Automobility in the Age of Apocalypse: On the Beach, Nuclear Nostalgia, and Atomic (Im)Mobilities

Abstract

In the 1966 animated short film What on Earth!, viewers are presented with a news-reel styled broadcast—ostensibly from the ‘National Film Board of Mars’—detailing Martians’ first glimpses of alien life on Earth. As a car enters from the right, the narrator announces: ‘And then, the big news: there is life on Earth!’ The ‘cameras on our orbiting spaceship’ then follow these Earthlings through their daily rituals: ‘at dinner’ (fuelling with petrol), taking ‘shelter for the night’ (parking in a garage), and ‘browsing in curiously designed libraries’ (driving through a region inundated with billboards). Yet this colourful, comedic, slightly surreal animation takes a sinister turn towards its end as we glimpse the human occupants of the vehicle for the first time.

How to Cite

O'Hara, C., (2024) “Automobility in the Age of Apocalypse: On the Beach, Nuclear Nostalgia, and Atomic (Im)Mobilities”, Moveable Type 15(1), 28-37. doi: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.444.1755-4527.1771

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Christopher O'Hara

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