By Despina Kakoudaki

Why can we locate man made humans interesting? Drawing from a wealthy fictional and cinematic culture, Anatomy of a robotic explores the political and textual implications of our perennial projections of humanity onto figures comparable to robots, androids, cyborgs, and automata. In an attractive, refined, and available presentation, Despina Kakoudaki argues that, of their narrative and cultural deployment, synthetic humans demarcate what it capability to be human. They practice this functionality through delivering us a non-human model of ourselves as a website of research. synthetic humans educate us that being human, being an individual or a self, is a continuing approach and sometimes a question of felony, philosophical, and political struggle.

By studying quite a lot of literary texts and flicks (including episodes from Twilight Zone, the fiction of Philip ok. Dick, Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel Never enable 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 myth of the substitute delivery, 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 parts to the query of what constitutes the human.

This targeted method of the subject of the bogus, developed, or mechanical individual permits us to re-examine the production of man-made life.  by way of concentrating on their historic provenance and textual versatility, Kakoudaki elucidates synthetic people’s major cultural functionality, that is the political and existential negotiation of what it skill to be a person.

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Extra resources for Anatomy of a robot : literature, cinema, and the cultural work of artificial people

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All fictional characters come to life in some way in our minds; but in some texts, certain characters are designed to represent objects that are then “literally” animated for the purposes of the fiction. In the specialized discourse of the artificial person, the narrative treatment of this diegetic fantasy of animation is honed in the gothic experiments of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and continues to channel the era’s political and racial anxieties. In the Romantic/gothic paradigm, the animation of objects emphasizes dangerous verisimilitude, the sense that objects come to life to exact revenge or undermine important boundaries between authentic and inauthentic personhood.

Using a roughly structuralist methodology and taking both narrative and historical issues into consideration, in each of the chapters I focus on a core feature, a basic or fundamental ingredient of the discourse of the artificial person. I selected four such networks of meaning: the fantasy of the artificial birth, the fantasy of the mechanical body, the tendency to represent artificial people as slaves, and the interpretation of artificiality as an existential trope. Selected because they are typologically pervasive, these conceptual elements exceed the limits of a strictly contemporary worldview, while they also remain foundational for modern versions of the artificial person, inflecting audience expectations and informing the patterns of future texts.

Ancient statues were often painted in vibrant colors and even “inert” materials interact with their environment in evocative ways as when, depending on their placement in sun or shade, marble statues and stones can be pleasantly cool, warm to the touch (to the point of reaching the temperature of live beings), or inhumanly hot. To approach the figure of the artificial person as a transhistorical entity we need non-­gothic and non-­apocalyptic approaches to objects and textures. Things we wear and handle, things we see far away or up close, things made of reflective materials, things that feel solid or liquid—­all Introduction 23 involve sensual interactions that may be unconscious and under-­theorized but that are also very familiar.

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