WALL-E’s world: animating Badiou’s philosophy

Shaw, I. (2010) WALL-E’s world: animating Badiou’s philosophy. Cultural Geographies, 17(3), pp. 391-405. (doi:10.1177/1474474010368609)

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This article illustrates the philosophy of Alain Badiou through Pixar’s 2008 animation ‘WALL-E’. The fictional story tells of a toxic planet Earth long abandoned following an ecological disaster. Humanity now exists in a floating brave new world; a spaceship whose passengers’ everyday existence is drowned by a consumptive slumber. That is, until a robot named WALL-E comes aboard and changes things forever. The purpose of making this connection between philosophy and film is not to trivialize Badiou’s work, but rather to open it up, pull it apart, and synchronize it with a movie that is saturated with Badiouian themes. Beneath the complexities of Being and Event’s set-theory and the Logics of Worlds’ algebra, lay a set of ideas that are fizzing with creativity and disruptive potential. WALL-E gives these political and philosophical ideas a lived expression to a wide audience. The central motif of the article is that the finitude of appearance in a world is constantly overrun by the infinitude of being, and this requires a new theorization of site-based geographies. From the miraculous discovery of a plant growing on a dead Earth, to the tumultuous arrival of WALL-E onboard a spaceship that he never belonged to, the stability of a world is always threatened by a ‘point of excess’, called the site. Three interrelated concepts of Badiou’s will be animated in this article: atonic and tensed worlds, sites, and subjects.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Shaw, Dr Ian
Authors: Shaw, I.
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences > Geography
Journal Name:Cultural Geographies
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2010 Sage
First Published:First published in Cultural Geographies 17(3):391-405
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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