By Despina Kakoudaki
By interpreting a variety of literary texts and movies (including episodes from Twilight Zone, the fiction of Philip okay. Dick, Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel Never allow Me pass, city, The Golem, Frankenstein, The Terminator, Iron guy, Blade Runner, and that i, Robot), and going again to alchemy and to Aristotle’s Physics and De Anima, she tracks 4 foundational narrative parts during this centuries-old discourse— the delusion of the factitious start, the delusion of the mechanical physique, the tendency to symbolize synthetic humans as slaves, and the translation of artificiality as an existential trope. What unifies those investigations is the go back of all 4 components to the query of what constitutes the human.
This concentrated method of the subject of the unreal, developed, or mechanical individual permits us to re-evaluate the construction of synthetic life. via concentrating on their historic provenance and textual versatility, Kakoudaki elucidates synthetic people’s major cultural functionality, that's the political and existential negotiation of what it ability to be a person.
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Additional info for Anatomy of a robot : literature, cinema, and the cultural work of artificial people
20 In the mysterious workings of culture, real experiences of robotic constructs, however complex, may disappoint, betraying our implicit expectations about what such experiences should entail. In this discourse, then, stories and objects lend reinforcing elements to each other while inspiring different personal and cultural responses. Stories give expression to forceful animating fantasies only possible in the imagination. The linguistic and psychological predispositions that allow us to imagine an object coming to life are evoked and enhanced in representational spaces.
While the novel displays a philosophical pastiche of poetic, scientific, and social thought, much as the monster presents a collection of disparate body parts, there is a multivalent coherence of form in this unusual book. 8 This box structure itself deploys a symbolic Figure 7 Confrontation, negotiation, rejection: the new mysteries of Frankenstein ( James Whale, 1931). Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) finally comes face-to-face with the creature (Boris Karloff). © Universal Pictures The Artificial Birth 35 register in which the problems of exteriority and interiority, of material form and “spark of being,” play out in the novel’s composition, tempting us to look for an ever more interior story within the framed narratives or instructing us to notice the intra-frame connections.
And while the artificial birth is often described as a cerebral process, as a construction or fabrication, it is in fact intimately related to processes of human generation. The structural consistency of artificial birth fantasies offers an eloquent identification of what matters in the discourse of the artificial person. ” we are, and perhaps unconsciously, exactly at the crux, the linchpin of the issue. ” Origin stories, or stories that attempt to answer or radically expand this question, can be our guide to the relationship between real and artificial people before the modern era, when the boundary between them operates within different conceptual rubrics.
Anatomy of a robot : literature, cinema, and the cultural work of artificial people by Despina Kakoudaki