Elysium 9/20

While their advanced technology and life on another planet deems Elysium as a posthuman film, the characters’ reckless competition between one another suggests immature, rather than advanced, minds. Thus, disregarding the technology, what aspects, if any, of Delacourt’s, Agent Kruger’s, Spider’s, Max’s, Frey’s, and Matilda’s personalities suggest that they truly encompass posthuman characteristics?

4 thoughts on “Elysium 9/20

  1. I think this is really interesting question because it could be applied to nearly every text/film we have encountered thus far in class. It seems like much of the material we have dealt with that is ostensibly from a “post-human” perspective contains elements of what you call an “immature” humanity. I would venture that this immaturity among humans could also be considered a representation of more base or primal behavior, like competition, for instance.

    In relation to the film, I think what makes all of the characters in the list you provide even MORE post-human is their interaction with post-human technology/world to meet more “immature” ends. When tasked with stealing financial information (at its core a very basic primal crime), Max is outfitted with a highly post-human body attachment. Later, Delacourt attempts to seize the presidency through the use of an advanced computer program. In these and other instances, characters seem to meld their internal human drives with a post-human and technology driven external reality. “Elysium”, like “Never Let Me Go”, “Moon,” and even BSG, forces audiences to question the immutability of human nature. Even in a vastly technologically advanced age, we (humans) seem incapable of “listening” to anything other than our imperfect human desires.

  2. Although it may seem like the situation set up in Elysium is the true posthuman characteristic of this story, I would agree that certain aspects of the characters also espouse posthuman views. In particular, I thought that Spider had a very posthuman grip on the world. He seemed the view the body as a tool to accomplish objectives. For example, he insisted that Max get the exosuit grafted into his skeleton so that Max could successfully complete his mission. He also used Max himself as a vessel to contain data. Spider’s concept of the human mind as a host for stolen information resonates with posthuman theory, which often sees the body as a tool or a vessel. That is not to say that Spider was ruthless; when he comprehended the way that the code in Max’s head could change life for the Earth-dwellers, he immediately flew to Elysium to help implement this shift. Further, Spider was unable to take direct action to kill Max, but instead left that up to Max himself.

  3. I agree with Hannah, that out of all the human’s in Elysium, Spider seemed the most posthuman, surrounding himself in technology. Kruger is an interesting subject to look at in terms of post human as well. The man seems violent and distasteful from his introduction in the movie, supposedly that is what makes him a good agent. He really breaks down though after his face is blown off by Max’s grenade. I believe that Kruger has been hurt then healed by these machines many times in his violent history, due to the reaction and cool efficiency of his colleagues. His mind seems to warp with each injury, possibly he can feel the phantom pain or he simply wants to die and cannot. But this miracle like reconstruction technique brings into question of what actually makes someone human and what changes when you can instantly replace large amounts of damaged tissue.

  4. I would disagree with the others and say that Matt Damon and the citizens of Elysium were the only ones to embody post-humanism, but only to a point. The whole film’s plot was not so much pointed towards a science fiction narrative as much as it was attempting to parallel the world we live in through a lens that would appeal to a lower-middle class Latino demographic. If this is taken into account, plot devices make more sense, and no one is really symbolizing post-humanism.

    Spider, for example, isn’t embracing a forward-thinking lifestyle by surrounding himself with technology. He has pawned all of his technology over time from the upper class Elysium citizens, much like how our technology in the US slowly becomes obsolete and then disseminates to other cultures. He has the Exo-suit and computers because they are tools made available to him, and he employs those tools to achieve his own goals. In essence, this is the same for every other character in the story, including the boss that has the data fixture to his brain; it’s just another tool, like an iPhone.

    Rather than making a commentary on the human condition, I think the writer of this film wanted to exaggerate the differences between Mexican and upper-class white American lifestyles and explore the themes that immigration issues bring. We see everything; healthcare, illegal immigration, asylum seekers, poor working conditions, inhumanity of a bureaucratic system. The victory in the conclusion of the film is literally obtaining universal citizenship and healthcare. Everything in this film, I believe, was meant to speak more for today than tomorrow.

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