The beginning of the Space Age paradoxically coincided with the global spread of a subterranean imagination linked to bunkers and underground facilities.
Gazing beyond Earth, on the one hand, while fearing nuclear self-destruction, on the other, created a spatial tension that deeply shaped the European and American imaginations. As my lecture shows, this tension can be fruitfully illustrated through the cartographic imagination contained in science fiction novels and films produced between the 1950s and 1960s. Touching on both spacefaring narratives and underground dystopias, I will explore to what extent Cold War science fiction translated territorial anxieties into fictional planets or versions of the future, thereby spatializing its inner conflict—its tension between a claustrophobic angst on the one hand and a frustrated claustrophilia on the other.
Federico Italiano is Senior Researcher at the Institute of Culture Studies and Theatre History at the Austrian Academy of Sciences and Privatdozent at the Institute of General and Comparative Literature Studies at the LMU Munich. He teaches at the Universities of Vienna and Innsbruck and has twice been visiting professor at the University of Graz. He is also a poet and translator and currently an IFK_Senior Fellow.
THE LECTURE WILL BE HYBRID.
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