Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. 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.

A-Life and the Uncanny in "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within"

Livia Monnet
Science Fiction Studies
Vol. 31, No. 1 (Mar., 2004), pp. 97-121
Published by: SF-TH Inc
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4241231
Page Count: 25
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
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.
A-Life and the Uncanny in "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within"
Preview not available

Abstract

Sakaguchi Hironobu's "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" (2001) was the first entirely computer-generated film to produce a nearly perfect, cinematic photorealism. This article argues that the significance of this film lies less in the technological achievement of its computer graphics than in the questions it raises about the conceptualization and representation of life in analog and digital media, as well as in popular genres such as science fiction. I argue that a contingent, historically specific notion of life (and death) as artificial life, or a-life, provides continuity and cross-fertilization between analog and digital moving-image media on the one hand and information-based life sciences on the other. Articulated in varying forms ranging from cinema's animism, or ersatz of life, to the life effect of computer-generated Artificial Life ecologies, this notion of a-life is uncanny because it is predicated on life excess, as well as on the constant reenactment of an absence. While this absence has as a rule been the result of the abduction of women's (or of marginalized, disenfranchised groups') agency and cultural contributions, Final Fantasy also alerts us to this violent erasure's history of suppression in the cinema, animation, and software culture, as well as in science fiction, philosophy, and psychoanalysis. The conclusion of the essay argues that, in spite of all these traditions' repeated attempts to eradicate the haunting memory of the missing woman, it is her stubborn return as life effect that produces a persistently unheimlich sensation, and an unheimlich aesthetics in much contemporary science fiction, as well as in other genres in our global network culture.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
97
    97
  • Thumbnail: Page 
98
    98
  • Thumbnail: Page 
99
    99
  • Thumbnail: Page 
100
    100
  • Thumbnail: Page 
101
    101
  • Thumbnail: Page 
102
    102
  • Thumbnail: Page 
103
    103
  • Thumbnail: Page 
104
    104
  • Thumbnail: Page 
105
    105
  • Thumbnail: Page 
106
    106
  • Thumbnail: Page 
107
    107
  • Thumbnail: Page 
108
    108
  • Thumbnail: Page 
109
    109
  • Thumbnail: Page 
110
    110
  • Thumbnail: Page 
111
    111
  • Thumbnail: Page 
112
    112
  • Thumbnail: Page 
113
    113
  • Thumbnail: Page 
114
    114
  • Thumbnail: Page 
115
    115
  • Thumbnail: Page 
116
    116
  • Thumbnail: Page 
117
    117
  • Thumbnail: Page 
118
    118
  • Thumbnail: Page 
119
    119
  • Thumbnail: Page 
120
    120
  • Thumbnail: Page 
121
    121