This issue invited authors to respond to the proliferation of scenarios for the apocalypse in popular culture. John R. Hall believes that numerous examples suggest that "an apocalyptic mood is no longer confined to cultures of religious fundamentalism" but also demonstrated in "diverse mainstream apocalyptic references" (1). In the media, the apocalypse generates news headlines; in October 2013, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that scientists had found "evidence of an apocalypse on a planetary system similar to our own" (von Radowitz). In 2012, the belief that the end of the Mayan calendar on 21 December would mean the end of the world triggered thousands of blog posts. A poll of 16,000 adults showed eight per cent suffered genuine anxiety that the world would end on that day. Nonfiction texts such as The World Without Us (2007) and The World in 2050 (2010) use current scientific data to project future scenarios that show civilizations crumbling and the climate radically altered as a result of global warming. The welter of recent TV series, movies and books depicting fictional versions of the apocalypse-Revolution (2012), Melancholia (2011), Defiance (2013), The Hunger Games (2008, 2012), War of the Worlds (2005), Tomorrow When the War Began (1993, 2010), I Am Legend (2007), The Road (2006,2009), Oryx and Crake (2003), even a children's film, WALL-E (2008)-reveals a renewed fascination with images of the end of the world.
In this issue of UNQ, contributors use poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction to explore the symbolism of the apocalypse. The word "apocalypse" derives from the Greek work "revelation." Each of these submissions reveals both contemporary anxieties and the capacity for resilience in the face of personal, national and global apocalypses.
In this issue of LiNQ, themed ‘Capture’, we hope to understand more deeply how the process of capturing plays out across a variety of themes in literary and cultural studies, and in fiction and poetry. In our call for papers, we drew attention to the double meaning of the verb ‘capture’, preservation and restraint. In his novel The Collector, John Fowles explores this duality, implying that the paradox of art is that “in signalling the importance of freedom, [it] inaugurates another kind of imprisonment” (Cooper). In The Collector the imprisoned Miranda believes “when you draw something it lives and when you photograph something it dies” (Fowles). Similarly, Jeanette Winterson argues that the art of capturing is not mere reproduction:
The wrestle with material isn’t about subduing; it is about making a third thing that didn’t exist before. The raw material was there, and you were there, but the relationship that happens between maker and material allows the finished piece to be what it is.
We asked contributors to consider whether, if capturing is a creative act, it is possible to retain the authenticity of the source material.
In literary theory, particularly debates around post-colonialism, Indigenous studies, autobiography and travel writing, discussions about ‘authenticity’ have returned with new and fraught urgency after the demise of the postmodern turn. The digital era provides a new set of challenges to those engaged in acts of capturing. Digital technologies provide access to infinite artifacts: Winterson’s ‘raw materials’. How do we go about selecting and preserving them for posterity? This edition of LiNQ invited explorations of how we understand both the artistic and the emotional act of capturing. In response to this call, we received a variety of critical and creative responses that consider many of these aspects and demonstrate the complexity of ‘capturing’ authenticity and making art. Below is a selection of works from Volume 40 ‘Capture’.
Fowles, John. The Collector. Sydney: Random House, 2004. Print
Winterson, Jeanette. “Life is What You Make In It.” The Independent. 17 Jun. 2010. W eb. 4 November 2013. <http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/life-iswhat–you-make-in-it-2002401.html>.