Posthuman Bodies in Japanese Science Fiction and Horror Cinema: Representation, Gender and Subject of the Cyborg in Shinya Tsukamoto's TetsuoI: Iron Man and Tetsuo II: Body Hammer
I shall in this paper ask, what is the relationship between technology and the construction of human subjectivity in certain cultural and social contexts, if the construction of the human subjectivity is based on the exterior material world and the interior human psyche? In our post-industrial society, technology is not just the material object it is also the interface that embodies a set of social relations, between the material object and the human psyche, and actualises human desire, fantasy and imagination as they are, embedded inside the inner psychical space. I will examine representations of the cyborg in order to understand the conflict between human and technology and its relationship to the construction of human subjectivity, particularly in the power relation of gender and sexual difference by means of feminism. As the human body connects with the machine, technology profoundly transforms and changes the way that humanity constructs subjectivity. The boundary and relationship between the human and the machine become blurred and uneasy as technology encounters human desire and fantasy. The process of subjectivity construction is, however, complicated so I will, therefore consider two films made by Shinya Tsukamoto, Tetsuo I: Iron Man (1986) and Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (1991) to analyse the representation of the cyborg. The two films also represent, through the characters, how we encounter the conflict of constructing subjectivity when our bodies combine with machines. The films look at the painful and horrific physical experiences which display the invaded human body through technology, and the inner psychical development which undergoes a series of transformations through fear, anxiety and desire in an unequal gender/sexual difference and power relation.
Keywords: Cyborg, Feminism, Technology, The Abject, The Body
Kuo Wei Lan
DPhil Student, Film and Media Studies Sussex University UK, Sussex University