[ISEA2008] Meng Yoe Tan – Reality and Subjectivity: Digital Films as Cyborg Texts in a Post Modern World



This paper looks at how digital film is a cyborg text. By ‘cyborg’ I refer to Donna Haraway’s version of the social cyborg, found in “The Cyborg Manifesto”, which inherits similar characteristics as post-modern thought. This is important because more and more, we are moving into the cyborg era, in which we are all cyborgs. Digitalization is a key component in this process of transition because of the way it processes information – with speed, efficiency, and in great quantity, which gives it the ability to travel the entire globe easily, as compared to old media.

More importantly, digital technology, I believe, is an expression of the post-modernism because of the subjectivity that it inhabits simply by possessing a vast amount of potential to do almost anything with any information. The relationship between reality and subjectivity comes to the fore with the increased use of digital technology. While the world isolates fact from fiction rather stringently, the nature of digital technology itself potentially suggests that reality and subjectivity are very much interdependent on each other.

For this paper, fully digital films in particular are used as the case studies. This is because digital film is a near-complete product of the transition from analog media to digital technology. I choose film in particular because of its unique position of being a social marker as well as a technological marker in the world today. It is a medium that is useful and allows for broad analysis for my research.

In short, this paper is a textual analysis of how some of these fully digital films contain cyborgian characteristics of irony, hybridity and subjectivity, among others, and how these films are potentially relevant to measure the extent of a cyborg’s potential and to chart progress of the cyborg era that we currently live in.

Meng Yoe Tan Biography

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