Robinson, D., Ilinskaya, S.
Queering the popular utopia through translingual science fiction: Sense8 as cultural translation
(2022) Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice
The paper reads the queer utopia fleshed forth in the Wachowskis’ two-season series Sense8 as a heterotopia (Joanne Tompkins, developing an idea out of Foucault) that orients us toward a transformed future that is forever not yet here (José Esteban Muñoz in Cruising Utopia), based on a collectivized and shifting identity-assemblage that is neither sheer anarchistic disruption nor a stable identitarian intersectionality (Jasbir Puar, developing an idea that Brian Massumi develops out of Deleuze and Guattari). In support of this reading, the paper explores the Wachowskis’ queer activism in favor of an extremely broad tolerance for difference (in opposition to rigid identity categories), and reads the high-concept sf premise of instantaneous empath travel and interaction with and as clustermates through Hannah Arendt’s observation that ‘we have arrived in a situation where we do not know—at least not yet—how to move politically.’ Building on that observation, Judith Butler reflects on producing a space of appearance or ‘assembly’ as grounding politics in situated social interaction, as a transition to a reconfigured (restaged, respatialized) ‘reality’ that, as Muñoz says, is not yet here. © 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
assemblage; banality; cultural diversity; heterotopia; identity politics; Utopia