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2016, Vol.9, No.3

  • 1.

    Moving Targets: Towards a Post-Humanist Historical Ontology of Man?

    Jens DE VLEMINCK | 2016, 9(3) | pp.5~17 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    April 2016 was the fiftieth anniversary of the release of Michel Foucault’s monumental study Les Mots et les Choses (1966), translated four years later as The Order of Things (1970). This contribution wants to revisit the enigmatic last part of Foucault’s book in the light of the past half century of philosophical thinking, more particularly with regard to the post-humanist condition. Although Foucault’s thesis of the “end of man” is an obligatory reference in studies on post-humanism, the specific presuppositions and implications of Foucault’s so-called anti-humanism generally remained unexplored. In this contribution, Foucault’s The Order of Things is re-evaluated, considering its potential for the project of “critical post-humanism.” In this context, the following questions are taken into account: What humanism is targeted by Foucault’s critique? What are the specific aspirations of Foucault’s so-called “anti-humanism”? And, what is the latter’s critical potential for the development of a post-humanist philosophical anthropology understanding post-humanism as a continuation-through-transformation of humanism? Further expanding on the fore-mentioned questions, this contribution reconsiders Ian Hacking’s Historical Ontology (2002) as a further elaboration of the Foucauldian enterprise. In line with both Foucault and Hacking, the conditions of a posthumanist “historical ontology” of man are questioned in order to consider a philosophical anthropology for the 21st century.
  • 2.

    The Medium of Writing and Academic Texts: On Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht and Marshall McLuhan

    Gábor MEZEI | 2016, 9(3) | pp.19~32 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    The article deals with the question: What role does the medium of writing play concerning academic texts? If we take into consideration that the medium does not simply carry or record “contents,” as can be characterized by a constitutive operation, the material presence of writing has to be handled as inevitable. When reading the texts of Marshall McLuhan and Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, we have to face this question not only because in their books, the operations of writing are especially apparent, but also because the texts themselves reflect these aspects in many, though highly different, ways. Taking into account the works that are relevant from these perspectives may show that possible concepts of mediaanthropology can contribute to the understanding how the materiality of writing comes into focus as an active medium of academic — or any kind of — texts. Mediaanthropology, questioning the relation of the human and technology, provides a broader perspective here, as it may point at the medial precededness of the anthropos. The insight that technology has always already been there for human beings throws a different light upon the constitutive operations of writing.
  • 3.

    Singularities and Superintelligence: Transcending the Human in Contemporary Cinema

    Yvonne FOERSTER | 2016, 9(3) | pp.33~50 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    This article aims to draw a picture of how we currently visualize human vs. artificial intelligence. I will use movies as an informative medium for the question of how we culturally reckon with the question of future human development. Science fiction movies show images depicting the transcendence of the human, which I take to be significant for the contemporary conditio humana. I will examine how movies like Her (Spike Jonze, 2013) or Transcendence (Wally Pfister, 2014) imagine human and artificial life. My main focus will be on the concept of disembodied intelligences, which has become a central topos in contemporary cinema. Portrayals of future artificial intelligences or superintelligences (a merger of human minds with technology), use the image of an artificial neural net, which is omnipresent (e.g. the Internet), but exhibits no concrete form of embodiment. Such a net structure expands the image of the neural net into a global dimension. These superintelligences are represented as disembodied, but as I will show, the unfolding narratives use images of embodiment to explain the genesis of these intelligences. I will show how the presentation of technology as a highly complex and dynamic net-structure relates to neuroscientific imagery and the characteristics of the human brain. In this article I attempt to clarify how the neuroscientific reduction of consciousness to cerebral processes informs images of disembodied superintelligences in contemporary cinema.
  • 4.

    Between Friends and Enemies: Ridley Scott’s Alien

    Eli Park SORENSEN | 2016, 9(3) | pp.51~78 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    This article presents a reading of Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic Alien (1979), with a specific focus on the film’s latent political conflict. The film has often been read through feminist and psychoanalytic approaches, but such approaches essentially deflect attention from the literalness of the film’s political dimension. This political dimension is in many ways one that comes close to the problem Carl Schmitt discussed in connection with his concept of the state of exception, as well as his notorious reinterpretation of Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan. To Schmitt, power is ultimately justified through its right to rule over the exception. During the state of exception, the sovereign may legally suspend the social contract, or, the constitution — in order to protect, defend, and preserve it. In the absence of the anomaly, however, the state is in danger of losing its power. Thus, it is essential for the authoritarian, anti-liberal state to establish a relation to the anomaly — i.e. Behemoth, or the state of nature — in order to reassert itself. Alien envisions such a scenario, and it shows Ripley, as a loyal citizen, fighting against power’s sinister attempt to restore fear and terror — even if she thereby, simultaneously, comes to personify the absolute, unlimited sovereign, as well as the alien, that is, the outlawed, banned life; hero and enemy of the state — or friend and enemy — at one and the same time.
  • 5.

    Noodle Western: Asian Gunslingers, Swordplayers, Filmmakers Gone West

    Sheng Mei-Ma | 2016, 9(3) | pp.79~97 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    Pivotal in fashioning the U.S. national identity, classic Westerns, circa 1950s, evolved into Spaghetti Western a decade or so later. At the turn of this century, global cinema witnesses an exponential hybridizing and genrebending across the Pacific, Italian Spaghetti now remade into Asian-style Noodle Western. All across East Asia, cowboys, frequently in contestation with swordplayers, populate action comedies reminiscent of the triple stock characters of Spaghetti Western, resulting in Korea’s The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008) and China’s A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (2009), and The Chef, the Actor, the Scoundrel (2013). Hollywood’s Ninja Assassin (2009) and Korea-New Zealand production The Warrior’s Way (2010) cash in on the Ninja and samurai mystique, crossing samurai swords with guns and explosives in a computer-generated landscape. This analysis proceeds in three parts. First of all, “Gunslingers Gone West, Figuratively” investigates how millennial Chinese and Korean Noodle Western borrows not only Spaghetti Western’s tripartite titles but also the trope of the West, pitting heroism against the environment and enemies. Secondly, “Swordplayers Gone West, Literally” follows ninjas and warriors as they migrate across the ocean to the West proper as part of the narrative and plot. Finally, “Filmmakers Gone Hollywood” looks “behind the veil” at such Asian filmmakers as Joon-ho Bong and Chan-wook Park beyond Noodle Western, whose directorial debuts in and for Hollywood mirror their filmic heroes’ journeys.
  • 6.

    Jane Eyre in Our Times: Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre in Dialogue with Two Film Adaptations

    So-Young Lee | 2016, 9(3) | pp.99~125 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    This study looks into the 2011 film adaptation of Jane Eyre and compares it with two earlier feature film versions to examine how different Zeitgeist at different periods read the Charlotte Brontë text. Especially, three categories are examined: the genre and times, the female community and the role of Bertha, and transposing Brontë’s narrative into film. The 1944 film’s Gothic genre emphasizes Jane’s destitute state and her domestic role to nurse Rochester back to what he had been before. This was due to the special circumstance or the times when women needed to relinquish their social roles over to men returning from World War II. The 1990s was a prosperous time, so Jane’s journey to attain her authority is portrayed in an optimistic light in the 1996 adaptation. She is supported by various female characters; especially, she is tied visually to Bertha through the mirror motif. However, her leaving and returning to Thornfield is extremely compressed; thus, her inner struggle and growth of the independent self is not fulfilled. The 2011 film reflects a time of uncertainty for people, especially youths. Thus, director Fukunaga sets the film in the Gothic genre to emphasize the fear and isolation that Jane faces. The film starts at the moment of Jane’s leaving Thornfield, comes to a full circle through flashbacks, and progresses on to her trial with St. John. This structure emphasizes the two trials that she had to face between the two men and portrays the inner struggle and growth she had achieved through her life at Moor House. Although a harmonious ending is contrived at the end, the emphasis is not only on the romance but also on the individual inner growth for both Jane and Rochester, between the younger aspiring class and the once dominant class.
  • 7.

    Extreme Violence and the Media: Challenges of Reporting Terrorism in Nigeria

    Osakue Stevenson OMOERA , Kehinde Oghenekevwe AKE | 2016, 9(3) | pp.127~146 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    Reporting terrorism or extreme violence presents a myriad of challenges and dilemmas to media professionals, information managers, and other state actors who are saddled with the responsibilities of objectively, responsibly, and accurately purveying information to ensure effective development communication in society. By the same token, insurgent or terrorist groups spread their inordinate causes, transmit their messages of radicalisation, and garner support, recognition, and legitimacy from the populace through media channels such as handbills, internet, radio, and film. The paradox, therefore, is that in their informational offerings, the media or media professionals have inadvertently become accomplices or victims/endangered species in terror acts. In spite of this, they are duty-bound to report the events regardless of the consequences on the audience(s). Indeed, it has been argued that the sensational reportage and overly dramatization of the activities of extremists groups in the media further propagates terrorist acts. This article examines media reportage of terrorism occasioned by the activities of Boko Haram terrorist sect(s) in Nigeria and the challenges media professionals are confronted with in the line of duty. Mooring itself on the agenda setting and gate-keeping theories of the media, it uses historical-analytic method to interrogate the complex relationship between the media and Boko Haram terrorists as well as the dangers posed to Nigerian media professionals and the collective security of the Nigerian state and even the neighbouring countries.
  • 8.

    Picasso’s Paintings as Allusions: A Comparative Study of Abe Kōbō’s The Ruined Map and Paul Auster’s Ghosts

    Kenji OBA | 2016, 9(3) | pp.147~166 | number of Cited : 2
    Abstract PDF
    Most literary criticism of Ghosts (1986) by Paul Auster (1947– ) have focused on the relationship with postmodernism and American Renaissance literature. By contrast, this research compares Paul Auster’s Ghosts with The Ruined Map (1967) by Abe Kōbō (1924–1993) through the medium of allusions to paintings by Pablo Picasso (1881–1973). Both Abe and Auster commonly wrote about disappearance and identity crisis in urban space. In The Ruined Map, there is a “Picasso lithograph” in the room of a client who asks a detective to find her missing husband. This lithograph, clipped out of a magazine and depicting a woman looking up and left, was quoted from Metamorphosis (Die Verwandlung, 1915) by Franz Kafka (1883–1924). Metamorphosis contains a picture, which depicted a woman and lost its “aura” through being clipped out of a magazine. Being influenced by Kafka, the “Picasso lithograph” appears in The Ruined Map. This lithograph paradoxically represents existentialistic material in urban space through phenomenological reduction. In Ghosts, it is important that all female characters cry. Their tears represent the “process of mourning” that works against “ghosts” as lost possibilities. At that time, Jacque Derrida (1930–2004) also argues the theme of possibilities. Auster connected the theme of disappearance from the present life (context) with possibilities as well as Derrida. Moreover, there is another hidden “Weeping Woman.” She is Picasso’s The Weeping Woman (1937). The names of main characters of Ghosts, such as Blue or Black, indicate the colors in The Weeping Woman. Hence, Auster wrote Ghosts under the influence of Abe, Picasso, and Derrida.
  • 9.

    Storytelling in the Rashomon Gate: Kurosawa, Konjaku monogatari-shu, and Buddhism

    이향순 | 2016, 9(3) | pp.167~190 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    This article is concerned with the relationship between Kurosawa Akira’s Rashomon and Konjaku monogatari-shu, an anthology of anecdotes from the Heian period. Kurosawa’s film is adapted from two short stories by Akutagawa Ryunosuke, which are in turn based on three Konjaku tales. This article consists of four parts. In the first part, plot summaries of the three Konjaku tales are provided, and the role of the narrator is examined in each. Special attention is paid to the elements of reflexivity in the commentaries by the Konjaku narrator. The second part of the article investigates the narrative structure of Rashomon and then discusses a striking affinity between the medieval storytelling conventions and the verbal interactions among the three characters in Kurosawa’s frame story. The extensive role of the monk-narrator in Rashomon is analyzed in light of the didactic use of the Konjaku tales in a Buddhist temple in late Heian society. The third section relates Kurosawa’s concern with the enigma of human nature to the Buddhist doctrine of emptiness. The epistemological issues raised in Rashomon are defined as the results of each character’s selfdelusion. In cinematizing the interrelated subjects of elusive reality, epistemic crisis, and indeterminacy of meaning, Kurosawa makes brilliant use of his fluid camera. The last section of the article reviews the critical controversy surrounding the foundling sequence and also the problematic association of this episode with Kurosawa’s espousal of Western humanism. Three pieces of evidence are presented to argue that the sequence can be more coherently and meaningfully understood when it is contextualized in the Japanese Buddhist tradition rather than Western humanism.
  • 10.

    Another “Paris in the Orient”: Overlapping Exoticism in Japanese Modernism around 1930

    Tsuyoshi NAMIGATA | 2016, 9(3) | pp.191~210 | number of Cited : 1
    Abstract PDF
    This article attempts to analyze modernism as exoticism in Japanese modernist writings around 1930, especially those concerning encounters in the East Asian cities of Shanghai and Harbin. While a Japanese writer absorbed the aesthetics and politics of Orientalism in terms of “modernization,” the framework, such as the West/non-West, the Occident/Orient, the savage/civilized, capitalism/ communism, cross their borders, amplify, and overlap the contradiction or the ambivalent identity of Japanese imperialism through the process of translating Western exoticisms into a Japanese context. From this viewpoint, it can be said that “modan” (モダン, modern) signifies the encounters of the East and West in the geographical and political sense, and the Japanese modernist literature represents that struggle that took place on the cultural-political stage in East Asia. This is modernism in Japan, and could be modernism itself.
  • 11.

    Fukushima: The Geo-trauma of a Futural Wave

    David R. COLE , Rick DOLPHIJN , Joff P. N. BRADLEY | 2016, 9(3) | pp.211~233 | number of Cited : 0
    Abstract PDF
    The enduring effects of the March 2011 tsunami and nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan are explored in this paper through the notions of “geo-trauma” in the authors’ work and geophilosophy in Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy. At the fulcrum of the 2011 global disaster was the nuclear meltdown and the emittance of radioactive material such as Caesium-137 and Strontium-90. This event mattered and matters, dispersing and deterritorializing organic, non-organic, and anorganic life in all of its articulations. In the wake of the singularity of Fukushima and the Anthropocene epoch more generally, it is timely to ruminate upon in what way this event as a futural wave makes “us” as the present generation both responsible for and part of the ongoing Fukushima meltdown. The questions that Fukushima provokes are not about the specific clean-up operation and environmental impacts around the plant, but more about how we can understand Fukushima as an event in nuclear history, or a singularity of “geo-trauma.” The folly of Fukushima and its aftermath, points to something fundamental about the Anthropocene, in the sense that the interconnected patterning that one may derive from the site of the disaster, gives new life to understanding the darker/non-human sides of ecology, the media, the unconscious, contamination, and space. The posthumanism of Deleuze and Guattari combined with the extinctional impetus of the Anthropocene will drive this analysis forward in terms of uncovering new forms of understanding about the Earth, World, territory, land, and Nature.
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