writing
A translation of an article that appeared in “PAJ” no 126, 2020.
Science Fiction to Science Studies
What if the social sciences cultivated, like their experimental sisters, the art of the thought experiment? We know of such attempts in neuroethics or analytic philosophy, and they look more like exercises of flummoxing, of cornering thought than of unfolding the consequences of a daring hypothesis. Whatever the situation they invent, it first of all exhibits “subjects” deprived of the capacity to escape the net of discursive alternatives imposed upon them, of opening a door into the sky as Truman eventually does at the end of the show.
A chapter from the book The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Science (2018).
Speculation as an affective politics in the face of the crisis of imagination
The crisis of imagination is therefore a political crisis manifesting itself, above all, by the inability to create any alternative to the status quo, that is capitalism and liberal democracy, but also to the still unsatisfied issue of the "legacy" of colonialism. The main reason behind the impossibility of imagining the post-capitalist world is the capital ability to turn any resistance performances to its own advantage. In other words, every revolution will sooner or later become a commodity, every political innovation will be pacified and assimilated by the capital. This state of affairs is referred to by Fisher as capitalist realism.
KEY WORDS: climate crisis, speculation, capitalism, neoliberalism, crisis of imagination, Kim Stanley Robinson, post-humanism
"I gave birth to the world." A utopian impulse in the lesbian biopunk
Feminist theories classified as post-humanism and new materialism propose an affirmative approach, but strongly related to the materialist turn. In this context, theories inspired by the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, and theories of the pioneers of non-anthropocentric thought deserve special attention. Rosi Braidotti emphasizes that "feminism is not humanism". Man is a class, race and sex-conditioned category, so there is no point in maintaining its existence – we had better develop ontologies and take care of practices that make solidarity with other living creatures possible.
KEY WORDS: Larissa Lai, Kameron Hurley, Horizon Zero Dawn, biotechnology, biopunk, utopia, dystopia, speculation, post-humanism
Kayla Puan Interview Transcript
A fictional conversation with Kayla Puan about living in the future, recorded at the North Ironbound Commune, Newark on 24 June 2069.
M. E. O’Brien
The demand to abolish the family has served as a way of imagining life beyond compulsory heterosexuality, misogynistic subjugation and familial violence. It brings up profoundly personal anxiety for many who believe that the family is the only protection against the violence of the state, white supremacy, or poverty. Opponents equate abolishing the family with childhood neglect and a prohibition on affection and care.
A translation of an essay from the “Pinko” magazine.
To widen the field of what is possible
A conversation by Anna Majewska, Ania Nowak, Magdalena Ptasznik, Agata Siniarska, Magda Szpecht and Ida Ślęzak
The starting point for thinking about speculative practices is capitalist realism and anthropocentrism, the latter well-established in European culture. Its consequence is the inability to draw conclusions from the complexity of our relationships with non-humans and to conceptualize such ways of living in an environment that would take into account its natural-cultural character. In times of mass extinction of species, our imagination has also become helpless in the face of the multitude of spatial and temporal scales in which changes take place on Earth.
Marek Beylin, Barbara Klicka, Tadeusz Nyczek
Notes on plays
Marta Sokołowska Kamionna. Opowieści rodzinne; Patrik Ouředník Dnes a pozítří; Philippe Minyana 21 rue des Sources; Monika Janik Koło Niefortuny.