Biopolitical cinema, exemplified by Michael Winterbottom, Roland Emmerich, and others, has questioned the ability of representative democracy to handle a catastrophic situation. Beyond that, biopolitical film has undermined the moral and political legitimacy of the democratic system as a whole. This article examines the formative moments of biopolitics: its affirmative use by German post-Nietzscheans of the 1920s and ‘30s, the French critique during the late 1970s, and the current translation of both to a set of post-9/11 images. All three moments use “cultural crisis” in order to plead for urgent reform, and use biopolitics as a critical concept aimed at a false liberal claim to legitimate power and its abuse.

… Biopolitical critique is also apparent in commentary about recent political film, though left somewhat underdeveloped: as Slavoj Žižek expresses it in his commentary on Cuarón’s Children of Men (2006), the film depicts “a society without history, or, to use another political term, biopolitics. And my god, this film literally is about biopolitics. The basic problem in this society as depicted in the film is literally biopolitics: how to generate, regulate life” (DVD Commentary). In Violence: Six Sideways Reflections, Žižek identifies the philosophical condition for Cuarón’s work: “The infertility Cuaron’s film is about was diagnosed long ago by Friedrich Nietzsche, when he perceived how Western civilization was moving in the direction of the Last Man…. We in the West are the Last Men” (24). …

Nitzan Lebovic

Lehigh University,100383/

When people began to take notice of Orphan Black it was because of star Tatiana Maslany, and deservedly so. Maslany’s incredibly nuanced portrayal of at least four different characters per episode is unparalleled for a television drama. She imbues each character with such distinct personalities, gestures, walks, and vulnerabilities that it would be easier to believe the BBC had actually found an incredibly talented set of quadruplet actresses. The show would collapse on itself without such a strong central performance. Worse, it would look like a gimmick. As with every show, Orphan Black’s ambitions can be only as good as the talent bringing them to life. But Maslany’s tour de force isn’t the only reason Orphan Black is so exciting. In fact, the most revolutionary aspect of the series fell into place long before Maslany was attached, and it deserves recognition. …



As the temperature in California’s Death Valley climbed toward a hundred and thirty degrees recently, I had a vision of giant sandworms erupting from the desert floor and swallowing up the tourists and news media gathered around the thermometer at the National Park Service ranger station. The worms I had in mind sprang first from the imagination of Frank Herbert, and they have, over the past half century, burrowed their way into the heads of anyone who has read his science-fiction classic, “Dune.” Set on a desert planet named Arrakis that is the sole source of the universe’s most valued substance, “Dune” is an epic of political betrayal, ecological brinkmanship, and messianic deliverance. It won science fiction’s highest awards—the Hugo and the Nebula—and went on to sell more than twelve million copies during Herbert’s lifetime.  …



„Science Fiction, LMC3214: Concluding New Wave SF with Philip K. Dick and Star Trek’s “The City on the Edge of Forever”” –

Dr. Jason W. Ellis’ Blog on Science Fiction, Neuroscience, and Digital Technology

In today’s class, I lectured on Philip K. Dick’s life (2-3-74) and work (characteristics: ontological, epistemological, entropy, empathy, religion, and the “little man”) to conclude my discussion of New Wave writers began in the last class. Then, I lectured on Star Trek and used Harlan Ellison’s “The City on the Edge of Forever” as a bridge between the New Wave and popular, mainstream SF.

Tomorrow, we will begin our unit on Feminist SF and we will discuss readings by Pamela Zoline, Joanna Russ, and James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice B. Sheldon).

„Science Fiction, LMC3214: New Wave Lecture and Three Story Discussion” –

Today’s class was like an exclamation point in two ways. First, there was the long stroke of lecture. I lectured on the origins of the New Wave in New Worlds, Judith Merril’s England Swings SF, and Harlan Ellison’s Dangerous Visions. I gave my students background on semiotics, modernity/postmodernity, and modernism/postmodernism to anchor the New Wave (alas, arguing for a grand narrative while saying there ain’t such a thing). I talked more in-depth about the writers whose work we had read for today: J.G. Ballard, Harlan Ellison, and Samuel R. Delany. It was a long lecture, but it was material that I felt was important. Then, the hard dot fell after the pen raised from that long stroke! Students loved, “Repent Harlequin, Said the Ticktockman.” Other students hated it. Students loved, “The Cage of Sand.” Other students hated it. We had a knock-down drag out discussion. It was a beautiful conclusion to a week of lectures, readings, and film viewings. Next week, we continue the New Wave. I will talk about other New Wave writers and we will watch the original Star Trek episode, “The City on the Edge of Forever.” Looking further ahead next week, we will discuss Feminist SF and watch James Cameron’s Aliens (1986).

Wszyscy chyba słyszeliśmy o kontrowersjach wokół premiery ekranizacji Gry Endera. Wiele środowisk nawołuje do bojkotu filmu ze względu na antygejowskie wypowiedzi Orsona Scotta Carda. Oto jeden z najrozsądniejszych głosów w tej sprawie, autorstwa K. W. Jetera:

Whatever else results from the controversy about the soon-to-be-released ENDER’S GAME movie, and the boycott triggered by the anti-gay marriage stance of the original book’s author Orson Scott Card, there will probably be one unfortunate result for genre fiction and film enthusiasts:

It was already unlikely enough for a major, expensive film to be made from a living genre author’s book, other than best-selling “phenomenon” titles such as the Harry Potter books or THE HUNGER GAMES. If the ENDER’S GAME movie flops badly — and there’s a good chance it will — and that box-office disaster is in any way seen to be a result of the boycott against it, then it’s going to become even moreunlikely for a major film to be based on a book by a living genre author.

Why? Because there will be scenes around studio conference tables like this:

Junior execThis is a great book, boss, with enormous cinematic potential. We should make a movie out of it!

Senior execThe writer’s still alive? She is? What kind of baggage does she have? We don’t want a repeat of that Orson Scott Card kerfluffle. …

Creators of Alien Tongues

Nobody wore a ridged rubber forehead, or painted their skin Pandora blue. If there were craggy beards and long locks, these seemed more homage to 1960s counterculture than to “Game of Thrones.” Yet the some 700 people who filled Price Center’s Ballroom B last Friday for “Linguistics Goes to Hollywood” were still clearly fans. Fans of what? Not only of the “Star Trek” franchise, the James Cameron film “Avatar,” and the HBO hit fantasy series based on George R. R. Martin’s novels, but also of inventiveness. And playfulness, and craft.
All of that and more goes into making a constructed language, according to the creators of the Klingon, Na’vi and Dothraki languages—Marc Okrand, Paul Frommer and UC San Diego linguistics alumnus David Peterson, M.A. ’05, respectively—who were the evening’s featured guests.

Project MUSE – Adapting Philosophy: Jean Baudrillard and The Matrix Trilogy by Catherine Constable (review).


In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Before you reach for the blue pill at the mention of yet another book on The Matrix trilogy (Wachowski brothers 1999-2003), I want to emphasise from the outset that Constable has managed to do something novel and exciting with arguably overworked material. Most importantly, this is the first study to bring the entire cultural and intellectual phenomenon of philosophical writing on the films to critical analysis within a film studies context. However, fans of the trilogy and the tomes it has inspired will not be disappointed, as Constable’s own close readings in the later chapters also contribute to the philosophical dialogue she surveys and critiques in the first part of the book. Yet, Constable goes much further in using the films and their readings as object lessons for a systematic rethinking of the cinematic adaptation of philosophy. A case in point is the work of Jean Baudrillard, not only insofar as it has inspired the trilogy’s conception and provided a framework for its philosophical analysis, but also as exemplary of the function of imagery within philosophical discourse.

In surveying the literature, Constable inventories philosophical assumptions about film as an object of study that tend to get uncritically reproduced, particularly within the tradition of Anglo analytic philosophy. Fundamental in this respect is a naïve understanding of filmic adaptation, in relation to which all positions remain mired in a ‚criterion of fidelity’ between philosophical source and cinematic representation. Consequently, the films are treated either condescendingly as ‚good examples’: introducing viewers to philosophical problems, or polemically as ‚bad philosophy’: exploiting the seductions of the medium to indulge forms of sophistry. Constable provides an incisive analysis of the paradoxes and contradictions that eventuate, for example, in discussions of filmic adaptations of Baudrillard’s concept of the hyperreal, which contests the very relation between original and copy that the fidelity model presumes. Ironically, the ‚bad copy’ enacts a heightened fidelity to the source. Yet, as Constable points out, such ironies are not restricted to the attacks of analytic philosophers, but reach their apogee in Baudrillard’s own disqualification of the trilogy on the basis of infidelity to his thought. For Constable this point of tacit consensus among thinkers who would otherwise agree on little else is reflective of engrained philosophical hierarchies, such as conceptual/ perceptual, word/image and academic/popular within the fidelity model, and in relation to which the categorical incapacity of film as a medium to duplicate the forms of abstract argumentation characteristic of language gets misconstrued as a specific shortcoming of the trilogy. What Constable calls for instead is an inquiry into how philosophical thought gets reconstituted within the communicative structures specific to moving images, rather than lamenting that latter’s inability to form a syllogism.

The way forward, Constable argues, starts from an understanding that the key link between philosophical and filmic texts is not argumentation but figuration, which is crucial for articulating a more expansive sense of adaptation. The groundwork for such an approach is laid out in the second chapter by drawing formatively upon Kamilla Elliot’s work on the filmic adaptation of literature and Michèle Le Doueff’s analysis of the disavowed role of imagery within philosophical language. Considerable effort is spent tracing Elliot’s argument that while structuralist semiotics has broadened the notion of textuality to incorporate film and other image-based media, it still preserves a separation of graphic and iconic signs in relation to which thought gets excluded from the perception of images. Although Constable draws upon Elliot’s idea of a ‚looking-glass logic’, which emphasises the reversibility of the graphic/conceptual and linguistic/iconic modalities of signification, she rejects the notion that one must dispense with structural semiotics in favour of a cognitivist approach to articulate this reciprocity. She turns instead to the interrelation of metaphor and metonymy within Christian Metz’s cine-semiotics to challenge the separation of thought and perception within film experience. Her reading of Metz is insightful and draws attention to neglected aspects of his…


Project MUSE - Adapting Philosophy: Jean Baudrillard and The Matrix Trilogy by Catherine Constable (review)

Brumal – nowe czasopismo naukowe poświęcone fantastyce, Hiszpania

Vol. I, nº 1, primavera/spring 2013, ISSN: 2014-7910

Revista de Investigación sobre lo Fantástico
Research Journal on the Fantastic

Red. naczelny: David Roas (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, España)

Członkowie redakcji pochodzą z Hiszpanii, Irlandii, Brazylii i Peru, a komitet naukowy jest oczywiście jeszcze bardziej międzynarodowy. Artykuły w językach oryginalnych (hiszpański, francuski, angielski), ale redakcja oferuje krótkie angielskie streszczenia. Dostęp wolny na bazie licencji Creative Commons.

Ciało? Cyfrowe? który z tych dwóch elementów powinienem wziąć w cudzysłów?

Moving Imagination: Explorations of gesture and inner movement,  pod redakcją Heleny De Preester

Cały tekst dostępny w podglądzie online na GoogleBooks.

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