Studio Ghibli’s bizarre but lovely Japanese anime Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is set in a world 1000 years after the collapse of the ecosystem. Armies of gigantic insects inhabit a toxic forest and sort of reflect how the characters treat the earth: their eyes red with rage, they attack when harm is being caused, but they immediately calm down around the gentle, peace-loving Nausicaä.
Anyway, watching the movie reminded me of recommending and linking to the following recent publications on insects in relation to visual culture and science:
- Cabinet Magazine’s special issue on insects (‘Swarming Season’ Spring 2007)
- Antennae’s two special issues on insect poetics (Autumn 2007/1 and 2)
- Insect Poetics, edited by Eric C. Brown
The articles, essays and interviews, which cover several fields and centuries, largely focus on the insect as “the other” – the monstrous, invasive, menacing, disintegrating, alienating creature that, due to its boundary-threatening and boundary-crossing nature, forces us to reconsider issues of identity and order; but they also dwell on the insect’s mysterious attraction and beauty.
It’s pretty cool.