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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Notes On Some Images: For Amy Kate Horn

posted by on July 31 at 14:53 PM

Let’s begin with this image:

We see two things. One: its continuity with this image, from the middle of Blade Runner.
unicorn-toy-1.jpg Walle-E the robot (his place, his look, his habits) is related to J. F. Sebastian, a genetic designer for Tyrell Corporation. Both are lonely, and both have a weakness for beautiful women. So, there is a connection, but not a continuity, between Pris (a sexy replicant) and EVE (a superior robot).

The second thing we see in the initial image is EVE’s continuity. Unlike Wall-E, but like the iRobot, her continuity is located outside (and not inside) of cinema. She is a part of the ipodization of commodities.

The cultural area of ipodization has recently expanded to the automobile industry.
toyota_iq_sq2.jpg This is Toyota’s iQ. Like the iPod, and EVE, the notion expressed by this design is “clean technology”—micro and yet powerful, this is the aesthetic that replaces the vulgar age of the SUV. The will of this aesthetic, like the will of any potent concept, is total realization. If ipodization reaches its final moment, the world will look like this:

But this image brings us back to robots, back to Wall-E.

To open his book on the psychological effects of colonialism, Black Skin, White Masks, Fanon asks: What does a black man want? If one were to write a book about the psychology of thinking machines, the first question they should ask is: What does a robot want? For the black man, his want is still a mystery to all and himself; as for the robot, there’s no mystery, no ambiguity: it wants to be like humans. Because they have this impossible desire, they suffer from an absurd (or perverted) mode of nostalgia. Wall-E watches an old musical religiously; the robot in Moby’s song “Whisper in the Wind” is filled with memories of a happy and healthy world; replicants in Blade Runner cling onto fake memories; and the robot in this advertisement:

The sorrows of a robot.

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You are not a mystery. You're an idiot.

Posted by Sorry. | July 31, 2008 3:01 PM
Posted by wisepunk | July 31, 2008 3:04 PM

The Toyota iQ, cute but devestating in a crash with the SUVS you all seem to hate.

Posted by raindrop | July 31, 2008 3:05 PM

I want that car. Almost as much as I want a Fiat Nuova 500.

Posted by Fnarf | July 31, 2008 3:05 PM

This: " wants to be like humans. Because they have this impossible desire..." is false. This is what humans(in real life) impose on robots(in fiction) because it makes us feel glad to be human. In reality, robots do not have desire unless we program them in a way that makes us think they have desire. But they still don't.

Posted by A | July 31, 2008 3:07 PM

@3 - um, they're riding electric golf carts in Texas, raindrop ... maybe you should hit the reset button on your brain.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 31, 2008 3:21 PM

All is full of love.

Posted by kid icarus | July 31, 2008 3:30 PM

so, Charles, have you bridged the uncanny valley yet?

Posted by CryinLion | July 31, 2008 3:34 PM

1) appears to contain alternate language versions of that commercial.

2) @5: You're right, until we get to the level of technology of making bipedal, self-programming robots. It's the "self programming" part that's key. Because, then, they're out of our control, and, potentially, at least, capable of wishing they were something they're not.

And, they don't even need to be bipedal.

Posted by dafydd | July 31, 2008 3:37 PM

Oh, raindrop.

Why do SUVs cost more to insure than cars, if they are safer?

Posted by elenchos | July 31, 2008 3:39 PM

True that, @10. Although, I really hope it never happens, I can at least feel confident that, if an SUV ever does ram my 1975 VW bus, that plastic bodied piece of shite is going to shatter like a freaking window, and probably roll over and 'spode for good measure.

Sure, I'll probably have a biggish ding somewhere, but that's what dent-pullers, and bondo were made for.

Posted by COMTE | July 31, 2008 3:46 PM

And SUVs can kill their occupants without the help of any other vehicle at all, just by rolling over in a turn. It's sad, still hearing these failed arguments at this late date.

Posted by elenchos | July 31, 2008 3:52 PM

That little buglet will zip right around your cumbersome, brakeless, no-handling SUV, raindrop, thus avoiding the collision altogether. That's how it works. It's also better in a crash than most SUVs and trucks, due to intelligent caging and seven airbags.

But geez, Comte, a '75 VW bus is the most dangerous vehicle on the road. I'll never forget the guy I saw on I-5, struggling to get to his feet after going through the windshield of one at 75 MPH. His friends were trying to hold him down. There was a long, long, red patch of meat on the pavement nearby. He did not survive.

Posted by Fnarf | July 31, 2008 5:16 PM

Whiskey and robotic wisdom GHEEZUZ that is so strange! THE STRANGER.

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | July 31, 2008 7:05 PM

The whiskey is water, the water is wine.

What was this thread about again?

Posted by Michael Stipe | July 31, 2008 7:10 PM

You really should give a shout out to Chris Cunningham for the 5th image, from the Bjork video he directed.

Posted by brian | August 1, 2008 6:52 AM

Dear Charles Mudede,

Girl, you crazy.

Posted by Bobo | August 1, 2008 11:17 AM

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