A posthuman exploration of the robot in contemporary science fiction films

  • Aliyah Bhana

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


This study uses critical posthumanism to explore the representation of the robot in Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), Alex Garland’s Ex Machina (2015) and Jake Schreier’s Robot and Frank in relation to posthuman embodiment, intersubjectivity and cultural anxieties about the interface between humans and robots. By conducting a close reading of the films’ mise-en-scene, cinematography and iconography, this thesis argues that while these films draw attention to the fears and anxieties associated with robots, the representation of an interconnected, posthuman robot enables the films to critique the anthropic principle and anthropocentrism. This thesis argues that by blurring and displacing the boundaries between human and machine, artificial and natural, organic and inorganic, these films challenge the structures of exclusion and demarcations established by humans and explore the implications of technology for our understanding of who, or what, can be truly considered ‘human’.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorSarah Falcus (Main Supervisor) & Jessica Malay (Co-Supervisor)

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