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A Study on Cinematic Representations of Posthuman Girls in South Korea—Focused on The Silenced and The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion

  • Journal of Popular Narrative
  • 2021, 27(3), pp.95-124
  • DOI : 10.18856/jpn.2021.27.3.003
  • Publisher : The Association of Popular Narrative
  • Research Area : Interdisciplinary Studies > Interdisciplinary Research
  • Received : August 31, 2021
  • Accepted : October 11, 2021
  • Published : October 30, 2021

Eun Joung Kim 1

1백석대학교 만화애니메이션학부

Accredited

ABSTRACT

As the symbolic images of girls besides its definition have varied according to the age and society, a posthuman girl character recently appears in the digital cinema. This study aims to analyze its cinematic representations and the social contexts in which they are created. For this purpose, the study focuses on what extent the society allows its imagined figurations as a future female body and the meanings revolving around the image of ‘technologically body-enhanced female fighter’. Current digital visualization technology has developed to the extent any imaged future humans can be represented, but posthuman girls’ representations have its limitation that only a human-like figuration can be allowed in accord with the traditionally idolized image of girls. It is because of the representation logic in which digital cinema is visualized based on perceptual realism that values audiences’ experiences. Despite such less critical figuration which does not dare to cross the boundary between the image of human and inhuman, the posthuman girl characters create a new category of the ‘dangerous girls’ who are both void of sexual femininity and independent of motherhood and heterosexual romance narrative. Of course, they support the modern human-centered belief that humans can take entire control of technology with their moral behaviors and dispel the fear about the negative impact the nature of technology may have on society at large by showing their child-like figuration protecting ethical values. However, the new character of ‘unruly girl’ exerts her subversive act that seeks to fight against the human-centered liberal humanistic values and melancholic feeling and vulnerability that the neoliberalism and technocracy enforce. When posthuman girl characters are considered to be a marker through which we can see how different social forces are intervening and competing each other in the upcoming posthuman age, the limited figuration of the posthuman girl characters in South Korean movies illustrates the opinionated thoughts toward the instrumentalism in technology but their bloodshed struggles reveal how the corporate or state-governed techno-biopower has oppressively treated and appropriated the human body as the technology-object and also provide a meaningful opportunity to rethink its unethical violence.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.