Paradoxical (Post)Humanism. Disembodiment and Becoming-Earth in Her
SourceJournal of Posthuman Studies, 3, 2, (2019), pp. 202-218
Article / Letter to editor
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Literatuurwetenschap en Cultuurwetenschap
Journal of Posthuman Studies
SubjectCOMPAS: Creativity, Object, Materiality, and Practice of Art in Society; Europe in a Changing World
The visualization of posthumanism in Spike Jonze’s modern science-fiction romance Her is fundamentally paradoxical, because the film reinforces traditional humanism in the human character of Theodore while at the same time disturbing it in the posthuman character of Samantha. In an optimistic reading of Samantha, drawing on Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy of radical immanence, this article follows her posthuman character as evolving from being confined by the restrictions of embodied humanism to embracing the potentials of disembodied posthumanism, ultimately merging into a planetary dimension. This post-anthropomorphic shift, a process of becoming-earth, is central to a posthumanism that defines subjectivity as based on the inclusion of relations to a myriad of non-human others. Samantha learns to accept her posthumanness in all its planetary complexities, while Theodore embraces his humanness in all its frailty. In accordance, the authors argue that Her does not only outline the restrictions of humanness but also points to the limits of cinematic representation itself.
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