Art (including body art) as storytelling
Art/body art changes lives
Taboos and inability to resist breaking them
Society, acceptance, and exclusion of individuals
Consumerism and its effects on society, culture, families, values
Tackling lives’ problems vs. relying on technology to solve them
Materialism vs. intellectual endeavor
Imagination: is it a natural human ability/characteristic or a product supplied by technology
Humans as a spiritual, advanced beings vs. humans as animals.
In both cases, the theme of what makes us either or both is prominent
Human nature and the process of losing one’s humanity
Humans as predators and humans as victims of predators (metaphorically and physically)
Humans’ place in nature
How naturalistic/realistic can technological inventions become? Is it a gain or a loss for us?
Do we control technology or does technology control us?
Avoidance and acceptance of responsibility
The role of a home in a child’s and an adult’s development
Does nature (the environment, the organisms in it) have ethics? Is it subject to human ethics?
Human attempt and failure to rule over both nature and technology
Visual technology, 3D projection, design, environment simulation
Coming to terms with one’s mortality
Despair vs. perseverance
Do our final moments define us or do the individual moments of our lives?
What is the meaning of life? Does life have a meaning at all? Does death? Do they gain meaning in relation to each other?
Reality vs. memory vs. dream
Man’s place in the cosmos
The human condition
The mechanics of space travel
“The Other Foot”:
Prejudice, racism, segregation, Jim Crow South
Revenge vs. forgiveness
“Sins of our fathers”
Integrationism vs. Separatism
Minority and majority trading places
Letting go of the past
Learning from history/the past
The power of independent thought and action
The Other: cultural, linguistic, social class, and worldview differences
Chaos vs. stability
“The End of the World” and its effects on human behaviors and thinking
Hysterical fear/mass hysteria
Threats of nuclear was as they appear to people of different cultures/countries/political allegiances
Running from threats as opposed to continuing “business as usual” in mortal danger
Reverting to working the field as a “we should tend our own garden” commentary or, perhaps, as a way to preserve/maintain life
What does “the end of the world” mean to an individual as opposed to a society
Who gets to escape and who does not
Potential effects of a “nuclear holocaust”
Faith as opposed to denial of faith
The commander-subordinate dynamic
Cynicism as opposed to open-mindedness, acceptance
The extent to which science and technology can take us
Conforming to others, following orders, etc. as opposed to individual dissent, following one’s heart, curiosity, ethics
A clash between logos and mythos
Stubbornness as motivation as opposed to stubbornness leading to failure
Need for tangible evidence as opposed to readiness to believe the unbelievable
“The Road to Damascus”
Faith in the age of science and space exploration
“The Long Rain”:
Endurance in an unfriendly/inhospitable environment
Physical and psychological effects of the environment on humans
Determination, perseverance, not giving up despite the seeming unattainability of the goal
The human psyche
Motivation: what keeps us going?
Human colonization of Venus
Adopting to life and work on a different planet
Descent into despair and then insanity
Is water life? In this story, it is death and “Chinese water torture”
“The Rocket Man”:
Being torn between one’s calling and one’s home
Being torn between adventure and one’s area of comfort
Duty to one’s family as opposed to one’s professional obligations and personal passion
Responsibilities of a parent, a spouse, the son.
Other people’s expectations as opposed to our own desires
Restlessness, inability to find peace, to be content
Dealing with the absence of a loved one
Father figures and role models
Acceptance of death
Acceptance of duty
Leaving a legacy and living with someone else’s legacy
The experience of an astronaut/ space travel
“The Fire Balloons”:
The meaning of a soul
The meaning of sin
Can one be sinful without a typical human body?
Encountering a different, unexpected life form
Adapting to working with the unexpected challenge
Are there new sins, ones that previously have not been committed?
As a different life form, will the Martians’ sins be different from those of humans?
The futility of measuring others’ behaviors and spirituality by our own yardstick
“The Last Night of the World”
Knowing that the world is ending and being unable to do anything about it
Routine as a source of comfort, stability, and safety.
Routine as decay and death.
Acceptance of the inevitable
Acceptance of death
“The living dead”: going through the motions of life, but being “dead inside”
What does it take to keep literature, knowledge, culture alive?
Censorship and its effects on the society
Living and dying through one’s intellectual creation
When a work of literature dies, what and who else dies with it?
Systematic destruction of knowledge, intellectual life, and creativity
“No Particular Night or Morning”:
The relative meanings of sanity and insanity
Retaining sanity in a desperate situation
The death wish: becoming part of emptiness, nothingness
The wish for belonging: becoming part of the larger universe
Doubt and skepticism as opposed to optimism
Need for tangible proof
Having more questions than answers in the age of space exploration
The experiences of astronauts and the mechanics of space travel
“The Fox and the Forest”:
Fighting for freedom in an oppressive, totalitarian society
Is time dynamic or static?
Escape as a form of rebellion and resistance to oppression
Time travel as a vehicle for escape
Despite all the progress we have achieved, oppressive governments persist in the future
Nostalgia and Romanization of the past
The meaning of freedom: freedom to travel, freedom to make choices, freedom to leave, etc.
The meaning of health and disease
The way we treat those with deadly illnesses
Inability to share, greed, selfishness
The value of illusion
Knowing that something is illusory does not stop us from craving it
Human capacity for destruction
Paradise Lost (yet again)
Willingness to hurt and kill others and risk one’s own life for an illusion
Acceptance of disease and death
“The Concrete Mixer”
Materialism, imperialism, and the lengths to which we will go for profit
Exploitation of others and justifications of/excuses for it
The hunter becoming the prey
The role of imagination, popular culture, literature, and cinema in the formation of society’s values, its approach to other civilizations, and its own role in the world
Physical warfare as opposed to commercial warfare
The many ways of winning a war: conquering, fighting off invasions, or turning one’s enemy into one’s customer
War and Peace and their changing definitions
The meaning of a marriage
Does reliance on technology in marriage make us less human?
Outsourcing marital responsibilities and traditional gender roles
The way our society perceives men and women and their role as marriage partners
Man vs. machine
Running from responsibility
If machines are capable of love, how does that redefine technology?
The symbolic punishment fitting the crime
What is a robot?
Long-awaited revenge and its effects on an entire civilization
The psychology of revenge
Biological warfare, psychological warfare, and the dangers of any warfare going too far
Mutually assured destruction
Revenge potentially destroying the avenger as well as the target
“Sins of our fathers”
Inability to forgive and let go of the past
Do games imitate life or shape life?
The future is in the hands of the children
Complexity of games
Tension and power struggle between adults and children
Uniting against common enemy/opponent
The danger of dismissing children as simple-minded, naïve, just playful
Preservation and loss of innocence
Understanding of evil
Remaining untainted by evil
Does lack of material resources take away from one’s ability to achieve his/her dream?
High costs of having a dream in a capitalist society
The inability to choose
High stakes and high responsibility
Resisting breaking up the family and working to strengthen familial bonds
Determination and ambition
The power of illusion and suggestion
The role of creativity in a materialistic world
Art as the antidote for materialism and consumerism
“The Illustrated Man”:
The difficulty of reinventing oneself
Fear of the Other and ostracizing, marginalizing the Other
Body art as storytelling
Visionary art and self-fulfilling prophecies
Self-loathing as opposed to the loathing of the other
One’s descent from a law-abiding citizen and participant in the community to a murderer and an outcast
Attraction, repulsion, and marriage
What drives us to hurt and kill others?
What is beauty? What is the line between the beautiful and the frightening, between curiosity and terror?
Objectification of the human body
The meaning of being a “freak” on display for public entertainment