The following is an extract from ACW alumni Rebecca O’Dwyer‘s response to recent work by Dr Francis Halsall and Kelley O’Brien, carried out as part of their on-going collaborative project Beyond Metaphor, Mapping Social Systems.
In Todd Haynes’ 1995 film Safe, Julianne Moore plays Carol, a strangely disinterested south California woman. Carol fills her days by working on ‘some designs’ for her home, meeting similarly disposed women for lunch, and attending joyless aerobics classes. After one such class, a woman exclaims to Carol “you don’t sweat!” She responds, sheepishly, in the affirmative; “it’s true.” However this hint of atmospheric imperviousness is a red herring: throughout the film, we learn that Carol does not underreact to exterior conditions, but rather feels them with far too much acuity. Quickly and mysteriously, she succumbs to what is termed multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS): Carol is by all intents and purposes allergic to the contemporary world.
Read Rebecca’s piece in full HERE.
Dr. Francis Halsall and Lelly O’Brien’s lecture Beyond Metaphor, Mapping Social Systems can be viewed HERE.