Is it better to be dead or undead, if no other choice is available? What does it mean to be human? Which end-of-the-world scenario is most probable? Which are we most afraid of? Do we, as humans, deserve to live? Why do we keep jeopardizing our existence? Is there a future? Is there hope?

In the course of our proseminar, exploring the intersections of dystopia and apocalypse in contemporary literature and film, we were looking at those and other questions through the prism of various fictional explorations of dystopian landscapes and apocalyptic narratives. Discussing such seminal texts as Matheson’s I Am Legend, Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, McCarthy’s The Road or Winterson’s Stone Gods, we were examining the ways in which those works, through their dystopian and apocalyptic focus, explore cultural, social and political fears and anxieties of our times, and reflect upon issues of ethics, morality, class, gender, ethnicity, ecology, consumerism, and more…

As part of the course assessment, the participants were asked to come up with creative projects that would present their take on the themes of dystopia and (post)apocalypse. However varied in form and thematic approach, all the projects have something in common – their creative power, beauty and inventiveness.

This is what we wish to share with you. Enjoy the artwork by our proseminar survivors, and try to see in it what we came to realize in the course of our discussions: that there is a way to embrace the posthuman pessimism of our condition, that there is a revolutionary and liberating power to apocalypse, and that postapocalyptic narratives can offer hopeful visions.

Magdalena Cieślak & Tomasz Dobrogoszcz