Tom Trevatt – Introduction Excerpt

Introduction by co-chair and co organizer, Tom Trevatt

Real Horror

This symposium is a provocation of sorts. It asks the question of the relation between reality and horror, and proposes that they share a common ground. We want to explore, on one hand, how horror exists within the prosaic material world and on the other how it brings an objective reality to bear on the human world. It is for this reason that horror seems to exist both materially, as part of the everyday, but also, to contort and twist human finitude to such extremes that it presents to us the possibility of a world other than ours, a world beyond the human. Today I would like to explore how horror’s irreality, i.e. the monster at the heart of the story, the unnameable terrifying  non-humanity, is specifically the key to an expression of an objective realism, or to give it another name, a Speculative Realism. The philosophical movement of Speculative Realism is most closely linked to the philosophers Graham Harman, Iain Hamilton Grant, Quentin Meillessoux and Ray Brassier and, in brief, is concerned chiefly with the overcoming of the finitude of human existence, a resistance to what Meillessoux has termed a correlationist position and a complete disavowel of philosophies of access. Speculative Realism rejects the privileging of the human being over other entities, suggesting instead an objective approach.

For me, what this type of thought opens up in relation to the horror genre, is the idea that these cultural phenomena, books, films etc, present an inhuman element within a human world, approaching, in a sense, the realism of Speculative Realism. I want to think the presentations today through this frame. Perhaps we can touch on these kinds of questions in the discussions after each presentation.


~ by caryncoleman on November 3, 2010.

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