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Technology, Art, and the Cybernetic Body: The Cyborg as Cultural Other in Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" and Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"

Klaus Benesch
Amerikastudien / American Studies
Vol. 44, No. 3, Body/Art (1999), pp. 379-392
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41157479
Page Count: 14
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Technology, Art, and the Cybernetic Body: The Cyborg as Cultural Other in Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" and Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"
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Abstract

Taking the latest development in the production of military weapons, the cloning of so-called "virtual officers," as a point of departure, the essay examines this project not only in the light of cyberspace and the proliferation of artificial bodies (cyborgs) but also with a backward glance at the history of metaphorical encodings of technology in Western culture at large. I will argue that the way in which we confront technology is determined by much more than just the efficacy of the machine itself. It is equally determined by a symbolic investment, that is, the desire to construct human identity as basically different from the realm of the technological. While my theoretical frame of reference includes psychoanalytic and recent anthropological theory (Lacan and Taussig), the two major representations of technology which will be discussed in detail are taken from the world of art: Fritz Lang's now classic silent movie Metropolis and Philip K. Dick's science fiction cult novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

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