By Neil Badmington
Alien Chic offers a cultural background of the alien because the 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 movies equivalent to The battle of the Worlds, Mars Attacks!, Mission to Mars and Independence Day; and the way thinkers akin to Descartes, Barthes, Freud, Lyotard and Derrida have conceptualised what it ability to be human (and post-human).
Alien Chic examines the the idea that of posthumanism in an age while the strains among what's human and what's non-human are more and more blurred through advances in technological know-how and know-how, for instance genetic cloning and engineering, and the improvement of AI and cyborgs.
Questioning no matter if our present embracing of all issues 'alien' - within the type of extraterrestrial contraptions 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 examine of posthumanism.
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Extra info for Alien Chic: Posthumanism and the Other Within
The motifs and the meanings of the past circulate only as comedy in the 1990s; when Mars attacks, it does so with a knowing smile. And while the film does not actively rewrite the rhetoric of the earlier texts with quite the same vigour as Red Planet (dir. Antony Hoffman, 2000) and Mission to Mars (dir. Brian De Palma, 2000)—texts to which I will turn in a moment—it does, through this explicit use of comedy, comment upon the current status of the humanism that underpinned the films of the past.
The differences have been set aside; the cutting has come to an end. The journey from long shot to long shot is complete. Things have come full circle. As in The War of the Worlds, It! The Terror from Beyond Space and Invaders from Mars, the threat of the other shores up the human. And, as if to underscore this, Signs allows the alien to make its presence felt at the very end of the dining scene. As the Hesses embrace each other, the camera tracks back across the table until the baby monitor (which has been receiving signals from the extraterrestrials) is seen in the foreground.
The theme of the colonization of Mars is nothing new. 32 But I think that Red Planet and Mission to Mars construct the relationship between the human and the alien in a manner that departs significantly from the invasion films of the 1950s. Set in the mid-twenty-first century, Red Planet narrates the difficulties encountered during ‘the first manned mission to Mars’. Earth has been devastated by overpopulation and ecological neglect, and a new home is needed for the human race. Algae samples have already been sent to the surface of Mars, but their initial success at producing oxygen is now overshadowed by doubt.
Alien Chic: Posthumanism and the Other Within by Neil Badmington