Holograms and (Dis) Embodied Intimacy in an Era of Ubiquitous Computing

Presented by: Dr Samantha Lindop

Date: Friday 18 June 2021
Time: 12–1pm
Location: Online via Zoom 


Abstract

Central to ubiquitous computing is the assimilation of interactive technologies into the everyday material world, allowing for progressively seamless interconnections between humans and software. Ubiquitous computing refers to nomadic, human centred technologies that move through physical space with us via equipment that is perpetually connected to the internet. This includes smart devices, personal assistants, and wearables, but it also applies to multisensory AI innovations like Gatebox’s 3D holographic companion/wife Azuma Hikari: a goldfish sized moe figuring housed in a high-tech glass capsule. This presentation examines the role of holographic technologies to facilitate human-software interrelationships from a posthuman perspective. Drawing on fictional representations of humanoid-hologram intimacy in Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 (2017) and real-life creations Azuma Hikari and Hatsune Miku, I argue that 3D holographic humanoids obfuscate boundaries between organic and synthetic, material and immaterial in significant ways. Holographs are a graphic example of how hybridised spaces created by ubiquitous computing, coupled with increasingly perpetual connectivity, promote and naturalise intimate posthuman fantasies. The partial disembodiment of humans in technologically mediated spheres, coupled with the partial embodiment of software using holographic interfaces, generates liminal counter-sites that exist between the real and imaginary – other spaces that align with what Michel Foucault calls heterotopias. Significantly, with increasing infiltration of such connected technologies into the everyday, the notion of place/space becomes progressively fragmented and destabilised to the extent that technological heterotopias, or techno-heterotopias, are themselves ubiquitous and normalised, radically transforming human-machine interconnections now and in the future.


Presenter

Samantha Lindop has a PhD in Film, Media, and Cultural Studies. Her doctoral dissertation involved examining gender representations in the cinematic style film noir. She is the author of the book Postfeminism and the Fatale Figure in Neo-Noir Cinema (Palgrave, 2015). Her second monograph The Stepford Wives (Liverpool University Press, 2021) offers a timely and compelling study of Brian Forbes’ 1975 cult film The Stepford Wives, locating it in the traditions of the gothic, histories of feminism, fictional imaginings about artificial women, and the futures of social robots both real and imagined. More broadly, her current research explores gender and posthumanism with a special focus on virtual companions and other forms of artificial intelligence. She also has scholarly publications on topics of sci-fi cinema, vampires, the uncanny, the gothic, and more.


 

About Research Seminar and Workshop Series

Venue

Online via Zoom