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Golems Inc.

Gee, M., 2022. Golems Inc. Sightlines: Filmmaking in the Academy (4).

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Golems Inc explores the ways storytelling is used as a defining feature of what it means to be human in posthuman noir science fiction. The subgenre posthuman noir can be summarised as: a screen text set in a future with posthuman technology which uses multiple tropes of traditional film noir—aesthetics, structures, characters and themes—to validate the human qualities of emotional awakening and storytelling as crucial for survival (Gee 2016). Although the screen texts within this subgenre touch on transhumanism and posthumanism, they ultimately privilege anthropocentric human qualities of emotion and storytelling. Humans are story machines (Boyd 2009; Schank 2000). The multifaceted way that humans use storytelling—including to make sense of the world around them; to construct and project their identities, and to interact and connect with others—provide the points of departure for Golems Inc. I examine how a posthuman character could employ storytelling abilities to successfully pretend to be, or simulate being, human (Baudrillard 1981). Despite their synthetic nature, they come to be considered more human than the human characters in the screenplay. The structure of the screenplay follows film noir narrative pattern of voice over recollection and flashback, thus the narration within the script is an expression of Roz’s storytelling ability. In using tales such as The Golem of Prague, I examine the problematic nature of othering as the figure of the posthuman has occupied the space of the Other (Haraway 1985). This screenplay is also a reaction to the way this subgenre genders robots as female, then presents these posthumans as objects of sexual gratification (Wosk 2015). In Golems Inc, the robot protagonist, Roz, changes their physical appearance, shifting between genders. Drawing from Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto (1985) and N. Katherine Hayles (1999), Golems Inc blurs boundaries of human/non-human, male/female to explore a future where what is human is not defined solely by the flesh but a combination of an emotional embodied experience and self-awareness driven by storytelling impulses. In contrast to Roz, Marcin, the homme fatal, gender flips stereotypes of sexualised female robots to challenge these representations. I figure my practice in a feedback loop of knowledge gained and knowledge disseminated (Smith and Dean 2009). I used writing this screenplay as a conduit to both gain new insights into posthuman noir and pass on information about what it is to be human, as well as my understanding of myself as human/potentially posthuman. As a cyborg-screenwriter, I engage in a network of human—cast and crew—and non-human—Final Draft computer software, cameras, post-production software—players. Screenplays are nodes in the posthuman filmmaking network that exists on the cusp of becoming film (Deleuze and Guattari 1987). Thus, screenwriting creative practice is an apt method for this research. Through figuring the screenplay as a posthuman text evolving towards becoming-film, and through channelling myself as a cyborg-screenwriter, my creative practice — an expression of the human storytelling ability which aims to generate an emotional awakening in the reader—mirrors the themes around these essential human traits within the subgenre.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:screenwriting; practice research; posthumanism; film noir; science fiction
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:37880
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:06 Dec 2022 10:41
Last Modified:06 Dec 2022 10:41


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