Essay about Blade Runner And Jurassic Park

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Of Androids and Fossils: (Re)Producing Sexual Identity in Blade Runner and Jurassic Park

     With the shift from industrial to postindustrial capitalism, our culture has become increasingly concerned with the problem of how to represent subjects in a technologized world. Traditionally, dominant conceptions of the subject have relied on Western metaphysics; naturalized monolithic categories arranged in hierarchic binary oppositions: male/female, human/machine, subject/object, etc. In this system, the discourse of science maintains an isomorphic and mutually reinforcing relationship with the discourse of heterosexuality, since each posits an active, masculine subject and a passive, feminine object. However, the
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At the same time, the cyborg is freed from “biology as destiny”; its ability to regenerate and recombine its own components allows for the possibility of new identities and ways of connecting with others.
     While the cyborg has long been a standard science fiction trope, I argue that this figure has enjoyed a renewed popularity in the last two decades, as advanced technologies become increasing available to the general public. In particular, the cyborgs of popular films such as Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park reflect our complex and sometimes contradictory hopes and fears about reproduction and sexual identity in the postindustrial episteme. In these movies, the technological replication of bodies is presented as a threat to humanity, as androids and dinosaurs usurp “traditionally” human cognitive abilities and blur the boundaries between animals, people, and machines. Significantly, these “signifying monsters” function as a critique of postindustrial reproductive technologies, playing on traditional anxieties about scientific pride and its potentially disastrous effects. In doing so, the films reassert the distinction between technological and biological reproduction: Blade Runner’s androids infiltrate Earth in a desperate attempt to find and control the codes of their own DNA, while chaos ensues in Jurassic Park when the

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