Ethicizing Catastrophe: The Survivalist’s Case


  • Dror Pimentel Bezalel Academy of Art and Design Jerusalem



Catastrophe, dystopia, hospitality, earth, industrial society


The film The Survivalist portrays a dystopic world, wherein the most valuable asset is seeds. The 'seeds' metaphor applies both in the context of agriculture and in that of fecundity. The Survivalist's hostile hospitality toward a pair of nomads -- a mother and her daughter -- results in the pregnancy of the latter. In the last raid on his compound, the Survivalist allows the daughter to escape at the expense of his own life. This sacrifice manifests a severe critique against the preference given today to the well-being of the individual at the expense of the survival of the species. 


Aristotle. Metaphysics. 1998. London: Penguin Books. translated by Hugh Lawson-Tancred.

Derrida, Jacques and Anne Dufourmantelle. 2000. Of Hospitality (1998). Stanford: Stanford University Press. translated by Rachel Bowlby.

Hobbes, Thomas. 1983. De Cive: The English Version (1651). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Levinas, Emmanuel. 1969. Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority (1961). Dodrecht, NL: Kluwer Academic Publishing. translated by Alphonso Lingis.

Marx, Karl. 1990. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy (Vol.1) (1867). London: Penguin Books. translated by Ben Fowkes.

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. 1979. Emile, or On Education (1762). New York: Basic Books. translated by Allan Bloom.


The Survivalist. 2015. London: The Fyzz Facility. directed by Stephen Fingleton.



How to Cite

Pimentel, Dror. 2021. “Ethicizing Catastrophe: The Survivalist’s Case”. Aesthetic Investigations 5 (1). Utrecht, NL:91-98.