Chair: Professor Catherine Constable
Liam Rogers ‘“I am everywhere”: (Dis)embodied Knowledge and Contradictory Posthumanism in Lucy (2014)’.
This paper investigates how Lucy conceptualises knowledge in relation to a posthumanist de-centring of the human. It explores how the film reconciles competing understandings of knowledge, and demonstrates how Lucy represents knowledge paradoxically as both a disembodied ideal of objectivity and pure cognition, as well as situated within a particular embodied and embedded experience in the world.
Dr Laurence Kent ‘Cinematic Sapience and the Rethinking of Rationality in Contemporary Science Fiction’.
From climate change to the current global pandemic, there is a necessity to think through the pitfalls and possibilities of human action globally. As well as de-centring the human, I claim that contemporary science-fiction cinema has also been positively interrogating individual and collective human agency. This requires reassessing rationality across cultures, and I will analyse Lucy (Besson, 2014) and The Wandering Earth (Gwo, 2019) as providing contradictory and surprising perspectives on reason, where the move towards a universal rationality is in constant tension with the socio-political specificities of the films’ cultural contexts. On the one hand, this reveals the insidious common-sense assumptions and localized parochialisms that rationality has accrued. Intelligence is a concept with problematic baggage, often encumbered by gendered, raced, and able-bodied biases. However, these films are also spaces where ideas around autonomy and care are renegotiated, and a way out of global problems is envisioned in different ways across the world.