By Neil Badmington
Alien Chic offers a cultural historical past of the alien because the Nineteen Fifties, asking ourselves why our attitudes to extraterrestrial beings have shifted from worry to affection, and what this may let us know approximately how we now see ourselves and others.
Neil Badmington explores our courting with extraterrestrial beings, inscribed in motion pictures reminiscent of The battle of the Worlds, Mars Attacks!, Mission to Mars and Independence Day; and the way thinkers similar to Descartes, Barthes, Freud, Lyotard and Derrida have conceptualised what it capacity to be human (and post-human).
Alien Chic examines the the concept that of posthumanism in an age while the traces among what's human and what's non-human are more and more blurred by means of advances in technology and expertise, for instance genetic cloning and engineering, and the advance of AI and cyborgs.
Questioning no matter if our present embracing of all issues 'alien' - within the type of extraterrestrial devices or abduction narratives, for example - stems from a wish to reaffirm ourselves as 'human', this can be an unique and thought-provoking contribution to the learn of posthumanism.
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Extra info for Alien Chic: Posthumanism and the Other Within
6 It was never going to be easy to narrow that staggering figure down to something more practical, but Steichen and his team eventually settled upon just 503 images. 8 The Family of Man was finally unveiled to the public on 26 January 1955. That morning, ‘long before the Museum of Modern Art opened, a crowd began waiting in line, soon flooding the long crosstown block in front of the building. 10 In Paris, it was seen by Roland Barthes, who found it guilty of a reactionary appeal to universal human Nature.
Man’ rests upon a bland, complacent, unjust sameness. This was not only true of texts that dealt with human subjects; it also applied to aliens, as Barthes noted in another of his petites mythologies du mois. Popular fictions of Mars, he observes, consistently fail to do justice to the radical otherness of the red planet; the extraterrestrial is always overwhelmingly terrestrial. ’15 Humanism cannot think difference, cannot think differently: For one of the constant features of all petit-bourgeois mythology is this impotence to imagine the Other.
In the same year that Warner Brothers released Red Planet, Touchstone unveiled its rival, Mission to Mars. The two films share many thematic features—a rescue mission to the surface of Mars; near disaster on board the main spaceship; a vaguely mystical undercurrent—but it seems to me that Mission to Mars is even more radical than Red Planet in its rethinking of the relationship between the human and the alien. 35 28 READING THE RED PLANET But, unlike Tim Burton, De Palma does not look to the 1950s for inspiration; the main point of reference, rather, appears to be 2001.
Alien Chic: Posthumanism and the Other Within by Neil Badmington