Real Horror Symposium
Sunday, 31 October 2010 – Starts at 2pm
@ the Woodmill (London)
Organised and Chaired by Tom Trevatt and Caryn Coleman
Featuring: Carl Neville, Simon Clark, Ben Rivers, Amanda Beech, and Mark Fisher with online contributor Ben Woodard
Screening: George Romero’s Martin
*Full schedule and dedicated website coming soon
The Real Horror symposium brings into question the relation between reality and horror. The proposition is that both horror and reality share a common ground and that horrific relations occur within the realm of realism.
Real Horror extends from Graham Harman’s reading of cult gothic novelist H.P. Lovecraft in his essay “On the Horror of Phenomenology” where he suggests that a philosophy that can tell us about reality has to be judged by what it can tell us about Lovecraft. Harman develops what he describes as a Weird Realism, utilising a Lovecraftian finitism to explore an objective reality made up of strange and withdrawn objects in terrifying vistas where humans become subject to objective terrors rather than masters of them. Lovecraft’s tales tell of a world outside of human access, a world where an objective reality reigns; he is therefore the horror writer par excellence of the recent Speculative Realism movement.
Decades after Lovecraft’s death in the 1930s, post-modern horror cinema ignited in 1968 with Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby and George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. These films marked the elevated refection on the societal, cultural, and political realities of everyday life and solidified that what is most frightening to us isn’t a monster in a castle but what appears in the familiar that surrounds us. This closeness of horror to everyday life exists in tension with Lovecraft’s mythic world, yet draws from it, proposing the explosion of the non-human within the realm of the human; drawing the external through into the internal.
Reflecting on this reciprocal relationship between an expression of horror and reality, organisers Tom Trevatt and Caryn Coleman have invited London-based artists, writers, and curators to address the ways in which they tackle horror as a realist subject. During the one-day symposium on Halloween a series of presentations, artist films, conversations, and a film screening will take place to expand upon the many possibilities of horror.
Ghoulish cocktails will be served!