Postcyberpunk dystopian cityscape and emotion artificial intelligence: A spatio-cognitive analysis of posthuman representation in Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Within visual culture, postcyberpunk films are best approached as places of Otherness whereby human identity and agency are downplayed and posthumans are magnified in highly technopolic societies marked with scientific determinism. Postcyberpunk treats the posthuman enclave as a heterotopic site, oscillating between utopian and dystopian spaces, potentially and optimistically, creating a space for humanity to be reassessed and renegotiated. Against this backdrop, the current research endeavor proposes a Spatio-Cognitive Model of Posthuman Representation focusing attention on heterotopic ‘spaces’ and ‘bodies’ in hyperconnected environments. While the model owes a substantial debt to Foucault’s writings on heterotopia and the utopian body, in tilting the focus of enquiry, this paper is informed by the tenets of polyrhythmia, hypermimesis, spatial repertoires, semiotic assemblages and cognitive embodiment as insightful interventions. Blade Runner 2049 is taken as a fertile case study grounded in paradoxes and ambiguities around the contradiction between humans and replicants, artificial intelligence and super-large enterprises.
The hybridity pertinent to the postcyberpunk film genre and the inner and outer topographies of posthuman representation proved to be insightful investigative vantage points of multimodal inquiry for the socio-political and technocratic implications they underlie. With technology seamlessly integrated into social spaces and posthuman bodies, Blade Runner 2049 is arguably structured as an emotional journey composed of multiple heterotopias (spatial layers, ruptures and bifurcations expressed through socio-political capitalist projections). The article adamantly argues for new philosophical perspectives and praxis in redefinition of the social relationship between human and posthuman. © The Author(s) 2022.
Blade Runner 2049; cognitive embodiment; embodied aesthetics; emotion artificial intelligence; hypermimesis; image schemas; linguistic landscape; mimetic schemas; polyrhythmia; postcyberpunk cityscape; posthumanism; semiotic assemblage; spatial repertoire; spatio-cognitive; transhumanism