Technologies of Seduction Essays

Technologies of Seduction Essays

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Technologies of Seduction

“There can be no question of escaping the twisted logic of theoretical writing; there are only different ways of coming to terms with it.” (Shaviro 11)

Blind Beast (Masumura Yasuzo 1969), Ghost in the Shell (Ohii Mamoru 1995), and Spirited Away (Miyazaki Hayao 2001) sustain the relation between the ‘body’ and ‘technology’: its terrific horror is its seduction. Captured bodies cut, cybernetic bodies hacked, and fattened bodies served. These three films all capture the viewer and take us to another place, and even in the seduction of representation understood as events (the theory-fiction of film analyses), such films can be understood as narratives, images, and sounds of losing the self in the moment, an abandon to seduction that constitutes a relation between technologies and bodies. The terrific is the pleasure of the seduction, and the horrific the unavoidable and, indeed, necessary trepidation felt in falling into the utterly convincing and charming seducer’s reality. Steven Shaviro’s theory of film fatale offers a thorough account of what sustains and characterizes the relationship Friedrich Kittler describes between body and technology: “Wherever media were unable to connect, human interfaces filled the niche.”

What is seduction? To answer this question would be to work productively, a principle of production that is very much oppositional to seduction. Seduction is something like persuasion or convincing, but does not work at a level of cognition.

The cinematic image is at once intense and impalpable. On the one hand, film (even more than other visual forms, and in sharp contrast to the articulations of language) is inescapably literal. Images confront the viewer directly, with...


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... the same level of suspicion as the productive and representational. The salvation, then, of this argument, a string of mediations that claim to produce an effect on discourse or understanding, is in its denied seductive ulterior. An allurement that occurs just where it is not spoken of, and for just the reasons that remain unsaid. Theory against itself is here a most cunning seduction.

WORKS CITED

Carpenter, Novella. “Avant-Prof. An Interview with Steven Shaviro.” Alt-X Press. Dec. 11, 2002. http://www.altx.com/int2/steven.shaviro.html

Creed, Barbara. “Horror and the Monstrous-Feminine: an Imaginary Abjection.” in Jancovich, ed., Horror, The Film Reader. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Haraway, Donna. Simians, Cyborgs, and Women. London: Free Association, 1990.

Shaviro, Steven. The Cinematic Body. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.

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