Mycelial Trans-formations and Xenobiology in Annihilation

Priscilla Jolly


This essay argues that while the concept of landscape was once the site of colonial initiatives of establishing control over space through practices of mapping and surveying, it also has the potential to disrupt the colonial modes of knowledge. Arguing that Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation obscures the colonial modes of knowledge by the xenobiology at work in the novel, the paper moves away from the conception of landscape as embodying a separation between the viewer and the viewed. Instead, the paper proposes a conception of landscape as point of ‘contagion,’ ‘of touching together’, which produces bodily entities that extend into the landscape. To this end, the paper turns away from the binary of normal/pathological, and proposes mycelial networks, which are central to the novel, as a possible decentered radical way of accounting for bodily and material transformations that are transitional and chimerical.


Landscape; mapping; vision; transitional;classification

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