This thesis traces the process of an ongoing trivialization of human bodies in
(post-)modern societies from the perspective of cinematic representations. From
mechanical to cybernetic prostheses of human bodies, there is a growing tendency to
prosthesize the surfaces of bodies. The sophistication of visual technologies has
marginalized physicality and invested human bodies with optical illusions. Being
ambushed with visual images, postmodern culture has been limited to a fixed gaze
and formulated into a series of visual spectacles.
Accordingly, in the first chapter, I am going to examine how the transformation
of ontological status of human flesh has taken place in fin-de-siecle France by means
of newly invented cinematic technologies. In the second chapter, I am going to
explore how the transcendent power of cinematography is able to immortalize
physical bodies in a modern way and construct a perfect body without organs of
commodities. The splendid visual media are capable of interpenetrating the viewer
and mechanized images, reality and representation. The capitalist’s visual culture
has constructed a detached sphere which is apart from our living reality, and yet,
paradoxically, interchangeable with our material world. The third chapter accounts
for pure exposure of human bodies in the representations of cyborg figures. The
fourth chapter is organized around several sections of discussions about the virtual
body in hyperreality. This chapter offers a critique of Andy and Larry Wachowski’s
film, The Matrix, to illustrate how a computer-generated world, a more-real-than-real
virtuality, has totally taken over the real world in which human bodies become slaves
of the digital media. Moreover, with VR prostheses, the rapid proliferation of virtual
space has made possible the ultimate transcendence of physical reality.
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