Science Fiction Film & Television

Expanding the Esper

Virtualised spaces of surveillance in sf film

Science Fiction Film & Television (2016), 9, (1), 1–23.

Abstract

This article traces how twenty-first-century digital technologies have changed the way we conceive of images, and suggests that virtualised mapping techniques create ‘spatial images’ that ultimately extend ideas embedded within the painting tool of perspective. It explores this first in relation to the production practices of virtual cinematography and 3D conversion, and then through various diegetic technologies within popular sf cinema that echo these practices, focusing in particular on the evocation of kaleidoscopic deep space in Blade Runner’s (1982) Esper machine and the visual nominalism and spatial mapping depicted in the recent RoboCop (2014). Interrogating the uses to which these technologies – whether fictional or non-fictional – are put, the article concludes that they currently take part in and extend the digital panoptic surveillance culture embedded within contemporary digital life.

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Jones, Nick