The Archive : Digital Art and an Unsustainable Future


Tallulah Harvey


This short story, “The Archive”, grew out of the eco-critical research I underwent during my postgraduate degree at Goldsmiths, University of London. In recent years, literary studies have become increasingly invested in environmentalism. The damaging consequences of human endeavour are now widely regarded within environmentalist and scientific communities, and by environmental literary theory or “ecocriticism”, as a shift from the Holocene (the geological epoch that provided the appropriate conditions for mammals to thrive), to the “Anthropocene” (the epoch in which human activity has become the dominant driving force of climatic change). The ecological implications of the Anthropocene prompt questions regarding human enterprise and responsibility; fuelling dystopian or apocalyptic end of the world narratives and anxieties towards technology, capitalism and post-humanism. This short piece explores the current problems facing climate change activists, namely the inconsistencies between the scientific community’s attitude towards ecological degradation and popular culture’s. Slajov Zizek suggests that public denial and the disassociation from environmental disaster is not caused by a lack of scientific knowledge, but because we as individuals fail to corroborate what we already know about climate change with our sensory experience of the everyday: ‘We know it, but we cannot make ourselves believe in what we know’. The Archive questions this pervasive delusion, one that denies climate change even in the face of dwindling resources, increasing natural disaster and rising sea levels. We as a society consume natural resources excessively, without any regard for the consequences.  My work draws attention to the suicidal nature of this desire, and encourages its readers to take responsibility for their actions, for the sake of humanity’s survival.


Author Biography

Tallulah Harvey, Goldsmiths, University of London University of York

Tallulah Harvey is a South-East London poet, writer and filmmaker interested in feminist Sci-fi and queer fiction. She graduated from her BA in English and Related Literature in 2014 from the University of York, and completed her MA in Comparative Literature and Ecocriticism at Goldsmiths, Univeristy of London in 2016. She is a guest lecturer at Goldsmiths, where she recently gave a paper on "Female Desire in Postmodernist Literature" at a symposium marking 40 years since the publication of Laura Mulvey's "Visual Pleasures". She is also presenting a paper on "Science Fiction and Eco-criticism" at EndGames, a conference taking place in June. She recently participated in the 48 Hour Science Fiction challenge and is currently working on a short film dealing with mental health in the LGBTQ community.   


  1. Klein, Naomi, This Changes Everything (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014)
  2. Meeker, Joseph W., The Comedy of Survival: Literary Ecology and a Play Ethic (Arizona: University of Arizona Press, 1997)