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Critical Perspectives: Dissertation OGR Presentation Submission 20/02/2017


  1. Mark B /
    Tom S /

  2. Okay - Tom, this is a transcript of the response I made to Tom Smith re. the possible relationship between transhumanism and postmodernism in terms of how it changes things re. the 'anxiety archetype' as expressed by sci-fi questioning the binaries between mankind and the machine - it might not relate exactly, but I predict Kath will be keen to see you dealing with 'postmodernism' as characteristic of contemporary sci-fi:

    "...early sci-fi positions technology as 'the other' - something 'not us' - even though it's often the case that the tech that is 'not us' was in fact created 'by us' - a great example of this paradox is in Frankenstein - a man made from us in our image becomes something 'alien', something 'other' - that comes to destroy us/threaten us. You might further argue therefore that a lot of Sci-Fi anxiety is very BINARY - so human vs machine / reason vs emotion / analogue vs digital and so on. You might say the 'otherness' is always a contrasting binary. Now, when it comes to postmodern technoanxiety, things shift around a bit - for example, Bladerunner is about replicants - machines who don't know they're machines (the Binary effaced) - indeed, the film leaves us with the idea that Deckard may - or may not be - a machine too; if you remember one of the principle characteristics of postmodernism is ambiguity and 'undecidability' - and also relativism - so, we make our own realities, so if a robot thinks it's human, who is to say that it is not? Transhumanism (as postmodern preoccupation in sci-fi) is where you see 'undecidability' becoming the new anxiety, as opposed to some orthodox, easily resolved binary opposition..."

  3. .... we're increasingly telling stories about the identity politics for machines - so, for example I, Robot and Chappie, wherein the 'rights to life' of sentient tech are the issue at hand, which might be more simply expressed as 'the measure of humanity' or even 'where does the 'soul' reside' - again, many of these stories do not finally 'decide' on the issue, but leave it open and 'undecided' - which reflects a level of ethical anxiety.

  4. ... also Westworld, obviously...

  5. I think you have some work to do on the structure and order/flow of ideas:
    Start with some fundamentals
    Modernism and cultures relationship with technology and media started the notion of alienation and desensitization.
    Postmodernist thinking has evolved it and now we discuss it in the context of the ‘’post human’- read Teach Yourself Postmodernim by Glen Ward to get you started.

    The fears and anxieties that underlay your dissertation are commonly a feature of Genre ( sci fi-) so you need some fundamental reading around this. Read Pam Cook the Cinema Book and or How to read film by James Monaco. You need also better background into how Gaming borrows from the Language of film etc
    Read Cythia Freedland But is it Art- there is a good chapter in there about this issue
    What about the Uncanny valley and robots- Freud’s theories could have some space in your discussion

    What I suppose you want to get to is a third chapter that analysis a game from this critical position.
    You question however is very broad and impossible to answer. Can you turn the title into a question?
    The expression of ideas in the synopsis is overly complex
    Socially and culturally these are very real threats at present in relation to industry and the economy-and robots taking over our roles you may want to explore a variety of social and cultural contexts

    Chapter 3 is just a description of the narrative of this game- is that what you are really talking about? How some games have these narrative themes or are you saying that playing this game will make the gamer believe that they are being taken over by a machine- do games dehumanize people- possibly yes
    You still have some thinking to work through and a lot more reading to do


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