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Memories of the Future

On Countervision

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Edited By Stephen Wilson and Deborah Jaffé

What is a memory of the future? Is it a myth, a fiction of a severed arm, a post-human debate or a broken time machine? In an increasingly insecure future-world there is an urgency to consider and debate these questions. Memories of the Future: On Countervision addresses these concerns by speculating on the connections between memory and futurity in fields such as counter-histories, women’s studies, science fiction, art and design, technology, philosophy and politics. This book reveals how these subjects regenerate at the intersections of vision, counter-cultural production and the former present. The volume links the re-imaginings of memory into the present with topics such as the fever dream allegory of the adolescent social experience, soft technologies of future dress, reinventions of monetary exchange, rekindled subjectivities of school days, and technics and human progression. These countervisions argue against the homogenizing status quo of the present in order to challenge the customs, traditions and conventions of the past and propositions of the future.

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4 Girl Acting Out: Revisiting the Fairy Tale Futures of Little Red Riding Hood and Snow White (Sarah Bonner)

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SARAH BONNER

4   Girl Acting Out: Revisiting the Fairy Tale Futures of Little Red Riding Hood and Snow White

In 2005, the film Hard Candy, directed by David Slade, was put on general release.1 A radical reinterpretation of the Little Red Riding Hood narrative the film turns on its head our expectations of Little Red Riding Hood, the innocent persecuted heroine of fairy tale tradition. Female youth is presented as dominant in the character of Hayley (street savvy and androgynous wearing a red hoodie) who entraps, physically and mentally tortures, and defeats Jeff, the putative paedophile and murderer. Here, the female youth prevails over the adult male with disturbing consequences. Even the film’s promotional poster invites debate over which party from the traditional tale is in power, as Hayley/Little Red Riding Hood is imaged isolated and vulnerable in a primed bear trap, one wonders whether she is the predator or the prey.

In this chapter I want to discuss how memory, narrative and conditions of utopia and dystopia depend very much on the contexts they are measured against. To do this I will take the collective memory of the traditional fairy tale, re-envisioned by contemporary artists and makers of popular culture, to examine how what was once held a utopian ideal future projected through performances of ideal femininity has been reinterpreted as dystopian, further, that within this future dystopia lies the possibility to find an altered utopia.

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